Honors even after mini-series in Khabarovsk

Source: Club Press-Office

06.12.2017

Amur Khabarovsk 2 Kunlun Red Star 1

Two days after snapping our long losing streak in Khabarovsk, we faced a second meeting with an Amur team looking for revenge. At stake was more than just local bragging rights – local, at least, in the sense that Khabarovsk’s location just across Russia’s border with China makes it as close a neighbor as Red Star has in the KHL. Both teams were on the lookout for vital points to close the gap on the playoff pack, a dream revived for Kunlun following Sunday’s long-awaited success.

These two clubs are familiar foes, of course: our history began with a win at Amur and Oriental proximity means we regularly face-off against each other. Not surprisingly, the match-ups tend to be close, and this one was no exception. There was little to choose between the teams in the opening exchanges, with Red Star killing an early penalty against Kyle Chipchura only to fall behind in the 13th minute when Vladislav Ushenin fired home the opening goal on a quick breakaway.

That was the first time the team had fallen behind under Bobby Carpenter’s interim guidance, but it wasn’t long before we were back on level terms. Roman Graborenko is mostly known for his contributions on defense, but the Belarusian zinged in a one-timer to tie the game after Wojtek Wolski went on a charge around the back of Juha Metsola’s net. That was Roman’s first goal since joining us from Neftekhimik. 1-1, and game very much on.

Unfortunately, the next big play went against us: a penalty call against Jaakko Rissanen left us shorthanded once again, even though Amur’s Igor Velichkin also got a misconduct tariff in the same incident. This time, the Amur power play was successful. Jan Kolar, unfortunate on Sunday, had something to smile about after exchanging passes with Alexei Byvaltsev and smashing home the go-ahead goal in the 24th minute. Amur, encouraged, had the better of the middle frame, but failed to add to its lead as Magnus Hellberg kept the home offense at bay.

In the final stanza, Red Star managed to turn the tide, enjoying more possession and topping the shot count. However, there was no way past Juha Metsola and no repeat of the late, late drama we witnessed on Sunday. Instead, Amur managed to hold on for a narrow victory to share the honors in this mini-series.
Our Far East trip continues Thursday with a game at Admiral, Red Star’s last action before the December international break.

Official game sheet