Vityaz is putting up a good case for being the KHL’s most improved team of 2013-14, and Tuesday’s battling shoot-out win at Ak Bars underlined the progress that has been made in Podolsk this term.
Facing the Eastern Conference leader is often a daunting task, especially after conceding three goals in the first 30 minutes. But this season’s Vityaz is not easily deterred, and Anton Korolyov struck twice to cut the deficit before the second interval.
The fightback was complete in the third, with Gleb Klimenko and Vyacheslav Solodukhin making it 4-3 to the visitor before Evgeny Bodrov spared the home team’s blushes and forced overtime. But the same player found himself in the sin-bin as Ak Bars was left hanging on during the extras, and Dmitry Shitikov got the only goal of the shoot-out to add to his two assists in regulation time.
Vityaz moves to 31 points, just one point outside a play-off spot in a Western Conference log-jam which sees three points separating fourth from 12th. Ak Bars remains on top in the East.