Medveščak celebrated a 3:1 victory against Torpedo in the first prep game.
The Bears showed with what zeal and enthusiasm they were anticipating the prep games in their first showdown on the ice, and so did Medveščak's fans who cheered loudly for their team throughout the entire match. About 500 fans came together ahead of the start of the game in Tabor Hall and greeted the Bears with a loud chant of 'Medveščak Zagreb', and then as soon as the first puck hit the ice there was an incredible sense of euphoria that only Medveščak's fans could create, even for just a prep game.
''I'm happy with how we played the game. We made an effort and worked hard on the ice which I really liked. We have to work on some details, but we showed strong character. As the games go by, we're only going to get better'', said coach Mark French.
The Bears started the first period with Mark Dekanich on net, who found himself in a tight spot just four minutes in. However, the Canadian of Croatian background had no problem sweeping away the puck that one of Torpedo's players shot at his net. Just seconds after a fantastic save from Dekanich, the ref gave one of Torpedo's players a penalty. During their powerplay, the Bears had two opportunities that almost turned into goals, but Torpedo's goalie always managed to find himself in the right spot at the right time. The Bears had one more powerplay before the end of the period, while they found themselves with a player less twice, and had a couple more opportunities for shots (Lundberg, Glumac, Jessiman...). The best opportunity opened up in minute 18 for Emil Lundberg who took over the puck in the center of the ice, skated at Torpedo's goalie, and took a shot. Unfortunately he didn't make the shot.
Dekanich opened the second period as well, but in minute 29, just as the Bears got another powerplay, Barry Brust was given the opportunity to show what he's got, and he played the rest of the game really well. Medveščak completely dominated in the second period, with a shots on goal ratio of 10:2 in their favour. The Bears' total domination turned into a goal from Brian Willsie in minute 38 that set Tabor Hall on fire and drove the fans wild.
''This was our first real game in this prep period. It was fun and nice to win. We had great practices in the past week and everyone's in great shape, but games are something different. But, as the preparations draw to an end, we will only get better as a team. When they brought it down to 1:2, we showed that we have character, which is very important, and both of our goalies did a great job'', stated Willsie.
The games fast tempo didn't let up throughout the final period, as the Bears rattled Torpedo's net one more time in minute 48 with a shot from Matt Murley. Despite Pyotr Schastlivy taking the game to 1:2 in minute 52, Zagreb's boys came out on top with a shot on an open net from Willsie in minute 59.
The Bears will play their second prep game on Thursday at 7:00PM in Maribor.
PREP GAME 1
TORPEDO NIŽNJI NOVGOROD - KHL MEDVEŠČAK ZAGREB 1:3 (0:0, 0:1, 1:2)
MARIBOR - Tabor Hall. 500 Spectators. Referees: Dremelj, Trilar, Lešnjak, Hribar.
0:1 MED Willsie (38)
0:2 MED Murley (Willsie, 48)
1:2 TOR Schastlivy (Kulakov, M. Potapov, 52)
1:3 MED Willsie (Thomas, 59) EN
TORPEDO NIŽNJI NOVGOROD: Gelashvili, Mashkovtsev, Grigoryev, Galuzin, Hietanen, Sentyurin, Parshin, Ignatushkin, Zharkov, Tverdokhlebov, M. Potapov, Schastlivy, Tochitsky, Zelenko, Kulyomin, Valeyev, Makarov, Belokhvostikov, Bernatsky, Yevseyenkov, Kulakov, A. Potapov.
KHL MEDVEŠČAK: Dekanich, Brust, Ryan, Vesce, Cheechoo, Willsie, Murley, Thomas, Lundberg, Murray, Jessiman, Walker, Kane, Glumac, Bjorkstrand, Letang, Carle, Švarny, Klubertanz, Katic, Popovic, Martinović.
PENALTIES: Torpedo 8, Medveščak 8.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Torpedo 21, Medveščak 29.