Traktor Chelyabinsk’s talismanic young forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been tearing up defenses in Canada during the World U20 Championships, but back home his team-mates have kept Traktor chugging away at the top of the Eastern Conference. A shoot-out success after a 3-3 tie with Ak Bars made 11 wins in 13 since the first international break of the season. Maxim Yakutsenya got the crucial shoot-out goal, while Konstantin Panov also converted a penalty shot during regulation time. For Ak Bars, forward Danis Zaripov repeated his two-goal performance from Tuesday - and again finished on the losing side.
SKA marches on
SKA St. Petersburg keeps clear at the top of the table after a hard-fought 4-3 win at Atlant Moscow Region. Tony Martensson got the winner on 54:37 after a game which ebbed and flowed in front of a packed house in Mytishchi. That goal came barely two minutes after Janne Niskala had tied the game at three. Earlier veteran Fyodor Fedorov had set up young Viktor Tikhonov for SKA’s opening goal, while Nikolai Zherdev picked up 1+1 to give Atlant a brief lead of its own.
Avangard shocked at home
Basement club Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg knows that 2012 can’t be any worse than 2011 - and showed plenty of New Year’s resolution to shoot down Avangard 3-1 in Omsk. All the goals came in the last period as Denis Osipov, Daniel Nasybullin and Denis Kazionov ended a 10-game losing run.
Torpedo on cloud nine
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod rattled up a 9-1 win at home to Vityaz Chekhov. Dmitry Makarov led the rout with two goals, despite also sitting out a 10-minute penalty for a dangerous challenge. Martin Thornberg’s 1+2 also caught the eye, while Vityaz once again racked up some serious penalty minutes. In the final period four players were handed major penalties as the team totaled 88 PIM for the game.
Barys goaltender Jeff Glass had a busy afternoon in Magnitogorsk, making 30 saves in his team’s 2-1 win over Metallurg. The home side managed 61 goal attempts in total, but only Sergei Mozyakin could find the target. By that time Nigel Dawes and Konstantin Romanov had already given the Kazakh side a two-goal lead, and the visitors held on despite heavy pressure in the third period.
Around the league
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk won an entertaining game 6-3 at Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk - with nine different players sharing the goals between them. Maxim Pestushko got the game-winning goal, stemming a Yugra fightback after the visitors’ 3-0 lead had been pegged back to a single-goal margin.
Spartak’s New Year improvement continued with a second successive shoot-out win, this time at Dinamo Riga. Stefan Ruzicka got the crucial goal after a 1-1 tie; Ivan Kasutin saved 4 penalty shots and 43 in the game.