Thursday, 16 March 2017

Durham Dragons - Prague Barrel Tournament 2017

The Durham Dragons travelled to Prague at the start of March to represent the U.K. in the “Prague Barrel” tournament in the Czech Republic.
The tournament was made up of teams from Norway, Germany, Oman, Slovakia and Belarus as well as the Dragons. There were also four sides from Russia and two from Canada.
The Durham team travelled with a shortened squad, taking just eleven skaters and two Goalies. Amongst those absent were Player/Coach and last seasons top scorer Brett Kirby, former Whitley Warriors junior player John Shreeve and smooth skating Canadian defenceman Brad Armitage.
With so many absentees a t the welcome meal on the Thursday night, it was left to Dragons Captain, Chris Hall to make the Draw on behalf of his team and duly pulled “Group B” out of the hat which would pit the Dragons up against HC Zubr of Belarus and Rossa of Russia.
Friday saw the Dragons take to the ice early, for a 9am start against the Belarusians, who boasted a former KHL player in their line up. The Dragons initially struggled to get to grips with the no checking rules in place for the tournament and that allowed Zubr to jump out to a two goal lead early in the period with their former pro player doing most of the damage.
As the period wore on the Dragons came more into the game and were rewarded when Ian Greenwood sent a rebound home past the stranded netminder to pull the Dragons back to within one goal at the end of the first. The second period saw the Dragons paying more attention to the Belarusian danger man but seemingly to no avail, as he helped himself to a further two assists, having walked round the Dragons defence to set up his team mates from point blank range.
The third period looked to be going the same way when he completed his hat trick before adding a fourth to make the score 6-1 in favour of the Eastern Europeans.
The Dragons dug deep however and backed up by Sam Elsom, who made some fine saves in the Durham net, came back into the game and started to look more dangerous. 
The Dragons got their breakthrough when Michael Park fired an unstoppable shot through the five hole of the Zubr goalie, followed a minute later by former Billingham Star James Udell, who showed some fine stick handling to walk round the Belarusian defence and fire home to make it 6-3.
The Dragons continued to press hard against a tiring Zubr side but time ultimately proved to be against them as the clock wound down to hand them a 6-3 loss in the opener.
With only a few hours to recover the Dragons were then back in action just after lunch as they took on the Russian side “Rossa” who had also lost their first game to HC Zubr earlier in the day.
The winner of the game would advance to the middle group on the following day and be guaranteed at least an 8th place finish. The Dragons got off to a dream start when Michael Park grabbed his second of the tournament, making no mistake in finishing his breakaway chance.
A few minutes later the Dragons looked to have gone 2-0 up when former Durham Wasp, Mark Foster, fired home a slap shot only to have it ruled out seconds later by the referee.
The Russians took advantage of the Dragons despair shortly afterwards by finishing a breakaway of their own, before grabbing the lead when a rebound came back off the post and onto a Russian stick to allow them to fire past Davies in the Durham net.
The period ended 2-1 in favour of the Russians but the Dragons were far from finished in the game. The Dragons came roaring out of the blocks in the second period and had numerous chances on the Russian net only to be denied by some excellent saves by the Rossa goaltender.
The Russians also went full out, making the game an end to end affair but they could not find a way past Davies in the Dragons net, meaning the period finished as it started, 2-1 to the Russian side.
The third period saw both teams beginning to tire, but the stick work from the Russian side continued to gave momentum, much to the ire of the Dragons. Undeterred by some of the dirty play that was seemingly taking place all over the ice the Dragons pressed on grabbing an equaliser through Ian Greenwood half way through the period.
In a mirror image of the first game it was James Udell who the potted the Dragons third goal, giving them a slim 3-2 lead going into the last few minutes. With all to play for, the Russian side threw everything they could at the Durham defence with only some desperate shot blocking standing in the way of them and an equaliser that would send Durham into the bottom group.
Luck would not favour the Dragons though, as with only two minutes left on the clock, they had a man in the penalty box, and also lost their goaltender when Craig Davies made a desperate diving save to his right and stopped a hard shot with his head.
Davies was knocked unconscious on the play and was helped off the ice by the on site medical team. Sam Elsom stepped in for the final minute with no chance to warm up and despite making several key saves Rossa got a lucky rebound which allowed them to scrape a draw.
This pushed the Dragons into the bottom group on goal difference meaning an early morning meeting with the Freiburg Eagles of Germany the following day. Despite the early face off and the fact that the Germans boasted two former French pro league players in their line up, the Dragons sensed blood in the water and went after the German side from the opening puck drop.
Less than a few minutes in and Ian Greenwood gave the Dragons the lead with a nifty backhand shot after dancing through the Freiburg defence. James Udell then popped up to grab a quick brace to give the Dragons a commanding 3-0 lead at the end of the first period.
Former Durham Wasp and current Durham Dragons Captain, Chris Hall, got in on the act early in the second period, firing home a powerful slap shot from the point.
The Wasps connection was on display again shortly afterwards when Mark Foster fired a laser like shot into the top corner before adding a second after walking through the defence and lifting the puck over the stranded goalie.
The period ended with defensemen David Hirst displaying his famous silky hands before firing home to give the Dragons a 7-0 lead going into the final frame.
With the points in the bag the Dragons eased off a little in the third but still had time for long serving defenseman Darren Webb to fire home through traffic to make it 8-0. James Udell then completed the scoring as well as bagging his own hat trick to put the Dragons 9-0 up.
The defence held firm for the final few minutes, rewarding Davies with his first shut out of the season in the Dragons net. That result put the Dragons up to 10th place ahead of the German side and Les Goalois of Canada, meaning they would now face the Golden Boys Kosice from Slovakia in the 9th/10th place play off.
The Solvakian outfit boasted several ex pro’s in their line up too, and were rolling four full lines compared to the Dragons two so, on paper it looked to be a tough challenge for the English team.
As the puck dropped however the Dragons upped their work rate and matched the Slovakians all over the ice in the opening frame. The Dragons were unlucky not to take the lead early in the period when they had several excellent chances only to be denied by some excellent goaltending.
The Slovakians were becoming visibly frustrated that they could not find a way past the plucky Brits but eventually got their noses in front on the powerplay late in the period. A hard shot from the point made its way through traffic and was deflected into the roof of the net giving Davies no chance in the Durham goal.
The second period began with the Slovakians grabbing a quick goal to give them a two goal lead and it looked like the floodgates may open as they continued to press the Dragons net. However, once again the Dragons showed pure grit and determination and managed to peg them back. Not for the first time, it was Udell doing the damage, firing a shot through the five hole of the Golden Boys netminder to bring Durham Back into the game.
The numbers game started to come more into play as a tiring Dragons team succumbed to the constant fresh legs coming off the Slovak bench and shipped  two goals late in the period to finish the second 4-1 down.
The Dragons looked dead on their feet to start the third period and when the fifth Slovak goal went in, it looked like the British boys were down and out. But the Dragons once again dug deep and the dangerous Ian Greenwood slotted home to keep his side within touching distance.
The Slovaks made it 6-2 shortly after, but once again the Dragons would not go away, with Greenwood leading a short handed break, up the ice and potting his second of the game.
With time winding down the Slovaks added a slightly suspicious looking seventh goal when the net was clearly off its moorings. However, despite the score line the Dragons could still hold their heads high, having given the Slovaks a tougher game than they anticipated.
The Dragons took home the tenth place trophy, but made a number of friends in the process and hopefully gave a good account of British hockey.

