Source: Club Press-Office
KUNLUN RED STAR 2 HC SOCHI 1
Finnish forward Max Warn is well-known in Sochi, where he played the last two seasons and scored 30 points for the Black Sea team. When he returned to the Olympic city with Kunlun last month, he produced an assist to remind his old fans what he could do, but ended up on the losing team. But there was a quick opportunity for revenge as the teams met again in China less than a month after their first encounter.
This time Warn had a greater impact on the game, getting a clutch goal to tie the scores in the 50th minute and set Red Star on a winning path. Our forward’s path to goal was impressive: collecting the puck on his own blue line he sliced through the opposing defences with ease to appear in front of goalie Konstantin Barulin. A well-placed shot over the keeper’s right shoulder did the rest.
Sochi failed to heed the warning. Eight minutes later, with overtime looming, Oleg Yashin’s powerful shock surprised Barulin and found the same area of the net – his first goal for Kunlun. It proved sufficient to secure the victory, avenging our loss on September 12 and kicking off a run of three home games with a morale-boosting success.
But it was a win that demanded another battling performance. For much of the game Kunlun trailed to Andrei Kostitsyn’s first-period goal. The Belarusian forward struck on the power play, finally ending our impressive run on the penalty kill. In the previous four games, no opponent had managed a power play goal but every run comes to an end eventually and it was Kostitsyn who snapped that sequence. Sochi preserved that slender advantage through the middle stanza, but was finally undone when the host whipped up a storm in the third. An extraordinary onslaught left goalie Andrei Makarov a virtual spectator – he had just four shots to deal with in the final session – while his opposite number was handed a dose of hard labor. Barulin’s efforts could not stop all of the shots he faced, and the revenge mission was completed.
Kunlun remains in Shanghai for its upcoming games and once again faces teams we recently visited in the West. First comes Spartak, who we beat 1-0 on October 1; Saturday brings Torpedo and a chance to avenge our first ever KHL loss from September 10.