Zach’s back in the history books
Source: Club Press-Office
KUNLUN RED STAR 1 AMUR KHABAROVSK 0
Zach Yuen continues to make history with the only goal of this hard-fought game in Shanghai. His eighth-minute strike made him the first Chinese player to score a KHL goal. That landmark achievement adds to the youngster’s earlier success in tallying the first assist by a Chinese-eligible player as Max Warn’s goal delivered another 1-0 victory for his team at Spartak Moscow on October 1.
The magic moment came when Yuen intercepted an attempted clearance, passed the puck out to Tomas Marcinko on the right, and skated to the net in time to get the finishing touch on his team-mate’s shot from out wide. Amur questioned whether there was a hint of offside, but the video judges ruled the play was good and the goal stood. Another chapter in the history of KHL hockey in China was written.
Yuen, a Chinese-Canadian prospect, may be listed as a defenseman but even back in pre-season Vladimir Yurzinov spotted his potential on offense and used him as a center. Since then he has willingly provided a versatile contribution for his coach; today’s game saw him selected as a forward and he rewarded that faith with the game’s decisive goal before moving back into defense after an injury ended Joonas Jarvinen’s evening early.
The landmarks did not stop there: goalie Artyom Zagidulin added to his first ever KHL victory – that came three days earlier against Lokomotiv – with his first shut-out in the big league. Backstopping a strong defensive display, he turned away 16 shots to make it the Zach & Zag Show. Zagidulin may not have faced a huge number of shots but he still had to defuse some dangerous moments, particularly in the closing seconds when Amur replaced Metsola with a sixth skater and unleashed a storm around the Kunlun net. The home crowd held its breath; Zagidulin held firm.
Head coach Yurzinov even found a third historical achievement, albeit a somewhat tongue-in-cheek one. “Never before has one of my teams won a game where Viktor Gashilov was refereeing,” joked our leader. “But it finally happened, even though we never once got a power play in today’s game.” In truth, it was a clean game from start to finish, with Kunlun picking up just two penalties. One was for too many men on the ice, the other came when debutant Yaroslav Alshevsky was given a minor for kneeing.
And so, our run of five home games in Shanghai comes to an end. With three wins from five, it’s been a positive sequence and it leaves our team in the playoff places once again. The international break is coming up soon, but before that we have two games away to our nearest neighbors, Admiral Vladivostok, and every opportunity to tighten our grip on a place in the top eight.