The rested Bears showed themselves in a grand way at the Minsk Arena where they dominated the ice from the very start and systematically took the initiative. The hosts started off slow, slowly heating up towards the end of the game, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Bears and their goalie Danny Taylor.
“This was a true team win. Every single one of the boys played well in front of me and made my job the easiest it could be. There were a lot of rebounds today that the defense had no problem handling. On the other side, we were attacking from all directions and we were rewarded for the big amount of shots that we had. When it comes to playing against former teammates, I have to say they’ve changed a bit, Kalyuzhny didn’t shoot before, but today he was getting set up for a shot constantly,” commented Danny Taylor in a humble way.
“We talked about focusing on our strong suits and having a good and strong start to the game. That’s exactly what we achieved today. From the first puck drop we were ready to play and kept to our game plan throughout all 60 minutes. I’m happy with a lot of details that we handled well, with or without the puck. This game marks the halfway mark of the season for us and that makes it all the more important. We want to step into the second half on a high note and I’m happy with the way the team contributed,” the game in Minsk analyzed by head coach Gordie Dwyer.
The already mentioned excellent start to the game was converted into a lead on the scoreboard by the Bears in the middle of the first period. The shot from the left side by Patrick Bjorkstrand didn’t find just Kevin Lalande off guard, but the referees as well, as they only judged it a goal after a video review. The goal scorer commented :”From my point of view it was a clean goal, I was a bit surprised to see that it was getting reviewed,” said Bjorkstrand about the shot that rocked the top of the net and added :”It was important to get that first goal. Minks had a few good opportunities in the first, but Taylor kept us in it with a few excellent saves.”
Taylor remained steadfast through the remained of the game, allowing only one puck into his net. The home team captain found a way to score in the second period on a powerplay, 67 seconds after the Bears second goal, which would prove to be game-winning.
Stefano Giliati commented on his game-winning goal, or more so on the brilliant assist that came from Mark Katic right before the goal:”It was impressive and the goal is his credit completely. I knew he saw me skating along the other side but how he found a way to pass through three sticks was masterful.” The win once again proved that the Bears can play with anyone when they play together and stick to the plan:”A lot of effort and a lot of work was put into during the break and that’s why we deserved this win. We showed a true team spirit and played with a lot of heart to achieve this important victory.”
In the last 20 minutes the guests kept the pressure on and almost routinely lead the game to it’s end, even with all the effort from the hosts. While Ryan Vesce was sitting in the penalty box, Mikko Kousa scored on another brilliant pass of the game. Tomas Mertl saw where Kousa was skating towards on the powerplay and sent a pass to the other side of the net. It was the second assist of the game for Mertl, who played on a line with the captain Mike Glumac and Giliati, and he crowned his performance with a third point, more precisely with the last goal of the game, three minutes before the end of the third period.
The Bears continue their road trip in Nizhni Novgorod on Thursday, November 12 with a game against Torpedo, starting at 5 PM, Zagreb time.
HC DINAMO MINSK – KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB 1:4 (0:1;1:1;0:2)
KHL, Arena-Minsk, Minsk
08:33 0-1 Bjorkstrand (Mertl, Morrisonn)
27:41 0-2 Giliati (Mertl, Katic)
28:48 1-2 Kalyuzhny (Szczechura, Materuhin) PP1
43:00 1-3 Kousa (Mertl, Bjorkstrand) PP1
57:50 1-4 Mertl (Hedberg)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 25 - 30
PENALTIES: 8 min – 12 min
HC DINAMO MINSK: Lalande, Glass, Nogachyov, Šinkevich, Ellison, Drozd, Lisovec, Vesce, Kalyuzhny, Cheechoo, Meleshko, Kraychek, Materuhin, Kolytsov, Szczechura, Gunderson, Bailen, Usenko, Pavlovič, Buynitsky, Mihalyov
KHL MEDVESCAK ZAGREB: Taylor, Kroselj, Kinrade, Deutsch, Parlett, Giliati, Kousa, Glumac, Brule, Mäntylä, Hedberg, Jämtin, Bolduc, Bjorkstrand, Jurcina, Smolenak, Perkovich, Morrisonn, Mertl, Katic
Photo: Aleksandr Shichko, PressBall Minsk