Recently, I had an exchange on twitter with a Mr. Ian Mcleod.
Ian is a KHL enthusiast who is originally from Glasgow in Scotland. However, he has been living in Slovakia for the last 11 years.
His passion and support for his adopted team of Slovan Bratislava HC is a reflection of my relationship with Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik HC.
These two teams were set to play each other in Nizhnekamsk and I was in attendance.
Ian agreed to tell us about himself and his favourite KHL club.
Ian explains: 11 years ago, my partner’s aunt took me to Slovan’s old stadium to look around. I found a puck and took it home as a souvenir. The first game I saw there was Slovan vs Nitra in the Slovak League. The atmosphere was electric and, at the time, Slovan were unbeatable. I’ve been in the V.I.P. section and got to meet the staff and cheerleaders. I love the team because I love the people. I feel at home in Slovakia. It’s a great place for food, travel and entertainment. Vienna is very near and the Czech Republic is next door. The history of the country is interesting and the people love hockey.
I’m looking forward to the game against Nizhnekamsk. May the best team win … which will be Slovan!
Just seconds before the national anthems were played to formally begin proceedings for Neftekhimik vs Slovan, Nizhnekamsk’s house band, Crazy Wolves, treated us to a guitar rendition of the Imperial March from Star Wars. It was time for action!
The first period was goalless. However, both teams looked tough. Most of the possession stayed with Slovan. The Neftekhimik goalkeeper Andrei Makarov was under intense pressure, but handled it calmly, making a number of crucial saves.
There were sporadic moments of attack from the Wolves but none that resulted in a goal.
It was easy to admit that Slovan looked the stronger team after the end of the first period.
A referee was slightly injured after 16 minutes after he was squashed into the side barrier by 2 players.
Luckily, the referee shook it off and continued with his duties, resulting in a cheer of approval and respect from the fans.
There was a slight altercation and unpleasant words exchanged between Neftekhimik’s Andrei Nestrasil and Slovan’s Adam Yenoshik. Both players were sent to the penalty box for 2 minutes.
The goals started flying in during the second period. Slovan took the lead with the first goal of the evening scored by Zhiga Yeglish.
During the ‘Kiss Cam’ segment, Neftekhimik star Andrei Sergeiev was shown in the crowd. After he kissed his significant other, I found out Andrei wasn’t playing because of a hand injury.
After 11 minutes of the second period there was a little bit of fighting and helmet grabbing by Slovan’s number 31 Lukan Klok and Neftekhimik’s number 61 Marat Khairullin.
The second Slovan goal was scored by Mikal Rzhepik during a 4 to 3 Slovan powerplay advantage.
However, there was some hope for Neftekhimik when Juuso Puustinen scored to make it 2-1.
Just 90 seconds later, Neftekhimik’s bubble of hope was burst when the American Jeff Taffe scored for Slovan.
The score was now 3-1, and it remained so at the end of the second period.
At the beginning of the third period the Crazy Wolves band tried to give Neftekhimik some inspiration and motivation in musical form when they played snippets of Smoke on the Water and Smells Like Teen Spirit.
This didn’t seem to have the desired effect.
3 minutes before the end of the game there was a HUGE FIST FIGHT between Neftekhimik’s Joonas Nattinen and Slovan’s Adam Janosik. It was Nattinen’s first fight since playing in the KHL. The referees let them go at it for a while and some heavy punches were thrown. Both players skated off without any serious injuries.
Once the game clock started counting down again, it was a few seconds until Adam Polashek scored for Neftekhimik. It was too little too late as Slovan were the better team on this night.
The final score …
Slovan Bratislava 3
Ian Mcleod added: The 3rd period was full of passion and it could have gone to Overtime. The 2nd period was ALL Slovan. They played some really good hockey and played like the team I knew they could be.
The Wolves of Nizhnekamsk may have been hungry, but the Eagles of Bratislava swooped down from the sky and grabbed the victory.
A big thank you to Ian for enjoying this game with me. At least one of us was happy with the result.
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