2nd - 5th March
The Dragons, are the last remaining Hockey team from Durham, still going since the closure of the Riverside rink in 1996.
The Dragons have enjoyed similar success to that of their more illustrious neighbours, winning tournaments around the country and having the reputation of a very capable team to be reckoned with. They are a  hockey team, who can adjust their style to match and beat any opponents.
Unfortunately things changed after the closure of the rink. Players drifted away or retired, but a core of the team remained united. The Dragons have battled on for some 15 years now training at Sunderland, Billingham, Whitley Bay and the Newcastle Arena, but all the time they have maintained their "Durham" identity and passion.
Over the last few years there have been promises and plans of a new ice rink in Durham, but they have come and gone. However, the Dragons have still been able to attract players.
In the last few years Durham have achieved great results in both friendly games and tournaments, and gained the respect of their opponents for the way they  approach the game, as well as their conduct both on and off the ice. 
"We're the only team to survive from Durham and we're going to make sure we're a good enough team to pull on the blue and gold shirts, step back on that ice and give a performance that is worthy of the Durham name" Darren Webb  Team Manager said.

There are a couple of personnel changes to the side that won the Summer Plate in August.
Brett Kirby will sit out this season, while Latvian forward Serge Kvasys opted not to re-sign for this year.
The Dragons can still boast an import within their ranks though, as Canadian born Brad Armitage, has arrived from the Newcastle Coyotes, to bolster their blue line.
Aside from Armitage, the Dragons have several names that many Warriors fans will be familiar with.
Mark Foster and Chris Hall both iced for their bitter rivals the Durham Wasps, while John Shreeve saw some action in the Maroon and Gold during the 2003-04 season.
There are also several ex junior players from Whitley, Durham, Sunderland and Billingham. Gareth Beddoes, Brett Kirby, Ian Greenwood, Lee Smith, Steve Goldsmith, Michael Park, Michael Anderson, Ian Watson and Craig Davies, while  James Udell has seen action with the Newcastle ENL Vipers, Isle of Wight Raiders and Billingham Bombers.
The Barrel tournament will certainly prove to be valuable for the experience gained ahead of the Dragons Summer Cup campaign, and one of the players who featured in the Prague, Craig Davies shared his thoughts on which teams he believes his side should look out for in the months ahead.
"Whitley and Cleveland will probably be battling for the league title. I think Whitley possibly have the edge right now but it depends on whether Paul Windridge and Pattison sign for Cleveland or not. However, they already have James McCabe, Garry Dowd and Anthony Price, who were all prominent players for the stars at one time" he said. 
"They could make it very interesting. I would say the remaining two playoff spots will be between us, Kingston and Grimsby. Kingston have been strong for a good few years now, but have lost one or two players since last year and have just lost their Dumfries trophy this past weekend. You still can't rule them out though as Gowan Beddoes, the brother of our Gareth Beddoes, and Chris Hogarth, who played for the Kingston Jets and Newcastle ENL Vipers, are still arguably the top two forwards in the league." he added.  "Grimsby are joining for the first time this year, but tournament play has shown them to be strong. Plus playing their home games on their tiny rink gives them a real advantage. They have lost to Cleveland home and away already but beat Solihull at the weekend. So as long as they stay disciplined they will prove to be a threat." he continued.
"Blackburn and Solihull don't tend to travel well but are capable of a few surprise results along the way, especially on their rinks, but I think Widnes  might struggle this year as they've lost their best players to the NIHL Wild during the off season." he said.
Davies though recognises their are pros and cons to wearing the blue and yellow of a Durham team.
"Billingham and Whitley have junior development programmes in place, not to mention several players who once turned our for their senior sides, but Durham no longer can compete with that as we have no 'league' team that players can drop down from!" he said.
"Still the Dragons were the last team to play out of the Riverside rink before it shut and are the only ones carrying the Durham name these days. We don't pretend to be the Wasps but we  do try to keep some of the sentiment and legacy alive where we can." he concluded.
The Dragons are back in action this coming Sunday night [March 19] as they travel to Sheffield to take on the Blazers at ice Sheffield.

Sunday 19th March 2017
8:15pm At Sheffield

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

KHL - Playoffs - Round 2 - Metallurg Magnitogorsk v Barys Astana - Metallurg Win Series 4-0

