Sands Go Down, Fighting

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Aries 13, 2078, m249

 Sand's goalie Priya Christensen and Captain Jared Foster - Despite lose their 5th in a row, they played their best match yet.

Sand's goalie Priya Christensen and Captain Jared Foster - Despite lose their 5th in a row, they played their best match yet.

In a highly spirited match, Ruslan Vasiliev scored a hat trick to lead Khimik past the Sands 5 to 3 at Korolev.

With the win, Khimik moves to 3 and 2 and secure a spot in the 2nd stage exhibition that ISMO officials announced earlier in the week.

For the Sands, another loss, but it was their best performance yet.

Early in the game, it looked like the same old Sands.  Alex Yanovna easily netted Khimik's 1st goal from a bounce off the body of the Sands' Mitchell Cruz who was jockeying for net-front position. 

To the Sands' credit, they didn't fold. They responded at the 7 minute mark, and short-handed nonetheless. 

Khimik's power play unit fanned on a shot allowing the Sands' Jared Foster to take the puck and rush up ice and deliver a top shelf goal to tie up the game.  

The Sands continued to push and were eventually rewarded just 5 minutes later as Anthony Xin buried a rebound off an initial save by Khimik goalie Veronica Danilenko to give the Sands the lead 2 -1. 

As the 2nd period started, Khimik's Denis Ivashkin was tagged with a slashing penalty giving the Sands another opportunity, but despite some a few chances, the Sands were unable close the deal.

With just seconds left in that power play, Foster made a last ditch effort by boldly skating up the ramp before the Khimik blue line in an attempt to deliver an aerial pass to teammate, Jessie Andersen. 

Unfortunately, the pass failed to connect with Andersen's outreached stick and was picked up by Khimik's Andrej Petrovyh, as Foster made an awkward crash landing.  This gifted Kihimk with an odd person rush the other way that Ilya Hryc finished with a shot from the point to tie up the game 2-2. 

For the next seven minutes, both teams fought to get the go ahead goal until finally the Rusian Vasiliev show got underway.

At the 24th minute, the Sands' Eric Williams failed to clear the puck in front of the net, instead sending it right to Rusian Vasiliev for a shot past goalie Priya Christensen to put Khimik ahead. 

Just two minutes later, Vasiliev scored again on a redirect of an Andrej Petrovyh shot to make it 4-2. 

With less than a minute before the end of the 2nd period, Vasiliev completed his hat trick when he ripped a wrist shot from the top of the right circle through Christensen's legs to put Khimik up 5 - 2 over the Sands.

With a three goal lead to start the third period, Khimik played to protect the lead using strong puck movement to dominate time of possession which helped neutralize much of the Sands chances.  

At the 41st minute, the Sands finally found an opening as Xin's pass from behind the net found Andersen who banked it in past Veronica Danilenko to narrow the lead to two goals.  

With a few minutes remaining, the Sands deployed all three forwards at once in an attempt to tie up the game. This led to a mad scramble for the Sands.

With under two minutes left, it looked like the Sands would narrow the gap but a Foster shot from the slot rang off the post and that would be as close as the Sands would get. 

"They really pressed us hard at the end," said Khimik Captain Alex Yanovna. "Everyone keeps talking about how bad the Sands were but they were quite good today. If not for Ruslan's hat trick, the outcome may have been different."

"I'm proud of our effort today," said Sands Captain Mitchell Cruz. "We didn't give up and kept the game really close.  Next week will be the last exhibition game for us, so we plan to make the most of it."