Zach makes more history, but the result goes against Kunlun
Source: Club Press-Office
METALLURG MAGNITOGORSK 5 KUNLUN RED STAR 3
(Metallurg leads the series 2-0)
Zach Yuen inscribed another historic moment onto his resume in Friday’s playoff game at Metallurg – but fortune once again favored the defending champion.
Yuen became the first Chinese player to score a KHL playoff goal, adding to his previous accomplishments as the first local hero to pick up points and goals in regular season action. But, as in Game 1, our team suffered a two-goal defeat after conceding two quick goals in the second period, with Oskar Osala’s hat-trick for Magnitogorsk proving decisive.
Yuen’s big moment came in the 38th minute, providing an almost instant response to Magnitka’s rapid double. Brett Bellemore drilled the puck into the danger zone, all of Metallurg’s defense swarmed around Alexei Ponikarovsky, and when the puck emerged for Yuen in the left-hand circle he had time and space to fire into the open side of Vasily Koshechkin’s net.
That was not Kunlun’s only cause for joy in another game where our team earned plenty of plaudits for effort and endeavor, despite finishing on the wrong end of the scoreline.
Sean Collins twice found the net in an encouraging second period display. He cancelled out Osala’s opening goal when he fired home Chad Rau’s well-placed pass from behind the net, then put Red Star 2-1 in front on a 29th-minute power play. Tobias Viklund shot from the blue line, Collins deflected the puck on to the post then reacted first to squeeze the rebound past Koshechkin.
At that point, Kunlun had real hope of winning the game and squaring the series. Unfortunately, as on Wednesday, a brief lapse set us on the back foot. After conceding two goals in seven seconds in the previous game, this time it was two in 32. Jan Kovar got the first, showing off some soccer skills in the face-off circle before finding the far corner. Then Denis Platonov’s rapid counter-attack ended with Vladislav Kaletnik making it 3-2. Yuen tied the scores, but Osala scored twice in the third to give Magnitka a 2-0 lead in the series.
And so, it’s back to Beijing. China is ready for its first ever glimpse of playoff hockey and, despite the frustrations of the first two games, Kunlun has shown that it has the capability to ensure that Metallurg’s upcoming visits to the LeSport Arena will not be their last this season. With home ice advantage, and our fans backing us all the way, Red Star can prove that this series is still alive and kicking.