Game 1 - Metallurg v Barys 4-0 - Thursday, March 09, 2017
Metallurg opened its semi-final series with a comfortable victory over Barys, making light of the absence of leading scorer Sergei Mozyakin to settle the game with three goals in the third period. Tomas Filippi, promoted to the first line in place of his team captain, obliged with Magnitka’s crucial second to regain control of the game as Barys threatened an equalizer. The home team went in front in the 11th minute of a stormy opening period. The goal, scored by Oskar Osala, came on a power play when Ivan Kuchin became the sixth player to visit the sin bin in the early stages of the game. Alexander Semin manoeuvred himself into a shooting position and, after Henrik Karlsson made the save, Osala dealt well with the awkwardly bouncing puck to steer it into the net as it looped up onto the slot. But Barys was not about to roll over, despite falling behind at the start of the game. The visitor sought to match its opponent blow for blow, and kept the score to 1-0 until the third period. There were even chances for the Kazakhs to tie the game: early in the final stanza Kevin Dallman tested Vasily Koshechkin from distance before Nigel Dawes fired wide of an unguarded net from a tight angle. Those misses were swiftly punished: Dawes was still shaking his head over his misfortune when Filippi doubled the home lead. Jan Kovar played a perfectly-weighted pass from blue line to blue line and his compatriot raced onto the puck, shrugged off the challenge of Dallman and swept a backhand shot beneath Karlsson’s pads. Four minutes later, it was 3-0. Kovar emerged from the bench just in time to collect Denis Kazionov’s pass and smash a one-timer from the blue line that gave Karlsson no chance. By now the game was all but settled. Barys knew that its hopes of snatching a result from the opening encounter of this series were effectively over. Danis Zaripov still had time to add a fourth, scoring on the power play with 20 seconds left, while Koshechkin completed a shut-out with 30 saves to give the defending champion a decisive start to its semi-final series.
Game 2 - Metallurg v Barys 5-4 OT - Saturday, March 11, 2017
Yaroslav Kosov grabbed an overtime winner for Metallurg, settling a shoot-out between two of the KHL’s top strikers. In regulation, Nigel Dawes scored two fine goals for Barys, only to be outdone by Danis Zaripov’s hat-trick for Magnitka. That left a roller-coaster game tied at 4-4 after 60 minutes, and set the stage for Kosov’s big moment. It came on 68 minutes, wrapping up a strong Metallurg performance in overtime. Evgeny Timkin created the chance, breaking down the right channel and swinging a pass across the ice to the waiting Kosov at the far post. One look at the net was all he needed to beat Henrik Karlsson and secure the win. Regulation time was dominated by Zaripov. He completed his treble in the third period to overturn a 3-2 lead for Barys. The forward’s big day started early, though, giving Metallurg a fifth-minute lead after Jan Kovar’s pass sent him into a duel with visiting goalie Henrik Karlsson. But the second period turned the game on its head as Barys took advantage of a string of penalities to go in ahead at the second intermission. Barely a minute into the middle session, Roman Starchenko’s power play marker tied the scores on the night and gave Barys its first goal in this series. Viktor Antipin reinstated the home team’s advantage with a curious goal midway through the stanza, enjoying a slice of luck as Karlsson fumbled a gently looping shot into his own net. But Metallurg’s lead did not last long. Two goals in a minute saw Barys in front as it cashed in on a passage of four-on-four play. Nigel Dawes deked his way past Jan Kovar on his way to the equalizer, and moments later Marty St. Pierre stunned the home crowd by converting the rebound from Maxim Semyonov’s shot. Zaripov responded with two power play goals, the first created by a superb defense-splitting pass from Sergei Mozyakin, who marked his return to the roster with three assists. The Barys defense did not know how to handle Zaripov’s threat, and paid the price again on 48 minutes when he was left all alone to shoot home the 4-3 goal. That seemed to have ended Barys’ resistance, but Dawes wasn’t done yet. Astana’s own talismanic forward produced another highlight-reel goal. First, he streaked past Chris Lee on the blue line then advanced into open ice before unleashing a devastating wrist shot that left Vasily Koshechkin with no chance. For the visitor, it offered hope of a reprieve and a vision of taking the series back to Kazakhstan with the scores level. But overtime saw Kosov snuff out that illusion to leave Metallurg in an imposing position.

Game 3 - Barys v Metallurg 3-5 - Monday, March 13, 2017
Danis Zaripov rocketed out in front on the post-season scoring charts with yet another hat-trick to help the defending champion maintain its winning streak as this Eastern Conference Semi-final series moved to Astana. Zaripov, who potted a treble in game five of Magnitka’s series against Kunlun Red Star before repeating the trick in Saturday’s overtime victory over Barys took his post-season tally to 11 goals and six assists, putting him out in front in this year’s playoff scoring race. His success also brought up the 50th post-season goal of his career. But it took Magnitka time to take control of this game. The home team, inspired by familiar surroundings, made a lively start and had the better of the opening stanza. However, it failed to turn that edge into goals, inviting Metallurg to take back control as the encounter developed. That man Zaripov made the difference. His two goals in the second period, the first on the wraparound after Alexei Bereglazov’s shot, the second on the power play with a delicate finish off a Jan Kovar feed, turned the game decisively in the visitor’s favor. Barys was still creating chances, but Metallurg was converting them. The third period began with a lifeline for the host: Tomas Filippi’s penalty late in the second enabled Barys to start on the power play, and Dustin Boyd halved the deficit to give the home team hope. But that optimism was ruthlessly dampened. Two more power play chances for Magnitka and two more goals, with Zaripov’s line-mates Sergei Mozyakin and Jan Kovar extending the lead to 4-1. Mozyakin also completed another achievement in his impressive season, picking up his 389th KHL assist to overtake Alexander Radulov’s record. Zaripov completed his treble in the 56th minute, but that was not the end of the goalscoring feats. Boyd matched the Metallurg man’s achievement, grabbing further strikes in the last two minutes. A hat-trick apiece, but victory for Zaripov & Co. Metallurg is now one game away from progressing to the Conference Final yet again; Barys, which has never progressed beyond this stage, needs to launch a comeback for the ages if it is to change that record.

