On a day when the hockey world is rife with speculation about the future for several NHL stars, it was the KHL’s underdogs who showed their teeth. Big-name clubs Ak Bars, Salavat Yulaev, Avangard and CSKA all went down to defeats against unheralded opposition, while SKA St. Petersburg lost out in the main game of the day in Magnitogorsk.
Mozyakin steels Magnitka
The clash of the titans in Magnitogorsk went the way of the home side, with Metallurg beating SKA St. Petersburg 4-3 in an entertaining encounter. The home side never trailed, but twice saw SKA equalize before Sergei Mozyakin and Alexei Kaigorodov opened up a 4-2 lead in the final period. As SKA whipped up a final storm, Patrick Thoresen scored in a 6v5 play, but there was no time for a dramatic last-second leveler to force overtime.
Magnitka’s win banishes memories of its slow start to the campaign, while SKA’s three-game winning run was abruptly halted by Paul Maurice’s men.
Army Men halted in Minsk
Big-spending CSKA went down to its second defeat of the season, losing 3-1 at Dinamo Minsk in front of a crowd of almost 15,000. Although Igor Radulov cancelled out Alexander Kitarov’s opener, the home side had too much on the night and goals from Dmitry Meleshko and Teemu Laine brought back-to-back wins to Belarus for the first time in this campaign.
Barys battles to first win
Barys Astana came from behind twice to snap a four-game losing streak and finally manage its first win of the season. Salavat Yulaev was the victim, despite taking the lead through Oleg Saprykin in the tenth minute and again through Igor Mirnov at the end of the second period. But Barys struck twice in 45 seconds midway through the third session, with Nigel Dawes tying the game at 2-2 before Talgat Zhailauov got the winner.
Oskar’s a winner
Oskar Osala produced a man-of-the-match display for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk to inspire his team to a 6-2 win at Avangard Omsk. The Finnish forward scored twice and added an assist in Neftekhimik’s comprehensive win. The visitors opened up a 3-0 lead early in the third period, and although Avangard – which had 50 shots on Maxim Sokolov’s goal – pulled back two in quick succession, there was no way back into the game.
Biryukov defies Ak Bars
Yugra goalie Mikhail Biryukov made 45 saves as his team skated to a 2-0 win in Khanty-Mansiysk. His heroics between the pipes were backed up by goals from Vitaly Sitnikov (33:59) and Linus Videll (59:49) as the home side recorded its first win of the season at the fourth attempt.
It was a good day for the league’s newcomers, with Slovan Bratislava and Lev Prague both picking up road wins. Slovan eased to a 3-0 success at Vityaz Chekhov. The scoring was all done by the halfway point, with Libor Hudacek, Michel Vondrka and Jan Lipiansky doing the damage. The latest “tough guy” to come to Chekhov, Trevor Gillies, lived up to his reputation by picking up 19 penalty minutes in an incident shortly after the third goal.
Lev needed a shoot-out to overcome Severstal Cherepovets, with Juraj Mikus (#71 forward, not toi be confused with his namesake and teammate, #66 defenseman) getting the key goal following a 2-2 tie. The win makes it four from five for the KHL’s first Czech representative so far this season.
Donbass Donetsk, meanwhile also went to a shoot-out following a 2-2 tie at home to Sibir Novosibirsk. Evgeny Dadonov’s equalizer with just under five minutes to play earned the Ukrainians one point, but in the end Donbass could not make it a winning treble for this season’s newcomers, with Jonas Enlund giving Sibir the verdict in the shoot-out.