Lokomotiv Yaroslavl played its first KHL game on home ice since last year’s tragedy – but a sell-out crowd saw their heroes beaten 2-1 by Atlant Moscow Region.
An emotional pre-match build-up, culminating in the club’s new tradition of sounding a bell three times before the national anthem, inspired Loko to a good start and fittingly it was one of the club’s young players who scored the first goal of the evening. Daniil Apalkov was on the spot to turn home Staffan Kronwall’s shot from the blue line, opening the scoring on 15:23.
But there was little to choose between the sides going into the game, and Atlant recovered to take the points in the final session. With the home side trying to press on a powerplay, Maxim Trunyov lost possession in center ice and Igor Ignatushkin took advantage to tie the scores in the 46th minute. Then, on 53:30 Nikolai Zherdev exchanged passes with Andreas Engqvist before making it 2-1.
Jan’s got the power
Traktor Chelyabinsk took full advantage of Dynamo’s indiscretions – and Jan Bulis grabbed two of three powerplay goals in a 4-1 win over the defending champion. Bulis opened the scoring on 7:17, forcing the puck home in the slot on a 5v3 powerplay before Maxim Yakutseniya doubled the lead on 8:00. Dmitry Pestunov pulled one back for the Muscovites, but after Evgeny Kuznetsov got Traktor’s third – with an assist from Bulis – the Czech forward made the most of another 5v3 situation to complete the scoring.
The game was particularly special for Traktor’s head coach Valery Belousov as he took his place behind the bench for his 1175th top-flight encounter – edging ahead of Viktor Tikhonov to become the most experienced coach in Russian hockey.