Game 4 - Barys v Metallurg 2-3 OT - Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Last season’s Gagarin Cup winner, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, became the first team to secure its place in the Conference Finals for 2017 after wrapping up a sweep of Barys. An overtime goal from Jan Kovar, Magnitka’s third power play goal of the night, finally saw off a Barys team that was determined to extend the series but fell narrowly short as its season came to a close. The winner came in the 79th minute as Maxim Semyonov sat out a minor penalty for tripping. Chris Lee set the play in motion, moving the puck wide left to Sergei Mozyakin, lurking with intent on the goalline. Mozyakin drilled the puck across the face of the net, and Kovar was on hand at the far post to tap it home and wrap up the series. Metallurg thus became the first team into the Eastern Conference final, dropping just one game in the opening two rounds of playoff action. The Metallurg power play had brought the team to the brink of victory in regulation. Trailing 0-1 to Nigel Dawes’ first-period strike, Magnitka turned the game around in the final stanza. The equalizer came on 46 minutes through the same trio that got the game-winner. Lee kept the puck in play at the point and played a square pass for Mozyakin to flash a shot from the blue line. Kovar had the vital touch in front of the net, deceiving Henrik Karlsson and bringing the visitor level. Then Lee, already the holder of a new KHL record for post-season assists from a defenseman, got his first playoff goal of this campaign to make it 2-1 in the 49th minute. Lee collected an attempted clearance on the blue line, advanced into a shooting position, shaped as if to shoot then continued as space opened up in front of him. Finally, from between the hash marks, he got his shot away to beat Karlsson. But Barys was not ready to give up, and forced overtime thanks to a first ever playoff goal from Nikita Mikhailis. The 21-year-old tied the game at 2-2 in the 52nd minute. He was first to react as the puck looped into the air after Corey Trivino’s shot was blocked, and Mikhailis got his stick to it to wrap up a move that began with Maxim Khudyakov bringing the disk from behind the net and playing a backhand pass into the danger zone.
Once again, the series was following a pattern of a comfortable Metallurg win followed by Barys taking a game to overtime. But once again, the Kazakhs were unable to win it in the extras … and this loss proved fatal for their playoff prospects. Metallurg can now rest until March 24, when it will begin the Eastern Conference Final at home to the winners of the Ak Bars vs Avangard series.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

KHL - Playoffs - Round 1 - Avangard Omsk v Admiral Vladivostock - Avangard Win Series 4-2

Game 1 - Avangard v Admiral 2-1 3OT - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Admiral’s post-season record, three victories, eight losses, did not give much cause for confidence ahead of its series with Avangard. Moreover, the struggle that the Vladivostok team had to claim a top-eight finish gave further reasons to fear that all was not well in the Far East. But in the event, Admiral put up a mighty fight against Avangard, taking the game into a third period of overtime and threatening to make a mockery of the seeding when James Wright hit the post in the second period of extras. Avangard prevailed, finally, thanks to a 106th-minute goal from Alexander Kucheryavenko. He fired home from close range after Anton Burdasov brought the puck out from behind the net, ending this marathon encounter and giving the home side the lead in the series. But Admiral deserves great credit for its valiant effort against an opponent that, on paper, seemed to be far stronger.
It looked like the game was going to plan when the home team opened the scoring in the 10th minute through Jonas Ahnelov. The Swede collected Vladimir Sobotka’s pass, slipped past Robert Sabolic and fired home from between the hashtags. But it wasn’t the cue for the floodgates to open. Admiral continued to focus on its game, kept things tight and began to frustrate Avangard. The middle stanza brought more of the same, but now the visitor was beginning to create more offense. That brought an equalizer midway through the session. Artyom Zemchyonok kept the puck in Avangard’s zone and passed from the point to Maxim Kazakov. The forward didn’t really hit his shot with full power, but Viktor Alexandrov was screening Dominik Furch and the Czech goalie was disappointed to be beaten from a central position. As the first period of overtime came to a close, Avangard was desperately close to winning it. Nikolai Lemtyugov’s shot was deflected into the danger zone, and amid a flurry of sticks and skates the puck hit the post and was twice swept off the goal line before Igor Bobkov finally got on top of it. The second stanza of extras also saw the goal frame jangling, at both ends of the ice. Yegor Martynov hit the post for Avangard, while Wright did the same for Admiral. But Furch and especially Bobkov were in fine form to take the game into its sixth period before Kucheryavenko delivered the final blow with the clocks showing 23:14, local time.

Game 2 - Avangard v Admiral 6-3 - Friday, February 24, 2017

Avangard took control of this series with a second successive home win over Admiral, but for the second game running the #2 seed in the East was pushed hard by its opponent. It needed a third-period flourish to bury this game, with Admiral twice leading in the early stages. Maybe the visitor was sunk by the loss of head coach Alexander Andriyevsky, who was banished from the bench after Avangard tied the scores at 3-3 with a power play goal midway through the second period. Certainly, from that moment on the game shifted decisively in the home team’s favor, and goals from Mikhail Grigoryev, Jonas Ahnelov and Mikhail Yunkov saw Avangard to victory in the third. Andriyevsky’s anger stemmed from the officials’ failure to stop play in the build-up to Avangard’s third goal. Admiral’s Robert Sabolic was dumped to the ice by Erik Gustafsson and appeared to be struggling to recover. With the visitor already on the penalty kill, Avangard took advantage of the extra space and Vladimir Sobotka fed Nikolai Lemtyugov for a well-worked goal. But Andrievsky’s grievance over the Sabolic incident left him raging at the officials … and talking his way into more trouble. Admiral rarely threatened after that, and the game got away. Earlier, though, things looked very different for Admiral. Despite the disappointment of giving up a short-handed goal to Yunkov just eight seconds into the first PP of the evening, the visitor responded to tie the game on the same power play thanks to Artyom Zemchyonok. The second penalty against Avangard led to Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev making it 2-1 at the end of the first period.
The home team quickly levelled with a power play goal of its own for Evgeny Medvedev, but Krasnoslodtsev produced a defense-splitting pass to set Maxim Kazakov away for a beautiful finish past Dominik Furch. Kazakov has two goals in two playoff games, but has yet to enjoy a victory. Four minutes after he put Admiral 3-2 up, the Sabolic incident and Lemtyugov’s goal changed the course of this game completely. The visitor barely mustered another shot as Avangard turned the screws to produce a convincing final scoreline. Sunday’s action shifts to Vladivostok with Avangard enjoying a 2-0 advantage. But the comfort of that lead does not entirely reflect how close these teams have been on the ice for much of the series.

