Albert Vishnyakov (left) celebrates his game-winning goal for Beibarys Atyrau against the Odense Bulldogs. Photo: Max Pattis
Vishnyakov scores in OT to give Kazakhs first win
Third time was a charm: Beibarys Atyrau went to overtime again but this time the Kazakh champion won, 3-2 against the Odense Bulldogs in the Continental Cup.
Both Maxim Korobov’s game-tying goal and Albert Vishnyakov’s overtime winner came in the last minute of the period and destroyed the Danes’ hopes of winning the 2017 IIHF Continental Cup.
“I think we were the strongest team here but didn’t have enough luck. We haven’t lost a single game in regulation time. We should be hoisting the trophy now but were not lucky enough,” Beibarys Atyrau head coach Alexander Istomin said.
“It’s the best result in the Continental Cup in Kazakh hockey history. I’m proud of the players and what they accomplished for the city of Atyrau and for Kazakhstan.”
The outcome is much according to the favour of host club Ritten Sport and its fans. With a regulation-time win against the Nottingham Panthers the Italian champion could win the tournament. However, the Panthers have been undefeated here and just need a win or a regulation-time tie to claim the IIHF Continental Cup title. In any case it will be a first since no team of the two countries has ever won the Continental Cup.
The Odense Bulldogs capitalized on a good start with one shot and one goal in the opening minute. After just 48 seconds Robin Sterner ended a quick attack of his line with the opening marker for his team. A few minutes later Dale Mitchell had a great chance to double the lead on a breakaway but his shot hit goaltender Artyom Mikushin.
But those who thought that Beibarys Atyrau, which was out of contention for first place in the round-robin event, would give up had to learn better. Although Mikkel Nielsen made it 2-0 for the Danes with a shot from the right face-off circle, the Kazakhs managed to find back into the game when it seemed like time was running against them. With 55.3 seconds left in the second period there was a first sign of life when Alexei Ryzhikh’s shot from the blueline went in to cut Odense’s lead to 2-1.
During the third period it was mostly the green team that created chances but like during most of the tournament the lack in scoring efficiency proved to be a crucial issue for Beibarys Atyrau.
The Kazakhs tried everything and eventually with the goalie pulled Korobov scored with 14.7 seconds left to tie the game. It was a minute of bad luck for the Danes after goalie Tadeas Galansky had made many incredible saves and with Rasmus Lyo leaving the ice injured after being hit into the boards.
Both teams had chances to win the game in overtime and it was again Beibarys Atyrau with a last-minute success. Vishnyakov netted the puck with 25.6 seconds left in the extra time to give his team its first win and a chance to finish the event with a medal placing tonight.
“It’s a tough loss but that’s hockey. You just have to focus the whole game,” Mikkel Nielsen said. “It was a tight game but in the third period we were too much under pressure. They were in our zone for 15 minutes and like that we made it too easy for them to win.”