Medvescak players left the last atoms of strength on the ice of the Ice Hall today in their last KHL home game of the season. With a short bench and hit with suspensions, they've made a game with Vityaz, a team heading to the playoffs, seem evenly matched; but in the end fatigue took its toll and guests from Podolsk took the win in the final period.
“It was a good game. We had two defensemen, forwards dressing as defensemen and guys playing with a lot more ice time than they’re used to, and playing in new roles and positions. I’m happy with the way they battled and how they wouldn’t give up. They didn’t want to disappoint the fans, especially the guys born here and the guys who have been here for a longer time,” Bears head coach Connor Cameron said after the game.
Matija Milicic gave the crowd a first reason to celebrate tonight when he assisted for the Bears first goal.
“It feels great to have an assist in the KHL. I left the puck behind my back for Giroux and he took the shot. I had other chances in previous games, but we can’t get greedy. I’m happy,” Milicic said and added:
“When you realise there’s nothing left to do but to battle until the end and give it all you’ve got, then it turns out his way.”
Guests got two goals in the first period, although chances were equally present on both sides. After Alexandre Giroux cut the lead in half, Mike Glumac scored for the first tie.
“There was a handful of us skating today and fatigue won in the end. We’re sorry we lost, we had 3:3 at one point. But, everyone left all they had on the ice and I’m proud to be their captain. All we wanted to do was go out there, work hard and battle. I want to thank all the fans for the support and I hope they saw we gave it all tonight,” captain Glumac commented.
With final seconds of the second frame ticking away, Vityaz took advantage of a power play to re-take a lead for the second break. It seemed almost impossible, but Ilya Arkalov gives the Bears another chance and ties they game again at the beginning of the third period.
Try as they might (and scoring chances and shots on goal weren’t lacking) the Bears couldn’t find the back of the net for the fourth time. Vityaz played in full strength and with a full bench. Makeyev’s second goal of the evening brought them another lead and a few minutes later Vyglazov’s shot confirmed the win.
“Weariness stars influencing the game and that’s something that can’t be avoided. We’re satisfied with the result even though nobody likes to lose. We’re proud of each other and the way we played this game,” Tom Zanoski said and commented on the atmosphere of the last KHL home game this season:
“It wasn’t easy, but we happy we had the fan support tonight. It’s not a secret there’s not a lot of us left in the locker room, but this support means a lot. Going in, we knew we wouldn’t just back down and I hope the fans saw it too.”
Video source: www.khl.ru
With this game ends the KHL season in the Den. After a short international break the Bears have back-to-back games left to play in Bratislava. First one is scheduled for 14 February at 7 PM. The Bears expect Lukas Kozak and Thomas Larkin back in the lineup, while Blake Parlett is suspended until the end of the season.
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB – HC VITYAZ PODOLSK 3:5 (0:2;2:1;1:2)
KHL, Ice Hall of Dom sportova, Zagreb
05:35 0-1 Aaltonen (Kopeikin, Kempe)
16:37 0-2 Vyglazov (Romanov)
29:53 1-2 Giroux (Milicic, Mahbod)
33:10 2-2 Glumac (Mahbod, Giroux) PP1
39:44 2-3 Makeyev (Nikulin) PP1
42:14 3-3 Arkalov (Katic)
46:22 3-4 Makeyev (Aaltonen)
49:46 3-5 Vyglazov (Schvets-Rogovoi)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 41 - 53
PENATLIES: 14 min – 18 min
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Garnett, Gaiduchenko, Mahbod, Zanoski, Giroux, Lessio, Glumac, Jankovic, Milicic, Perkovich, Smith, Voronin, Katic, Arkalov, Smolec
HC VITYAZ PODOLSK: Saprikin, Todikov, Semenov, Yerabek, Horak, Kempe, Vyglazov, Kopeikin, Katichev, Chernov, Stepanov, Nikulin, Yatsenko, Golovkov, Aaltonen, Gimajev, Schvets-Rogovoi, Voronkov, Romanov, Pankov, Makeyev, Dzhioshvili
Photo: Igor Soban/Pixsell