In their third meeting of the season, Medvescak Zagreb got their second win in another hard-fought game with Sibir Novosibirsk team. This was the teams' fourth meeting in this league and Zagreb remains undefeated. Three goals were needed, and four scored, in the fourth win against Sibir. Moreover, this win put Medvescak in fourth place in the overall standings.
„They got off to a great start of the hockey game, they caught us a little bit flat-footed, they set the pace, were forechecking really hard, were quicker on the pucks than we were. In the second part of the first period we finally found our game, were able to dictate some of the terms. I know we were fortunate enough to be up by two goals and I have to give credit to our goaltender for being ready. In the second period Sibir was again a strong opponent, made some adjustments, caught us flat-footed through the neutral zone. From that point on we made some adjustments of our own. We regrouped in the third period and were able to close off a really good team. I thought it was a character third period for us“, concluded Gordie Dwyer, home team's head coach.
The play was strong on both sides of the ice from the get-go of the first period. In contrast to first two games of the season, Medvescak spent a lot of the opening minutes in their own zone. Sibir came out strong, ready to compete and establish dominance on the ice. It took only move, one lucky shot, to disrupt the balance of an evenly hard fought game. First Bears goal of the game tipped the scales in their favour.
Captain Mike Glumac, who was playing his 100th game in Medvescak jersey in the Kontinental Hockey League, scored Zagreb's 300th goal in the KHL, with an excellent shot from the right face-off circle. On his knees right after Alexander Salak defected his first shot, Glumac fired another one, and the puck found the back of the net.
That first goal changed the momentum of the game and not even 30 seconds later Simon Gysbers shoots from the blue line and puts one more on the board for Medvescak.
„It's a special feeling to score in a quick succession. The team played well. We simplified our game and created good chances.“
Sibir didn't seem that much bothered by the sudden score change, and carried on playing their own game which reestablished the balance on the ice. The Bears played last minutes of the first period on penalty kill, but managed to have the final attack.
The second period began with a stronger show of initiative from Sibir side, but Medvescak were the ones who got on the board first. Geoffrey Kinrade reads the game like an open book and in perfect timing enters Sibir's zone right up to the crease and puts Andreas Jämtin's deflected shot in . In the end, this will be a game winner.
Bears' third goal also meant game over for Salak. In an attempt to liven up the team, Sibir's coach sent Nikita Bespalov to the net. And it worked, at least for a little bit.
Loss of concentration combined with an easier pace resulted in a few individual mistakes which led to two quick goals against. Fifteen seconds was all it took David Ullström and Maxim Shalunov to bring it back to a one goal game.
The last period, played like a game of chess on the ice, ended in favour of the Bears. Patrick Bjorkstrand scored the fourth goal of the home team , and right afterwards Danny Taylor asked for a change in the net after an inconvenient move. Cal Heeter took came in and finished the game off.
Gilbert Brule, who had an assist on the second goal of the game, commented on the brief lack of attention:
„The most important thing is we got a win and that as a team we played well. We had a bit of a breakdown right after we went up by three goals, and that can't happen. Ever. A good team like Sibir will always punish situations like that. After their two goals we pulled together, went back to our game, our pace, Bjorkstrand scored the last one and we shut down the game.“
The game was very physical, but after a win everthing is easier to deal with:
„It was a fast paced, hard-hitting game, but it's always easier to get over the bumps and bruises after a win,“ said Gysbers.
Supported by HOK-insurance company, the fans elected captain Mike Glumac as the Best player of the game.
Medvescak's fourth game of the season is in two days time, on Tuesday, 01.09.2015. against Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Game starts at 7:30 PM at the Ice hall of Dom sportova.
Tickets are available at the arena from 6 PM, at all selling points of Ticketshop distributer and online at www.ticketshop.hr.
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB – HK SIBIR NOVOSIBIRSK 4:2 (2:0; 1:2; 1:0)
KHL, Ice Hall of Dom sportova, Zagreb
11:38 1-0 Glumac
11:06 2-0 Gysbers (Brule, Giliati)
32:03 3-0 Kinrade (Kvapil, Smolenak)
33:49 3-1 Ullström (Ibragimov ,Vereshagin) PPG
34:04 3-2 Shalunov (Zhafyarov, Gubin)
45:24 4-2 Bjorkstrand (Saarinen)
SOG: 36 - 20
PIM: 10 min - 8 min
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Taylor, Heeter, Kinrade, Genoway, Larkin, Giliati, Glumac, Brule, Mäntylä , Hedberg, Jämtin, Bjorkstrand, Gysbers, Smolenak, Perkovich, Morrisonn, Saarinen, Mertl, Katic, Kvapil
HK SIBIR NOVOSIBIRSK: Salak, Bespalov, Shumakov, Monya, Bobrov, Ridderwall, Akulov, Zhafyarov, Aleksejev, Menshikov, Gubin, Kopeykin, Ullström, Sannikov, Ignatovich, Roth, Vereshagin, Gimayev, Ibragimov, Shalunov, Naumov, Butuzov