DONETSK – After a narrow 1-0 loss to Donetsk, Metallurg Zhlobin reacted with a 3-1 victory against defending Continental Cup champion Rouen Dragons on Saturday.
The decision came in the second period when the Belarusians scored three unanswered goals into the net of French national goalie Fabrice Lhenry.
“I’m glad for the victory and grateful how my team managed to play this game,” said Metallurg Zhlobin head coach Vasili Spiridonov. “We were in a difficult situation after a tough game against Donbass. The way we played we proved that we can win games except for the third period where we lost focus and conceded a goal.”
After a mostly non-eventful first period, Metallurg Zhlobin took the reins in the second. It was the first line that opened the scoring. Kirill Brikun received the puck at the red line, skated into the Dragons’ zone where he beat Lhenry through the five-hole.
The third line took care of the rest of the business in the second period. 85 seconds after the first goal, Vyacheslav Andryushenko made it 2-0 and forced Rouen coach Rodolphe Garnier to use his time-out.
However, the Rouen Dragons had only few shots despite two power-play opportunities and the second man advantage didn’t exactly end in the French’s favour.
With 20 seconds left, Nikita Remezov made it a three-goal lead going into the third period. He scored the shorthanded goal after a great pass from the left side from Alexei Yeremin.
“We lost our focus in the second period and started to make mistakes we didn’t do in the first and we didn’t move the legs,” Rouen coach Rodolphe Garnier said. “They started to play more aggressively and we were not ready to react.”
With the final buzzer approaching, the Rouen Dragons gained hope with François-Pierre Guénette’s third goal of the tournament. Marc-André Thinel successfully battled for the puck at the side boards, skated toward the crease and sent a drop pass to Guénette, who capitalized on the opportunity.
The Rouen Dragons tried to gain momentum but didn’t manage to beat Metallurg goalie Dmitri Milchakov once again.
After the Belarusians’ victory, both Metallurg Zhlobin and the Rouen Dragons remain in the race to win the Continental Cup.
Metallurg Zhlobin’s protest dismissed
The tournament directorate dismissed a protest filed by Metallurg Zhlobin against the score of Game 2 that Donbass Donetsk won 1-0 against Metallurg Zhlobin on Saturday noon.
Donbass Donetsk and the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine registered Randy Robitaille before the deadline of 14 days before the tournament although he played a game for his old club, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, 12 days before the start of the event. The player registration of Robitaille was approved by the participating teams one day before the start of the event, and Metallurg Zhlobin approved the player being on the line-up one hour before the start of the respective game.
However, a few minutes before the start of the game during the opening ceremony, Metallurg Zhlobin informed IIHF representatives that the player may be ineligible. After discussions with both clubs, the player was pulled from the game at the start of the second period out of precaution and was not part of the game anymore when Donbass Donetsk scored the only goal of the game.
Taking into consideration the facts and in accordance with IIHF Bylaw 406 2.1, the tournament directorate decided by five to one vote to keep the score of the game and declare Randy Robitaille ineligible for the remainder of the tournament.