Ilya Samsonov Wins in Relief on Friday the Thirteenth


When the Caps drafted Russian goaltender Ilya Samsonov in the first-round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, they did so with the hope that he would develop into their goalie of the future. Throughout this season, he has played fantastic, and last night was no exception.

On Friday, January 13, 2016, the Kontinental Hockey Leaague’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk played HC Spartak Moscow at home. The game did not start off well for Metallurg, as they were down 2-0 after the first period, thanks to goals by Spartak’s Sergei Shmelyov and Alexander Vasilyev. Things looked even worse after the first intermission when Metallurg gave up a third goal just over a minute into the first period when Igor Mirnov scored for Spartak.

At that point, Spartak had scored three goals on just eight shots, Metallurg Head Coach Ilya Vorobiov decided to switch goalies, removing the starting goalie, Vasily Koshechkin, and replacing him with Samsonov. This would be Samsonov’s first game played for Metallurg Magnitogorsk since December 8, as he had taken a break from the team to play with Team Russia in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, where he had helped Russia win the Bronze Medal.

Samsonov faced a challenging situation only about a minute after entering the game, when Metallurg Magnitogorsk was called for a major penalty.Artyom Zhelezkov head-butted an opponent and was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct, resulting in an ejection from the game. Fortunately, Samsonov and the Metallurg penalty killers performed well, and Spartak did not score during the extended power play. Only ten seconds after the major penalty was killed, Sergei Mozyakin, the team’s superstar, scored a goal for Metallurg , ending the shutout. Former Capital Alexander Semin followed with another goal for Metallurg ten minutes later, cutting the deficit to 3-2 which would remain the score after two periods.

The score remained at 3-2 for the first twelve and a half minutes of the third period as well. But the deadlock would be broken, however, as Yaroslav Kosov scored his first goal of the season to even up the score at 3-3. With about two and a half minutes left in regulation, Sergei Mozyakin scored his second goal of the game on a power play to give Metallurg their first lead of the game at 4-3, completing the comeback and earning a victory. This was Mozyakin’s 38th goal of the season, which tied the all-time single season KHL record in goals, formerly held by Steve Moses. Spartak pulled their goalie, and Tomas Filippi scored an empty-net goal with just under a minute to go, giving the home team an insurance goal. Kosov scored his second goal of the game with just two seconds to go as Metallurg Magnitogorsk won the game 6-3 in a game in which they were behind 3-0 at one point, and behind 3-2 with less than half of the last period to go. It was truly a Friday the Thirteenth horror story for Spartak after dominating much of the game.

Samsonov ended up winning the game in relief, stopping all 23 shots he faced, with 16 shots in the second period alone, and weathering a five-minute power play. He now has a 13-1-3 record in twenty games played. His save percentage now sits at .939 and his goals-against average is 1.97.

By Diane Doyle

You can find more about the game here: (KHL Game Story) (Game highlights)

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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