Game 3 - Admiral v Avangard 4-3 - Sunday, February 26, 2017

Young forward Maxim Kazakov has been one of the hottest shots of this year’s playoffs, and today’s double strike put him on the winning team for the first time in this post-season. Kazakov, 23, seems to have acquired a taste for playing against his former club. The forward left Avangard for Vladivostok in the summer and is relishing the chance to show his former employer what it is missing. Two goals in two games as the series began in Omsk opened the dialogue and today’s game-winning double emphatically underlined his point. He got his first of the evening in the 32nd minute, adding to Sergei Barbashev’s first-period opener and giving Admiral a 2-0 lead. But his key contribution came with five minutes left, after Avangard had battled back to tie the game at 3-3. Damir Zhafyarov played the puck back from the corner and Kazakov fired a shot from the face-off circle that went over Dominik Furch’s shoulder. However, it took some time for the forward to claim his marker: the puck flew back into play off the camera in the back of the net, and it wasn’t until the officials had time to review the video that goal could be given. To the delight of the home crowd, it proved decisive. For Admiral, this win brought a sense of justice being served. The Vladivostok team was hugely disappointed with events in Omsk during Friday’s 3-6 defeat, in which a crucial Avangard goal was preceded by a foul that left Robert Sabolic injured. Sabolic has not been on the ice since, but head coach Alexander Andriyevsky escaped further censure for his outburst at the officials and was back behind the bench for Sunday’s encounter. He presided over a nail-biting affair. After Barbashev and Kazakov gave Admiral that 2-0 lead, Avangard fought back strongly. Vladimir Sobotka’s first playoff goal of the season halved the deficit almost immediately and despite Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev making it 3-1 with a short-handed goal in the 36th minute, the visitor struck back with goals either side of the second intermission. Valentin Pyanov and Pyotr Khokhryakov hauled Avangard back onto level terms, only for Kazakov to grab the winner. Victory for Admiral breathes new life into this series, putting the outsider on the board and ensuring that, at the very least, Avangard will have to return to Omsk to wrap up the series.
Game 4 - Admiral v Avangard 3-2 OT - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Admiral tied this series with an overtime victory, inspired by a fantastic goal from former Avangard graduate Maxim Kazakov. The game winner, in the 72nd minute, went to James Wright, but the play of the game undoubtedly came from Kazakov when he tied the scores in the first period. The youngster, who learned his hockey in Omsk, maintained his record of scoring in every playoff game with a beauty to tie the scores in the first period. There seemed to be nothing much on when Kazakov got the puck in his own zone but the 23-year-old saw the visiting defense back off and took his chance to advance. Having reached the bottom of the circle, he then found the angle to squeeze home a shot at the near post. That was Admiral’s first highlight of an absorbing game, and Wright delivered another memorable moment in the 72nd minute to give the Sailors victory. Vladimir Tkachyov added to his earlier goal with an assist here, getting behind the net, overpowering his opponent and popping the puck out in front for Wright to put a one-timer beyond Dominik Furch and send the series back to Omsk with the scores dead level.
For Avangard, the scoring came from Anton Burdasov, recalled to the team after missing Monday’s 3-4 defeat. It was a successful return for the player, but not for his team. In regular season, Burdasov’s 25 points from 35 games gave him the best strike rate of any Avangard forward, and today he opened his post-season goal tally with two markers, putting the visiting in front twice in the early part of the game. The 25-year-old opened the scoring in the ninth minute, firing home a Nikolai Lemtyugov pass, and he made it 2-1 with a goal of brutal simplicity as he smashed home Alexander Kucheryavenko’s feed from a face-off in the Admiral zone after 27 minutes. But penalty trouble saw Avangard give up that lead. A 5-on-3 advantage presented Tkachyov with the equalizer. Patient play around the Omsk net ended with Jonathon Blum’s diagonal pass to Tkachyov, who smashed the puck home from the left-hand face-off spot to tie the game. There was no further scoring in regulation, although Admiral’s Ilya Ivanov might have won it midway through the third had it not been for some brilliant last-ditch defense from Avangard. Instead the game went to overtime, and Wright delivered the win for Admiral.

Game 5 - Avangard v Admiral 6-0 - Thursday, March 02, 2017

After turning the seeding upside down to tie the series with back-to-back home wins, Admiral came crashing back down to Earth on its return to Omsk. A powerful performance from Avangard left the Sailors facing a last-chance showdown on home ice Saturday, with the second seed poised to progress to the Conference Semi-finals. The damage was done in the first period. Avangard dominated from the moment the puck was dropped, scoring three unanswered goals and allowing just three shots on Dominik Furch’s net. Vladimir Sobotka opened the scoring after six minutes, firing his shot in off the post after line-mates Nikolai Lemtyugov and Maxim Pestushko swung the puck freely around the Admiral zone. Next, Jonas Ahnelov doubled the lead, although Igor Bobkov will be disappointed to be beaten by a weak shot the bobbled in as David Booth provided the screen. Sobotka picked up an assist as Vitaly Menshikov added a third to rubber-stamp the host’s dominance; the Czech recycled the puck off the boards and set up Menshikov on the blue line. The second period offered little respite, with Booth and Ilya Mikheyev adding further goals to the tally, and the third even enabled Fyodor Kanareikin to give some ice time to understudy goalie Oleg Shilin after Danil Faizullin added a sixth to complete the scoring. On Saturday, the teams return to Vladivostok, with Admiral needing to find the resilience to bounce back from a heavy defeat immediately, or face losing out in the first round of the playoffs once again.
Game 6 - Admiral v Avangard 0-2 - Saturday, March 04, 2017
A second successive shut-out saw Avangard wrap up this series in six games, sinking Admiral and advancing to an Eastern Conference Semi-final match-up with Ak Bars. The Omsk team had lost its two previous playoff games in Vladivostok, but arrived for Saturday’s encounter buoyed by a 6-0 victory that gave it the series lead once again and moved it to within one win of progress.
That, plus an electric start to the game, ensured that the momentum swung decisively in Avangard’s favor, condemning Admiral to another first-round playoff exit. It took just 48 seconds for Avangard to open the scoring. Ilya Zubov fired the puck goalwards from the point, Valentin Pyanov deflected it across the face of the net and Ilya Mikheyev was on hand at the far post to shoot home as the target gaped in front of him. For Admiral, it was a deflating blow, subduing the home crowd before the home team even had a chance to test out Dominik Furch in the visitor’s net. With Avangard enjoying such an early lead, Admiral’s offense found itself stifled. The visitor could focus on defense, and the home team was left foundering in center ice for much of the opening stanza. Furch faced just four shots in the first period, and dealt with them comfortably. The middle period followed a similar pattern, as the Siberians continued to play cautiously even on the power play. Admiral was limited to a solitary dangerous moment for Vladimir Tkachyov; Avangard doubled its lead when Vladimir Sobotka despatched the puck after Nikolai Lemtyugov’s daring rush was hampered, but not halted, by a pair of D-men. In the final stanza, Admiral raised its game and began to test Furch more sternly. Tkachyov was once again at the heart of the home team’s best moments, but the Czech goalie was in fine form and kept his goal intact until the very end. The final major incident came at the other end, when Ilya Zubov had a penalty shot after Igor Bobkov moved the goalposts; the goalie redeemed himself by winning that duel, but Avangard eased to victory. The next game for Fyodor Kanareikin’s men will be in Omsk on March 9 when Avangard starts its series against Ak Bars in the second round of this year’s playoffs.

