The math is pretty simple. In order to remain in the playoff race the Bears need to string together victories and hope the other results will pan out in their favor. For their part, they got the job done in tonight’s game against Spartak. With a huge win in a demanding game they earned three new points which left them a short step below the eight place in the West.
“It was a tough game, but it’s always good to win and everything looks better then. This win is a big one for us and it gives us some extra confidence we’re going to need in the games to come to keep the playoff push alive. We’re taking this attitude to our next game against Dinamo Moscow,” Adam Deutsch commented after the game.
This was the fourth meeting with Spartak this season, and the Bears evened up the final score after the defeat at the Ice Hall: “I’m happy with the three points. I like the way our team started, it was an area of focus of ours. It was great to be able to return the favor. We lost at home to Spartak a couple of night ago. It was a big game and today our team responded. We were the better team today and these are three big points,” Medvescak’s head coach Gordie Dwyer summed up and added a few observations about the game:
“With a strong start, an area we wanted to focus on was our transition. Through the neutral zone we did a good job of generating speed and playing to our strengths and it paid off.”
An excellent first period for the Bears ended with “only” one puck in the back of Evgeny Ivannikov’s net. Outplaying the hosts and setting the pace and their game from the very beginning , the Bears recorded five shots on goal more than Spartak by first break, but only captain Mike Glumac’s shot found its goal.
At the very beginning of the second period the hosts even the score with, what will be their only goal of the game. But, their luck is short-lived for Tuukka Mäntylä and Jesse Saarinen find the back of the net 19 seconds apart in the next four minutes. To ease the pressure even more, again with a man advantage, Mäntylä fires an atomic shot from the blue line straight to the net. After allowing four goals, the hosts increased the pace, but Danny Taylor was ready to answer any further attempts.
In a game of fragile nerves that was the third period, both teams took penalties and a period with the lowest number of attempts on goal didn’t bring a change to the final result.
The Bears play their next game at the Ice Hall on Saturday, January 16. Beginning at 5:30 CET they host Dynamo Moscow. Tickets are available at all Ticketshop sales points, online via www.ticketshop.hr and on game day 90 minutes before the start of the game at Dom sportova box office.
HC SPARTAK MOSKVA – KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB 1:4 (0:1;1:3;0:0)
KHL, Sokolniki Arena, Moscow
02:14 0-1 Glumac (Jurcina)
20:19 1-1 Radil (Glazachev)
23:23 1-2 Mäntylä (Smolenak) PP1
23:42 1-3 Saarinen (Giliati, Jurcina)
28:21 1-4 Mäntylä (Genoway, Smolenak) PP1
SHOTS ON GOAL: 23 - 27
PENALTIES: 22 min – 14 min
HC SPARTAK MOSKVA: Yermakov, Wellman, Bodrov, Voronin, Radulov, Korobov, Mereskin, Leshchenko, Dyblenko, Ivannikov, Engren, Sorokin, Valentenko, Glazachev, Vasilyev, Radil, Li, Levitsky, Shmelyov, Gilroy, Kirillov, Shafigulin
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Taylor, Kroselj, Genoway, Deutsch, Parlett, Larkin, Giliati, Glumac, Brule, Mäntylä, Hedberg, Jämtin, Bolduc, Bjorkstrand, Jurcina, Smolenak, Perkovich, Saarinen, Mertl, Katic, Arkalov
Photo: HK Spartak Moskva