Christmas spirit ruled Dom sportova and the Bears made sure the night ends with a gift under the Christmas tree as they had a first win on home ice over Salavat Yulaev, a strong Eastern team. With all periods ending in a tie, as well as an overtime played in a new format in the Den for the first time, Lucas Lessio made sure his penalty shot would be the last shot of this year.
“I’ve played 3-on-3 overtime in the NHL and the AHL, so I’m used to it, but the bigger ice here leaves a lot of space and most of all one has to have good positioning of forwards and d-men, and it all has to start from defense. We were good at that today. My penalty hot was something I don’t really think about,” Lessio said.
A good start and a ready to play Salavat Yualev marked the first frame which passed scoreless with goalies on both sides, Michael Garnett and Andrei Gavrilov, showing off.
“This win was the best possible way to end the year before the Christmas break. I liked our first period, we shut them down. In the second one we got a few goals, but Ufa is a very good team and they proved that with tying the score. It was an exciting overtime and anything can happen in the shootout. Garnett was a big part of today’s win,” Medvescak’s head coach, Gordie Dwyer commented.
Second period had everything the first one didn’t. A lot of excitement with four goals scored as the Bears took over ‘the worst lead in hockey’ and lost it in less then a minute.
“Those things happen, it’s hockey. The most important thing is we stuck to our plan, didn’t give up and pushed through. It’s nice to start the holidays with a win,” Lessio said on loosing the lead. Except for the game winner, Lessio had the first goal of the game.
“The most fun games, to play and watch, are always those when both teams are equally strong and are not willing to give an inch. It was that sort of a game tonight. I was busy, but so was the other goalie, and I love it when that happens. It keeps me focused and alive. The atmosphere was great and I enjoyed the challenge,” Garnett said on the game.
In the last 20 minutes of regulation, both teams pressed on, but goalies kept the nets empty. Medvescak’s only penalty came with less then 2 minutes in regulation, so overtime started in the old, 4-on-4 format to be turned into the new one after about a minute and a half of play, following the first stoppage of play. They game sped up, but goalies remained the hot topic of the game.
In the end, Garnett prevailed by stopping all three Ufa’s shots, while Niklas Svedberg stood in goal for the guests and missed an opportunity to stop Lessio.
“I felt great and waited for them to make the first move and it was easy to position then. Patience and feeling good are always a winning combination,” Garnett said.
For the national anthems the Bears were accompanied by Medvescak’s U8 team, and the only female hockey player in the group, Petra Soldic, had the honour of dropping the first puck.
“It was great having the kids with us on the ice. You could feel their happiness,” Garnett commented.
Video source: www.khl.ru
The Bears will be on a short break until 3 January when they host Chinese Red Star Kunlun. Puck drops at 7 PM.
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB – HC SALAVAT YULAEV UFA 3:2 SO (0:0;2:2;0:0;0:0;1:0)
KHL, Ice Hall of Dom sportova, Zagreb
24:58 1-0 Lessio (Smith, Larkin)
27:07 2-0 Genoway (Mertl, Glumac)
30:43 2-1 Bodrov (Goncharov, Lisin)
31:23 2-2 Parshin (Korotkov)
65:00 3-2 Lessio PS
SHOTS ON GOAL: 32 - 28
PENALTIES: 2 min – 2 min
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Garnett, MacIntyre, Genoway, Parlett, Mahbod, Zanoski, Giroux, Lessio, Glumac, Hedberg, Butler, Larkin, Krejcik, Bolduc, Bezina, Perkovich, Smith, Mertl, Katic, Pare
HC SALAVAT YULAEV UFA: Gavrilov, Svedberg, Lisin, Vorobyev, Lazarev, Bodrov, Mayorov, Lepisto, Loginov, Korneyev, Grigorenko, Kulyash, Parshin, Khripunov, Nesterov, Goncharov, Omark, Hartikainen, Makarov, Korotkov, Arzamastsev, Gareyev
Photo: Igor Šoban/Pixsell