KHL - Playoffs - Round 1 - Traktor Chelyabinsk v Barys Astana - Barys Win Series 4-2

Game 1 - Traktor v Barys 2-5 - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An emphatic victory for Barys turned the seedings upside down, and saw a new KHL playoff record for the fastest goal. The visitor suffered a blow before the game with the news that Brandon Bochenski would be unavailable for the post-season opener. But the Kazakhs’ offense shrugged off his absence with a blistering start to the game that produced three goals in the first 10 minutes, starting after just 11 seconds. It was a record-breaker. A crunching hit from Maxim Semyonov in center ice gave Konstantin Pushkaryov the puck and he fired a wrist shot into the left-hand angle to open the scoring. Traktor’s evening quickly got worse. Alexei Kruchinin’s shot was charged down, and Nigel Dawes collected the loose puck and went through unopposed to make it 2-0. A double minor penalty on Vitaly Kravtsov gave Barys the chance to make it 3-0. Kevin Dallman’s shot crashed back off the boards, and Dustin Boyd was there to force the rebound into the net. The clock showed 9:46, and Barys was already well on the way to becoming the first team in this year’s playoff to upset the seeding and claim a road win. Things did not improve for Traktor. The middle session brought two further goals. Brendan Shinnimin made it 4-0 on the power play in the 22nd minute, ending Pavel Francouz’ evening. Then Vladimir Markelov finished off a lovely passing move to score on Vasily Demchenko for Barys’ fifth in the 33rd. Kravtsov and Yury Petrov got third-period consolation goals for Traktor, the latter despite an appeal to the video official from the away bench, but the day belonged to Barys.
Game 2 - Traktor v Barys 5-1 - Friday, February 24, 2017

Barys was the only team to pick up an away win from the first three days of playoff action, piling up the pressure on Traktor ahead of the second meeting in this Eastern Conference series. On Wednesday, the home team’s downfall was a lack of concentration early in the game: conceding after just 11 seconds and slipping to a 0-5 deficit by the 33rd minute left Traktor with too much to do on the night. But a third-period revival saw two unanswered goals, and offered some hope for the rest of the series. Tonight, some of those lessons were learned. Traktor shaded a goalless first period, rarely allowing Barys a chance to get inside the defense and threaten Pavel Francouz in the home goal. Then, in the middle stanza, the host was dominant. Two goals, a 14-2 advantage on the shot count and, apparently a commanding position in the game. Alexei Kruchinin fired Traktor ahead in the 34thminute, a powerful one-timer from the face-off spot after Paul Szczechura’s diagonal pass out from behind the net found the gaps in the Barys PK. Two days earlier, Barys led 5-0 at this stage in the game; today Traktor was 1-0 in front.
Alexander Sharov made it 2-0 in the 39th minute, beating Henrik Karlsson in a one-on-one break after Dmitry Pestunov’s pass from deep in his own zone beat Barys’ cross-bench line change to find Sharov on the blue line. The video officials checked for offside and ruled that Sharov was good to go.
Then came the nerve-jangler. A power play for Barys, which had spent much of the session shorthanded, saw Martin St.Pierre convert a Nigel Dawes pass to halve the deficit. The visitor only managed two shots in the second period, but still had a priceless goal to put it right back in the game. Penalty trouble finished off Barys, though. In total the Kazakhs picked up 20 PIMs in the game, and a double minor for Corey Trivino proved decisive. Artyom Penkovsky got his first career playoff goal to convert the first power play, getting off the mark in some style with a flicked backhand finish. Trivino had barely left the box when the vastly experienced Maxim Yakutsenya added a fourth before shooting the fifth into an empty net. The 36-year-old forward last got a post-season goal for Traktor in 2013, helping a young team to the Gagarin Cup final. Today he set the seal on a victory that revives the dream of another run deep into the playoffs.

Game 3 - Barys v Traktor 3-1 - Sunday, February 26, 2017

Barys regained the initiative in this series thanks to two goals from Nigel Dawes. The Canadian forward took his post-season tally to three, further cementing his status as the KHL’s all-time leading goalscorer among imports and wiping out the lead that Dmitry Pestunov gave the visitor in the first period.
Pestunov’s marker came barely 30 seconds before the end of the first period, and the power play strike was just reward for Traktor’s dominance of the opening stanza. It wasn’t without an element of good fortune, though: the forward slung the puck across the front of the net from a wide position and benefited from a kind bounce off goalie Henrik Karlsson’s stick to open the scoring. Then Dawes got going. A Barys power play early in the second period handed him the chance to tie the game. An attack from deep seemed to have broken down in the Traktor zone, but Konstantin Pushkaryov recycled the puck to Dawes who shot home from a central position. Early in the third period, Barys’ captain did it again to put his team in front. Collecting a loose puck in center ice, he rushed to the left-hand circle and whipped a wicked shot over Pavel Francouz’ glove and inside the near post for an unassisted score. Traktor looked for an equalizer, but Barys worked hard to limit the visitor’s sights of the net before wrapping the victory late on with an empty-net goal from Corey Trivino. The Kazakh team has the edge in this series, and with a second home game coming on Tuesday, Barys now has high hopes of winning a playoff series for only the second time in nine attempts.

