A dynamic and fun game, with abundance of good plays and, for the most part, a solid performance by the home team, resulted in a win over Ugra, the last opponent to visit the Ice hall before the road trip. Matija Milicic logged in his first KHL minutes this season, and Bears special teams dominated the game.
“I tried to make the most of my time on the ice and I’m happy we won. Comparing to last season, I was more relaxed and I think I played more mature,” Milicic who had a 5:30 min TOI said of his home KHL debut.
In a line with Tom Zanoski, Milicic had two shots on Alexandr Sharichenkov’s goal.
“I’m sorry that second shot didn’t end up in the net, but there will be other chances,” Milicic concluded.
Two power play goals opened the game and Colby Genoway was the one to put Medvescak on the board both times.
“Three power play goals is a lot and it set the tone of the games today. We were just shooting and were lucky enough pucks kept getting in,” Genoway said. For him this game was a possible farewell to Zagreb fans since right before the game Medvescak approved a request for termination of his KHL contract to move to another European club until the end of the season.
After going to the first break with two goals on the board, for the other two periods Medvescak’s penalty kill showed why it’s one of the best in the league and helped Michael Garnett keep the net empty.
Kirill Voronin produced on another power play opportunity at the midpoint of the game to increase the lead. The Bears waited for an even strength goal until six minutes in the third frame when Jiri Smejkal took the stage.
“It feels a lot better to score and win a game. The puck deflected off my hand, I pushed it through the legs of a Ugra defenseman, I saw a bit of an open space and that was it,” Smejkal commentated on his goal and added on the game:
“Ugra proved to be a real hard working team and our two goals to start the game really helped us out. We continued to build off of that. We were responsible in our zone for the first two periods, but after we scored the fourth goal, we eased up and Ugra took the chance they were given.”
Trailing by more than a few goals, Ugra didn’t back down and didn’t allow the Bears to relax. More frequent and serious attempts on Garnett’s net finally resulted in a honorary goal with 75 seconds left on the clock.
“Our special teams were great today and they brought us the win. We knew this game would be hard fought, with almost no free space and that’s exactly what Ugra did with their positioning on the ice. This was a good way to finish the homestand,” Medvescak’s head coach Gordie Dwyer said.
Video source: www.khl.ru
Thus ended the longest homestand of the season for the Bears. Next stop, the first of four on the upcoming road trip is Cherepovets where Severstal will welcome them on Thursday, 19 January at 5 PM CET.
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB – HC UGRA KHANTY-MANSIYSK 4:1 (2:0;1:0;1:1)
KHL, Ice Hall of Dom sportova, Zagreb
03:45 1-0 Genoway (Katic, Pare) PP1
14:00 2-0 Genoway (Pare, Krejcik) PP1
30:20 3-0 Voronin (Smith, Lessio) PP1
45:02 4-0 Smejkal (Lessio, Glumac)
58:44 4-1 Valentenko (Alekseyev)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 25 - 40
PENALTIES: 16 min – 22 min
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Garnett, Gajdučenko, Genoway, Kozak, Parlett, Mahbod, Zanoski, Giroux, Smejkal, Lessio, Glumac, Larkin, Krejcik, Miličcic, Bezina, Perkovich, Smith, Voronin, Katic, Pare, Arkalov
HC UGRA KHANTY-MANSIYSK: Sharichenkov, Boyarshinov, Valentenko, Shulakov, Ugolynikov, Kulik, Khlistov, Panov, Ivanov, Alekseyev, Selyeznov, Korolyov, Fefelov, Makarov, Varfolomeyev, Dvurechensky, Ankudinov, Akmaldinov, Yaremchuk, Lyuduchin, Belyayev, Lapenkov
Photo: Igor Šoban/Pixsell