MOSCOW, Russia – The Dubuque Fighting Saints took the ice for their first action of the 2013-2014 season and opened their trip to Russia with a 4-1 loss to CSKA Red Army in exhibition play Friday afternoon. The contest was Dubuque’s first overseas and the club’s lone contest in Moscow prior to their departure for Omsk this evening to prepare for the 2013 Junior Club World Cup which begins this weekend.
Friday’s exhibition contest was played at the Red Army Arena and was Dubuque’s first game of the year only a week after assembling for the team’s first practice. The contest was also new Head Coach and General Manager Matt Shaw’s first game behind the bench for Dubuque.
The teams traded chances in the first period. Dubuque’s Max McHugh had a pair of quality opportunities for the Fighting Saints but was turned aside on a shot from the slot and a redirect attempt. CSKA Red Army was awarded all three powerplays in the opening period and finally struck for the game’s opening goal. The Red Army tallied on the man advantage at 18:31 of the first period on a shot from the left wing that snuck past Arthur Brey’s arm.
The Red Army carried the momentum into the game’s second period when they added to their lead on a scramble in front of the goal. The puck slide under Brey’s pad and CSKA Red Army took a 2-0 lead. Dubuque again had numerous chances but was unable to convert. The Fighting Saints had a golden opportunity just over six minutes into the second period, but Shane Eiserman’s shot from the slot was disrupted by the Red Army backcheck. CSKA took the puck back the other way breaking into the Dubuque zone on a three-on-two. The Dubuque defense broke up the original pass attempt, but the puck slid free to the trailing CSKA player on the left wing who fired a shot into the open right side of the net to make it 3-0.
The Fighting Saints continued to press in the middle frame. Brett Boeing had the team’s best chance, streaking in on a breakaway after a beautiful up ice pass from Alexx Privitera, but fired a shot high and wide of the net. The Fighting Saints got a few key stops from goalie Christian Frey, who replaced Brey, as scheduled by the coaching staff prior to the game, just over halfway through the middle frame.
Dubuque’s continued pressure resulted in their first powerplays of the game late in the second period, including the Russian team receiving a five-minute major penalty and an ejection when Dubuque’s Seamus Malone was headbutted in the middle of the ice during a heated moment.
The major penalty carried over into the third period, and Dubuque mounted puck possession and pressure during the lengthy powerplay. However, it would again be the Red Army that would strike. Dubuque lost the puck in their own zone and CSKA got a breakaway that was perfectly finished with a wrist shot over the blocker of Frey to make the score 4-0.
Dubuque finally found the scoresheet on a powerplay with just under nine minutes remaining in the game. With the man advantage, the Fighting Saints worked the puck off the left side half boards back to the left point. Seamus Malone accepted the pass and walked in off the blueline, letting a slapshot go that found its way over the netminder’s glove to make it 4-1.
The Fighting Saints travel to Omsk, Russia tonight. The team will participate in the 2013 Junior Club World Cup against some of the world’s best. The team’s first game is Sunday, August 25 against Latvia’s HC Riga. Puck drop is slated for 2 a.m. Central Standard Time. The game can be heard on Dubuque’s Super Hits 106.1 FM and superhits106.com. Fans can follow the team on the Fighting Saints Facebook page, facebook.com/FightingSaints and on the club’s exclusive Russia website,
www.DubuqueFightingSaints.com/russia. The Fighting Saints trip to Russia is presented in part by American Trust, Kwik Stop and Dairy Queen, and Mark & Cheryl Falb.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)