Medveščak returned from a three game roadtrip to face Dynamo Moscow for the second, and last time this season. They, too, had a chance to sweep the season series between the two teams as the Bears beat Dynamo at home after a shootout. Last night, however, a video reviewed goal in overtime by Kaspars Daugavins for Moscow prevented the teams from going to a shootout once more.
“It’s was a pretty tough game.“ said Daugavins. “Good two points, but we should have finished it earlier. We had a lot of scoring chances, but a win is a win“
Martin St. Pierre got the home team on the board first when he pushed the puck across the goal line after it bounced off of traffic in front of Dynamo’s net.
“You got to go to the net to score.“ said Kurtis McLean. “These teams from Russia have a lot of skill offensively and a lot of speed, we got to find a way to slow them down by getting pucks deep, finishing a lot of checks, getting to the net. A good example are these road games we just had. We scored a lot of goals from in front of the net, getting tips in front of the goalie, you can’t get away from that just because you come home and are in front of the fans. It doesn’t have to be pretty, we just have to put the pucks to the net“
Dynamo then tallied twice in a matter of 40 seconds late in the first period to turn things their way.
“They came out really strong, especially the first period.“ said McLean. “They were forechecking well and they were causing turnovers. We were playing in our D-zone, maybe the legs were a bit heavy after that long trip, coming home, and you kind of let your guard down, maybe a little bit when you know you’re at home“
Medveščak, however, put the first period behind them and forced Dynamo’s netminder, Alexandar Sharychenkov to put on a clinic, throwing 14 shots at his net in the second period, out of which two slipped past him.
“The guys regrouped, came out really well in the second, had our legs moving. We had chances, I think we only gave them four shots, kind of swung the momentum our way“ said McLean
“These guys are a very good team, and a team like that is going to come at you some times, and in the second period we took it to them. I don’t know what the shots were but I think we played really well“ said Mark Popovic
Medveščak was ready to take a 3:2 lead to the second intermission, but Maxim Karpov scored his second of the night late in the second to tie things up all over again.
“Second period we outshot them 14-4 and we had about 15 hits. It’s tough to keep up that type of pace with such a skilled hockey club. I’m telling you, they’ve got skill. Probably the best team of unknown players in the league“ said Doug Shedden
The teams then entered the final period all tied up at 3:3. Medveščak had a bit more than a minute left on the powerplay, but shortly after found itself in a 5-on-3 situation, which the Bears’ shorthanded unit killed off well.
“In the third period it was a pretty even game right through. They had chances, we had chances, powerplays back and forth“ said McLean
“Both sides played a pretty good powerplay, and both goalies had a lot of great saves. You have to put teams behind when you’re on the powerplay a lot“ said Daugavins
After 60 minutes, the score was tied at 3:3, and the teams went to overtime. One minute and 36 seconds into the extra frame, Pascal Pelletier took a, least to say, stupid retaliation penalty that ended up costing Medveščak the game. Kaspars Daugavins got a bouncing puck past Heeter, but the puck stopped around the goal line, which lead the officials to review the goal. It was, then, indeed a good goal.
