Hockey fans were treated on Monday to a marquee matchup in the KHL between Jon Mirasty and Trevor Gillies. The two longtime pugilists did not disappoint as they squared off at center ice early in the first period of the game between Vityaz Chekhov and Barys Astana.
When they finally came together, Mirasty missed with his initial jersey grab, giving Gillies a major advantage -- an advantage that Gillies would not let go to waste. Mirasty proceeded to eat a slew of left hooks from Gillies, with the final one sending Mirasty crashing to the ice.
It took Mirasty quite a few seconds to regain his senses and get back to his feet, and even then he almost fell again as he was skating to the penalty box.
The game in general was a lot closer than its lone scrap and it took a shootout to determine a winner as Vityaz came out on top by a 3-2 score.
The KHL today released a 13 minute-long video previewing the match up. The video includes interviews with both Mirasty and Gillies, as well as with Gillies' teammate Jeremy Yablonski. The commentary throughout is in Russian, but both combatants were mic’d up and many clips from warm-up and the game are featured.
The festivities in Binghamton began about midway through the first period after Mark Borowiecki sent a Crunch player tumbling awkwardly into the end boards. Jared Nightingale was first to respond to the scene of the crime and the two had a quick tussle. Both combatants would fight again before the night was through: Nightingale squared off with Hugh Jessiman early in the second, while Borowiecki went after Jean-Philippe Cote in the third.
The pugilistic highlight of the game came midway through the second period when goaltenders Robin Lehner and Riku Helenius squared off at the B-Sens’ blue line. The fight was the end result of a scrum in Binghamton’s goal crease that began after a couple Crunch players crashed Lehner’s net. Lehner was buried under multiple bodies and came up steaming after Richard Panik gave him an extra jab to the melon, prompting the Finnish Helenius to make his way down from the other end of the ice and engage the Swedish Lehner.
While some NHLers have signed contracts across Europe, the AHL will offer the most familiar hockey most NHL fans are used to watching.
The AHL was very stable in the off-season. There were no team changes, all 30 franchises remained in tact and where they were.
In an interesting twist Norfolk will be entering the season with a 28-game winning streak — but most of that team will now be in Syracuse.