Zagreb’s Medvescak continued their winning streak in pre season games tonight in Bratislava. After making a comeback in the third period by scoring two goals, the Bears proved to be handier in the shootout that followed a thriller at the very end of regular time.
“It was a true team win, we played our game and even at the end with penalty killing we worked well. Our goalie was huge for us, he kept us in the game. With the penalty shots we got lucky,” Samson Mahbod, lone scorer in the shootout said after the big win.
For the winning goal he called upon previous experiences. “It’s a move I usually like to do, so I’m happy it went in,” Mahbod said on his shot that beat Pogge above the glove.
On the other side of the ice, Danny Taylor tended to Medvescak’s goal: “I was busier than the games I’ve played recently, but it’s just pre season, so we can’t get too excited, no matter how nice it is to win. For me personally it was nice to get little more action so I see where I’m at and what I have to tweak and work on.”
How happy he is with his current shape, he explained: “Today was a lot better, even though I let in two goals and I hadn’t let in a goal before that. I’m happy with the progress and I felt more comfortable in the end. Maybe it has to do with more shots.”
After two games against Cardiff Devils, this was a return to compete and skill level expected in the KHL.
“You could tell the difference between the weekend games and this one. It took us a while to get used to the pace. First two periods were pretty busy on my end, but then in the third team picked it up,” Taylor said.
The beginning and the first period gave the impression of parity on the ice, despite the only goal being scored by hosts, the second period was dominated by Slovan. “Slovan was the better team in the second period. They’re a fast team, they play well defensively. We didn’t stick to our game plan,” Alexandre Bolduc, one of best players in today’s winning team said.
“We had a better third period, we played more of our style and we capitalized on the chances we got.”
Those chances came abundant in the third period and finally, with 12 minutes to go, ina span of 40 seconds Edwin Hedberg and Tomas Mertl found the back of Slovan’s net.
Drama in the very end was ensured when Alexandre Giroux was sent to the box with two and a half minutes left to play, and was shortly followed by Thomas Larkin.
With an empty net and an extra skater on the ice for Slovan, the Bears found themselves outnumbered by three players, and no matter how good of a job the special unit did, the difference was too big and with 5 seconds left on the clock Slovan scored the equal the game.
Shootout followed to end it all, and Taylor gave a great performance: “I was just trying to make myself as big as possible and be patient.”
In the end Mahbod added: “Every game is important for us as a team right now. It’s great to get back to the KHL level, but it’s more important that we’re improving a lot. Being on the road was great for our team chemistry. We’re getting along really well, it’s something special in the locker room and you can see it on the ice as well.”
In their last and final exhibition game before the new KHL season, the Bears will measure up to Graz on Thursday, 18 August in Kapfenberg starting at 6 PM.
HC SLOVAN BRATISLAVA – KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB 2:3 SO (1:0;0:0;1:2;0:0;0:1)
Exhibition game, Slovnaft Arena, Bratislava, Slovakia
08:27 1-0 Jeglic (Plastino) PP1
47:27 1-1 Hedberg
47:57 1-2 Mertl (Morrisonn)
59:55 2-2 Svarny (Plastino) PP1
60:00 2-3 Mahbod PS
HC SLOVAN BRATISLAVA: Pogge, Pavlas, Bacik, Luza, Starosta, Rosandic, Nemecek, Svarny, Plastino, Kubalik, Chipchura, Siska, Lušnak, Skalicky, Volepka, Halama, Petras, Jeglic, Viedensky, Nedorost
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Taylor, Hovinen, Sauve, Genoway, Parlett, Samson, Giroux, Smejkal, Glumac, Hedberg, Larkin, Krejčik, Bolduc, Bezina, Perkovich, Smith, Morrisonn, Mertl, McMillan, Katic, Pare, Arkalov