Battle for Minsk won by Traktor

First period
Fans certainly enjoyed the first 20 minutes of the game as the teams brought exciting action on both ends of the rink. First Chistov fired two consecutive shots that made Haugen stretch his legs a bit. Shortly after Dinamo got the power play and had their share of scoring chances, but Mezin kept his sheet clean for a while. Back in full strength, Traktor pulled ahead; Valery Nichushkin turned the puck away, skated throughout the neutral zone and into the attacking one and scored his third KHL goal in a brilliant fashion. Dinamo rushed to try to tie the game right away; Mezin was holding his own until mid-period when Dinamo won a draw, Niskala slapped from the blue line and Mikhalyov was alone on the crease and added the puck into the goal. The home team did not stop at this and quickly seized the lead when Stapleton stormed through the right wing and hit the corner of Mezin’s net. Traktor could have brought the teams back to square one, but Panov and Kontiola could not convert the two-on-one. Traktor got two penalties towards the end of the period, including Kostitsyn’s 2+10 which has become a sad tradition as of late; Mezin was flawless during these troubled times and kept Traktor in the game with his confident play.

Traktor reigned on the ice during the better part of the period. Dinamo was punished with two penalties at the top of the period; this resulted in Karpov’s one-on-one thwarted illegally. Maksim wanted to execute a penalty shot himself, and did just that to tie it up at two. Dinamo did not even have a chance to get frustrated as Dugin caught Haugen off guard, hitting the near corner which a goalie is usually responsible for. Dinamo’s only decent scoring chance of the period came mid-period when Meleshko tried a wrap around, but Traktor’s defensemen were on alert. Visitors kept the pressure on and logically extended their lead; as Yakutsenya was busy with creating heavy traffic for Lars Haugen, Panov hit the far corner of the net. 4:2 on the scoreboard surely made Traktor fans happy as they awaited the third period.

Third period
Both teams were somewhat rolling along in the third period; Dinamo’ shots rarely reached Mezin, thanks in no small part to Traktor’s defensive performance. One minute into the period Panov could seal the deal with a one-on-one; Haugen outplayed Traktor’s forward this time. Visitors were not upset for long; some two minutes later Yakutsenya turned the puck away in the attacking zone and passed it to Antipov who easily hit the empty corner of the net. 5:2, and tonight’s opponents were just finishing the match; despite the lulling pace of the closing moments of the game, there was a moment that stood out – Kuznetsov skated away for a one-on-one and tried to score with the left hand, but Haugen did not allow to be made fool of. One way or the other, Traktor cut the losing streak and climbed to the third spot in Eastern conference rankings.

Stats and details

Dinamo Minsk vs. Traktor – 2:5 (2:1, 0:3, 0:1)

Nichushkin (Glinkin), 8 (0:1); Mikhalyov (Niskala, Stas), 12 (1:1); Stapleton (Murphy, Goroshko), 14 (2:1); Karpov, 28 (2:2 – penalty shot); Dugin (Glinkin), 29 (2:3); Panov, 38 (2:4); Antipov (Yakutsenya), 43 (2:5).

Dinamo (Minsk)
Denisov – Karalahti (C), Platt – Stapleton – Irgl,
Niskala – Krajicek, Meleshko – Kitarov – Kulakov,
Murphy – Goroshko, Laine – Drozd – Pivko,
Mikhalyov – Stas – Lopachuk.

Traktor (Cheyabinsk)
Quint – Ryabykin (A), Chistov (A) – Bulis – Kuznetsov,
Shinin – Vasilchenko, Panov (A) – Kontiola – Yakutsenya,
Katichev – Razin, Kostitsyn – Popov – Antipov (C),
Glinkin – Dugin – Nichushkin,

Penalty Minutes: 
8 (0+4+4) - 24 (16+0+8).
Shots: 33 (23+3+7) - 25 (7+8+10).
Faceoffs Won: 36 (13+15+8) - 29 (12+9+8).
Power Play Goals: 0-0.
Time on Ice: Niskala (25:29), Laine (23:23), Stapleton (21:21) - Ryabykin (25:34), Quint (24:21), Kuznetsov (20:55).

Eduard Odins (Riga, Latvia), Aleksey Anisimov (Moscow).
Linesmen: Roman Shikhanov (Togliatti), Aleksey Mikhel (Saratov).

January 30, 2013. Minsk Arena, Minsk, Belarus. Attendance – 15086.

Photo courtesy of Dinamo Minsk’s Press Office