Truculent from the very beginning until that 61st minute, the Bears held focus, stuck to the game plan and completely parried the great rivals of the evening to be rewarded at the very end with two huge points and a victory lap in front of a packing home crowd of Dom sportova which recognized a big battle and tremendous effort put forth by the home team.
“The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone likes to play in front of an electrifying atmosphere like that, it was beautiful to take part in this win, from whatever side,” said Medvescak’s head coach Gordie Dwyer and continued with a brief analysis:”CSKA is one of the best teams in the league, the strongest opponent we’ve faced this season and we knew they were going to come out strong. Their forecheck was strong, especially at the start. We kept to the game plan we needed to get points. Penalty kill did a great job today, especially when we were playing 3 on 5, and Taylor was exquisite. I’m happy with the way the boys approached the game and the way they sticked to our plan.”
It was the beginning of overtime and after 60 minutes of play between Medvescak and CSKA the board still read 0:0, when Blake Parlett entered the zone with the puck, dumped it in just the right time for Gilbert Brule to take control of it along the boards behind the net and send a precise pass towards Patrick Bjorkstrand who took the puck at the left circle and sends it into the net.
“I won’t lie, this is probably the biggest goal of my career. But, Brule made a great play, he had a good view of the situation and sent an excellent back-pass to me, as he already has a few times this season, but this time I was ready for it. CSKA is a club brimming with tradition and it’s always a great feeling playing against someone like that. The fans tonight were excellent and they really were an extra player for us. The Ice hall was filled to the brim and loud, as I hoped it would be,” commented the owner of the lone goal of the night.
The pressure from the guests from Moscow rose as time went by, but the Bears, who played an excellent, almost perfect defense, had their own chances. A fast game with plenty of direction changes, emotions were high from the very start “It’s hard to play against us, this game was filled with emotions on both sides and from the fans perspective it maybe looked even more intense. We had to up the tempo and give our all because we knew what they are capable of. It was hard, but we all stuck to our game plan and we didn’t let ourselves get frustrated, we knew that the more time went by, the bigger our chances for victory got. We showed that we can play with everyone.”
Danny Taylor stopped all 39 shots by the legendary CSKA through 61 minutes, enough for his second shutout of the season, the title of the HOK player of the game and an avalanche of praise from his teammates:”This was a true team win, a win that sends out that a statement that we can play with the best in the league and win when we stick together, play for one another and keep to our system. It’s a good feeling turning the goal over, but big credits go to the whole team. They kept CSKA at bay and I had a good view of the game and the puck the whole time. I don’t think there is one player in the locker room who isn’t drained because they gave it their all on the ice. When the whole team has an attitude like that, it’s something special.” concluded Taylor.
And for the end, captain Mike Glumac offered his summary :”A big, maybe even the hardest game we’ve played so far, and this great win with terrific fans who supported us constantly. CSKA played really well, but Taylor was fantastic, our defense was in the right place and Bjorki scored at the very start of the overtime which meant a lot to us.”
Video source: www.khl.ru
The revanche between Medvescak and CSKA will be played in five days, on Saturday November 21 in Moscow, while the Bears play their next game on Thursday, November 19 in Cherepovets, their last game against Severstal this season. The game starts from 5:30 PM CET.
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB - CSKA MOSKVA 1:0 OT (0:0;0:0;0:0;1:0)
KHL, Ice hall of Dom sportova, Zagreb
60:17 1-0 Bjorkstrand (Brule, Parlett)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 16 - 39
PENALTIES: 13 min – 13 min
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Taylor, Kroselj, Kinrade, Deutsch, Parlett, Giliati, Glumac, Brule, Mäntylä, Hedberg, Jämtin, Bolduc, Bjorkstrand, Jurcina, Smolenak, Perkovich, Morrisonn, Saarinen, Mertl, Katic, Kvapil
CSKA MOSKVA: Galimov, Telegin, Denisov, Bondarev, Andronov, Lyubimov, Platt, Kugrishev, Junkov, Zharkov, Naumenkov, Mursak, Kutuzov, Radulov, Pihlstrom, Panin, Mamin, Kvrtalynov, Sorokin, Zhiganov, Sergeyev, Kuzmenko