Game 4 - Barys v Traktor 1-2 OT - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This intriguing series is deadlocked once again after Traktor dug deep to find an overtime winner in Astana. Alexei Petrov got the decisive goal in the 66th minute, handing his team a vital victory to square the situation ahead of Thursday’s game in Chelyabinsk. Alexander Tridchikov advanced to the point and smashed in a shot that Henrik Karlsson could only beat up into the air. Derek Roy recovered possession and fed Petrov who had taken up a dangerous position in front of the net and was free of any defenseman. The finish was emphatic, the goal decisive.
Earlier, Traktor took the lead midway through the game thanks to Paul Szczechura. Maxim Yakutsenya carved out the opening, drawing the Barys defense across the face of goal as he broke down the left channel and slalomed between opposing players. Then, rather than shoot in full sight of Karlsson, he slipped the puck to the wide open Szczechura who deceived the goalie with some stick handling and pinged a shot into the net. But Barys, backed by another big crowd in Astana, came out for the second period and produced a dominant display. The home team was 14-2 up on shots, and got its reward through Nigel Dawes’ fourth goal of the playoffs. Dawes missed a great chance with a penalty shot after being fouled by Kirill Koltsov, but needed just seven seconds to put the record straight. Barys won back possession right away, Dawes exchanged passes with Kevin Dallman at the point and rushed into a shooting position in the left-hand circle. From there he produced a finish to beat Pavel Francouz and level the scores with seven minutes to play. This time, though, it wasn’t enough to salvage a result from the game.

Game 5 - Traktor v Barys 1-2 OT - Thursday, March 02, 2017

Barys returns to Kazakhstan on Saturday knowing that a home win will wrap up this series and see the team progress to the Conference Semi-finals for only the second time in its history. Another hard-fought game between these two rivals needed overtime to produce a winner, and Martin St. Pierre came up with the crucial goal in the 71st minute. The French-Canadian did it all himself, picking up the puck deep in his own zone, surging down the right channel and firing a shot through Konstantin Klimontov’s legs to beat the unsighted Pavel Francouz from the face-off spot. Traktor appealed to the video officials, claiming offside, but the replays showed that St. Pierre clearly took the puck into the end zone before his team-mates could catch him. It was the second high-quality Barys goal of the day; earlier Konstantin Pushkaryov gave his team a 13th-minute lead after Nigel Dawes and Dustin Boyd moved the puck sweetly around the Traktor net to create a shooting lane. That lead did not last; Traktor levelled midway through the game on a power play. Artyom Borodkin got the goal, firing home a one-timer from the deep slot off a Kirill Koltsov pass. At that stage, the home team seemed to be gaining the upper hand in the game, but as the minutes ticked by and the price of giving up a goal increased, both teams became more cautious. The third period saw few opportunities at either end, although Dawes might have won it late on when he got a good look at Francouz only to find the Czech goalie on top of his game. Instead it went into overtime, where St. Pierre found the winning goal.
Game 6 - Barys v Traktor 2-1 - Saturday, March 04, 2017

Barys came from behind to win the game and the series, progressing to the Conference Semi-finals for only the second time in its history. The winner arrived on a power play early in the third period, created by a moment of magic from Konstantin Pushkaryov. The forward, who began the series by scoring the KHL’s fastest ever playoff goal, finished it with a sublime no-look pass across the face of Pavel Francouz’ net to present Dustin Boyd with the straightforward task of putting the puck into an open net. Barys was in front, and it would hold that lead until the hooter. Traktor, playing for its playoff future, made the brighter start and took a deserved lead in the 10th minute with a power play goal from Kirill Koltsov. The veteran defenseman turned circles on the right flank before spotting the chance to advance towards the face-off spot. As Yegor Shalapov backed off, undecided whether to pressure the puck or cut off a pass to another forward at the near post, Koltsov made the choice irrelevant with a powerful shot to beat Henrik Karlsson and open the scoring. Traktor continued to have the better of the opening session, building on its livelier start to ensure that the most dangerous incidents happened around Karlsson’s net. But the visitor was unable to extend its lead, and soon paid the price. If the first period was very much Traktor’s, the middle session swung back in the host’s favor. Barys dominated the play, generating a 16-4 shot count and tying the game through Vladimir Markelov’s 23rd-minute goal. The 29-year-old picked up his second playoff goal of the season, applying the backhand to a Kevin Dallman feed from the point to beat Francouz from close range. The home side may feel it should have extended that lead: Dallman hit the piping and Francouz made several smart saves to keep the scores level until the second intermission. The third period saw Boyd’s early goal separate the teams, but Traktor had its chances to respond. A double minor penalty on Pushkaryov handed the visitor the initiative, and Karlsson made a fine save to deny Paul Szczechura from point-blank range as Barys struggled to kill that penalty. But the host held firm, and when Szczechura was foiled again after a great chance in the last minute, the home crowd was already celebrating.

NHL - Winnipeg Jets @ Minnesota Wild - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Jason Zucker scored with 2:10 remaining in the third period to give the Minnesota Wild a 6-5 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Tuesday.
With a boarding penalty to Wild forward Nino Niederreiter expiring, Zucker got the puck from Erik Haula and his wrist shot beat Michael Hutchinson. Joel Armia and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets 1:42 apart in the third period to tie it 5-5.
Mikael Granlund, Tyler Graovac, Haula, Ryan White and Marco Scandella scored for the Wild (41-14-6), who led 4-1 and 5-2. Darcy Kuemper was pulled after allowing five goals on 29 shots. Devan Dubnyk made seven saves in 8:43 for his 34th win. The Wild extended their lead on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division and Western Conference standings to five points. Minnesota forwards Zach Parise and Jason Pominville each missed his second game because of the mumps. Patrik Laine, Adam Lowry and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Jets (28-30-6). Connor Hellebuyck allowed five goals on 21 shots and was pulled at 13:19 of the second period. The Jets are five points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
Laine scored 1:02 into the first period to make it 1-0. His 31 goals are tied with Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews for most by an NHL rookie. Granlund tied it 1-1, scoring on a breakaway at 3:02 after Mikko Koivu created a turnover the Wild zone. Graovac gave the Wild a 2-1 lead at 14:19, and Haula made it 3-1 at 18:22, with Granlund picking up an assist for his third point of the period. Scandella pushed the lead to 4-1 at 8:03 in the second period. Lowry scored to make it 4-2 at 9:42 before White made it 5-2 at 13:19. Perreault scored at 17:37 to make it 5-3. Wild defenseman Ryan Suter did not play after the first period. He was boarded by Jets defenseman Paul Postma at 14:54.

* Haula drew two Jets defenders deep in Winnipeg's zone while Zucker jumped off the bench on a line change and joined the rush. Haula made his pass through both defenders to Zucker, who was alone in front.
* Granlund has nine points (five goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak and has 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in his past 22 games. … Laine has 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in a six-game point streak. … The Jets have allowed three goals or more in 22 of their past 27 games.