“Unfortunately, maybe it was a questionable call in overtime, or however they see it, but it puts them on the powerplay, 4-on-3, you got a good chance to score and they do. In the end, we’re and we’ll be happy with one point, but we’re disappointed right now we didn’t get more“ said McLean
“I thought we played a great game today.“ said Popovic. “It’s one of the top teams in the league, they’ve been one of the top teams for years. We played really well, but a 4-on-3 is a tough situation to kill. They got a sneaky little goal in, but I think that every guy in our room is proud of what we did tonight. It’s hockey, it goes in waves, and it’s how you manage them. We absorbed them well, came back and we got an important point tonight. You never want to lose but we gained a point. When you play a team that’s ahead of you, in hockey we call it a six point game, and that’s a huge one for us. We’re still going for the playoffs“
“What a skilled hockey club.“ said Shedden. “A fun team to watch play. The way they can skate and move the puck. I’m very proud the way our team played. We’ve been playing hard, certainly since the New Year we’ve been in every game. We’re really working hard and sacrificing, we’re all doing the right things. I thought we played a great game. We hung right with them right till the end. I’m really disappointed with the guys that officiated the game, but we can’t go there, we know that. I feel we’ve been robbed tonight. Billy Thomas gets hooked on a scoring chance in the second period, no penalty, and then to give a penalty like that, give them a 5-on-3 in the third period, to call that one in overtime. It’s makes you wonder, it makes you really wonder, but that’s life in the KHL. We got a big point, we’ll take that point, we moved up a point on Torpedo, so we got to like at that like a positive“
Medveščak played a great game throughout the second and third period, and one can’t say they didn’t deserve that second point. The team was battling hard, playing very physical with a lot of grit, finishing their checks and blocking shots. McLean’s, Segal’s and Wright’s line lead the team in hits, and the effect was noticable.
“Some days when you’re not feeling the puck, or it’s not going your way, you got to find a different way to help the team, and with a team like Moscow, with so much speed, you got to finish your checks to slow them down.“ said McLean. “We kind of took it upon ourselves, our line with Wrighter and Seegs to make sure we get it in deep and finish our checks as hard as we can, maybe get a little life for the guys, and who knows, maybe that’s what got us going in the second. For the most part, a lot of guys were throwing checks around from the second period on, and that was the difference for us“
“We got to play desperate, continue the way we’ve been playing on the road, the way we’ve been playing since Christmas time.“ said Shedden. “This team is battling, we’re playing our best hockey of the year right now. I’m pretty proud of the way we’re working. We’re working hard, we’re doing all the right things and Calvin’s coming up with some good saves for us“
Despite a loss, Medveščak moved up by one point and closed the gap on eight-placed Torpedo by seven points.
“Let’s look at the positive, this team is still in the hunt, we’re a lot closer than we were two weeks ago. We’re seven points out now, we have a chance“ said Shedden
“I always want to win, that’s what I’m paid to do.“ said Popovic. “Until this point, we didn’t get 3/3 or 2/3 points tonight, but I’m proud of all the guys in there. Heeter played great, guys were blocking shots, playing playoff hockey. It’s a formula that if we follow most nights, we’re going to win. That’s why we’re here and that’s our goal. Every game is important. We got an important point and we’ll play again in two days. “
“It’s never a give up mentality in there, even when we’ve lost a few in a row in December, it was never “we’re out of this, let’s just finish the season and get home“, it’s not our mentality, it’s not how we’re bred.“ said McLean. “The guys always play hard. It’s a North American kind of style, mentality. We’re taught to play the same way every night, but some nights just don’t go your way. Most of the time if you can play your game, you’re going to be in the game for 60 minutes, you’re going to have a chance to win, and that’s kind of what’s been going on since right after Christmas. We’ve been playing our style, Heeter in net is making his stops, we’re getting backcheckers, we’re making smart decisions, we’ve only given up for points in the last five games. It’s something we got to build on, we see the light at the end of the tunnel with the playoffs looming in. We don’t like losing so we’re going to give it all we have right till the end and see if we can make a push for it. There’s a lot of teams that we’re chasing in the upcoming games, those are six point swings, and there is definitely an opportunity for us to make the playoffs and I think the guys feel the confidence that we can do it“
The elephant in the room after the game was Pelletier’s penalty in overtime.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid, idiotic, selfish, what other words do you want me to say for it?“ said Shedden. “This time of the game, you’re in overtime.. Take a penalty like he did in overtime, we can’t have that, that’s selfish play. These games you got to take a punch to the head and move on. You can’t retaliate, can’t do anything. He got away with one, then he did with two, and then he crosschecked. To me, he just let down the whole organisation, plus all his team mates“
Whether he would be fined, Shedden said that would be discussed behind closed doors.
“I’ll keep that inside the room, we’ll discuss that.“