Jets Quotes
"Every game matters so much now. To lose it in the last two minutes is tough." Scheifele said.
"It's not always fair in this league, I guess. I wouldn't say that we grossly outplayed them and deserved a better fate. You got to take some positives out of the fact that we battled back from a couple of deficits. We would have liked to at least get that to overtime." Blake Wheeler said.
"Turn the puck over in the offensive zone, first goal. Second goal we touched it three times in our end of the ice. Third one's a power-play goal. Fourth one we touched it twice in our end of the ice. So when you've got the puck on your stick you need to move to break out into position. And we turned the pucks over. It wasn't a matter of it rattling around on us. It was, we had it, they took it, we gave it to them and they put it quickly into the back of the net." Paul Maurice

Wild Quotes
"Backhand, no-look through two guys, it was an unbelievable pass. That was pretty impressive."
"That wasn't an excuse for us. We had that game and we gave it back to them, let them back into the game too many times. That's not the way we want to play but we're happy to come away with two points."
Zucker said.
"It's fun. Every single game you're playing with good players and you're going to work hard, and we work hard. We've been getting results and that's fun, but there's still lots of season left and let's keep going." Mikael Granlund

NHL - San Jose Sharks @ Winnipeg Jets 3-2 - Monday, March 06, 2017

Joe Pavelski scored two goals, and Joe Thornton became the 13th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 assists to help the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Thornton reached the milestone with an assist on Pavelski's empty-net goal to make it 3-1 with 26 seconds left in the third period. Pavelski's 23rd goal became the game-winner after Jets center Mark Scheifele scored to pull the Jets within 3-2 with seven seconds remaining. The Sharks (39-19-7), who are 6-1-2 in their past nine games, are seven points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.
San Jose goalie Aaron Dell made 31 saves. Hellebuyck made 27 saves in his 12th straight start for the Jets (30-31-6), who are three points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Pavelski gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 9:45 of the first period. Morrissey tied it 1-1 at 11:27. Joel Ward tried to clear the puck out of the Sharks zone, but Morrissey was able to keep it in at the blue line, and his slap shot from the point beat Dell high to the glove side. Mikkel Boedker put the Sharks up 2-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at 7:26 of the third period.

* Logan Couture disrupted a pass by forward Patrik Laine in the Sharks zone with the Jets on the power play, allowing Boedker to chip the puck past a diving Jacob Trouba. The play resulted in a breakaway for Boedker, who beat Hellebuyck to the blocker side.
* Hellebuyck made back-to-back saves, including a spectacular blocker stop on Melker Karlsson at 9:44 of the first period, but Pavelski scored on the rebound.
Sharks Bites
"Honestly, I've been lucky enough to stay healthy all these years and play with a lot of good scorers. For a passer, that's probably the key. It's just having the Jonathan Cheechoos, the Glen Murrays, the Joe Pavelskis, you know, the Patty Marleaus. The list goes on and on and on. The guys that I've played with over the years have put the puck in the back of the net, so I've been lucky to be set up with those guys."
"It's always nice to get these things [1,000th NHL assist] when you get the two points and you can have some fun on the plane on the way home." Thornton said.
"That was a big win for us. This time of year, every point is key, so I think we needed to have a good answer from last night (a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild)." Dell said.
"It's going to be a happy plane ride back, for sure. I think for all of us the rest is going to be big. It feels like it's been awhile since we've been able to have a couple at home. We've got to take advantage of these games when we get back. We got to bring that road mentality. Just playing simple, playing Sharks hockey." Brenden Dillon
Jets Quotes
"We played hard. We did a lot of the right things. I mean, this time of year, it comes down to little bounces and those little details in games. Obviously, we would have liked to close it out the right way in the third." said Josh Morrissey
"You go into the third period tied 1-1 at home, you like your chances, but unfortunately we weren't able to close it out tonight." Adam Lowry

NHL - St Louis Blues @ Minnesota Wild 2-1- Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Jake Allen made 32 saves, and the St. Louis Blues won their second consecutive game, 2-1 against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.
It was the first game for Mike Yeo as coach of the Blues against the Wild, who he coached for five seasons. Yeo was fired by Minnesota on Feb. 13, 2016, and replaced Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis on Feb. 1. The Blues (33-27-5), 7-3-0 in their past 10 road games, played the finale of a three-game trip. They are three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

The Wild (42-16-6) are 12-5-1 in their past 18 games and 7-3-1 in their past 11 home games. They have a one-point lead on the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. David Perron tipped in a shot at 10:24 of the first period for a 1-0 Blues lead, and Vladimir Tarasenko made it 2-0 at 11:03 of the third with his 29th goal. Mikko Koivu spoiled Allen's bid for his second consecutive shutout when his shot from the neutral zone bounced in to make it 2-1 with 10.5 seconds remaining.

* Perron redirected Colton Parayko's shot from the point past goalie Devan Dubnyk for his 13th goal, third in his past 29 games.
* Jaden Schwartz sent a behind-the-back pass to Tarasenko for his one-timer goal.

Blues Quotes
"I think everyone sacrificed a lot tonight, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy playing the top team in the League. Every game for us right now is crucial. It's a little different story for them. They're pretty solidified in the playoffs, and for us right now every game, every point matters, so that was a big one for us."
"Koivu owes me a beer for that. It took a real bad hop left on me. Anyway, those happen." Allen said.
"Don't give up on us. We're still building. We're still trying to find our way. It's a new group of leadership, it's a new group of players. Although as an organization we've done great things the last several years, it's this group that's trying to carve out our own identity and our own culture, and tonight was a good step." Mike Yeo Said.

Wild Quotes
"I'd be lying if it didn't feel pretty good, but in all honesty, we wanted this one for our group. We had a chance to wrap up a road trip in a real positive way and we have a lot of respect for that team over there and knew that if we could come in and win this game it would be a real boost for us as a group." Yeo said.
"You could see there was no energy [from us]. I could tell from the first two minutes of the game that we didn't have a lot of jump or pizzazz or whatever the word is." Bruce Boudreau said.
"We definitely made it too easy for [Blues goale Jake Allen]. We didn't get enough traffic in front of his net. That's partly my fault. I have to make sure the big guys like myself, [Charlie Coyle] and [Chris Stewart], we have to make sure we get in front of their net and screen the goalie." Nino Niederreiter