Spartak’s troubles continued with a heavy 0-6 defeat against Moscow rival Dynamo to wrap up the 2013 KHL program.
The Red-and-Whites, rocked by financial problems following the demise of major sponsor InvestBank, found themselves on the end of a second six-goal salvo in five days in front of their home fans at Sokolniki.
And if the first of those games, against Magnitogorsk, remained competitive until the second period, today’s derby clash was effectively over by the first interval. Dynamo, defending champion and leader of the current KHL table, was in no mood for some holiday compassion and three goals in six minutes from Alexander Ryazantsev, Yury Babenko and Denis Mosalyov ensured that the visiting fans could begin their New Year celebrations early.
The visitor’s dominance was so great that goalie Alexander Sharychenkov made just 18 saves to record his shut-out. Meanwhile, in ominous news for the rest of the league, Dynamo has finished the year with 11 unanswered goals in away games at Medvescak and Spartak, suggesting Oleg Znarok’s men are in no mood to part with the Gagarin Cup they’ve won for the past two seasons.
Ak Bars edges Donbass verdict
Veteran d-man Ilya Nikulin has long had the reputation as a gamebreaker, and he delivered once again in Ak Bars’ 2-1 success at Donbass. A reliable member of special teams for club and country, it was another characteristic piledriver from the blue line which set up Dmitry Obukhov’s game-winner on the powerplay in the 25th minute.
Earlier Janne Pesonen had given the Kazan team the lead, only for fellow Finn Tuomas Kiiskinen to level it up within minutes. But the victory went to the Eastern Conference leader, while Donbass will hope the New Year break can revive its challenge for a top-four placing in the West.
Goals galore for Traktor
Traktor traveled to Severstal for a game between two teams which failed to score in their previous games – and promptly took the verdict in a 10-goal thriller.
Severstal dug in, recovering to 2-4 by the second interval, and threatening a dramatic comeback when Vadim Berdnikov made it 4-5 with four minutes left to play. That was as good as it got, though: just seven seconds after goalie Ivan Kasutin was withdrawn, Alexei Vasilchenko found the empty net to secure a much-needed win for Traktor.
Loko derails Magnitka streak
Francis Pare continued his hot streak for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, scoring on Lokomotiv in the second minute to make it three games in a row where he has hit the net.
This time, though, his team was not on its way to another victory. Sergei Plotnikov tied it up in the second, and Sergei Konkov put Loko ahead in the 38th minute. An empty-net goal for Jonas Holos sealed a 3-1 win for the Yaroslavl team, shunting Magnitka’s impressive run into the sidings.
Around the league
Medvescak Zagreb recovered from the hockey lesson handed out by Dynamo two days ago to romp to victory over Vityaz. Three quick-fire goals midway through the second period opened up a 4-0 lead and sent 15,000 home fans at Arena Zagreb into raptures. Mike Glumac, Michael Ryan and Charles Linglet did the damage in the space of three minutes, and although an impressive goal from Airat Ziazov gave Vityaz something to cheer the final score was 4-2 to the hosts.
Slovan Bratislava wrapped up a much-improved month with a 3-1 win at Dinamo Riga. The Slovaks made it five wins from eight games thanks to Michal Vondrka, who opened the scoring with a penalty shot and got an assist on Michel Miklik’s goal. Juraj Mikus also found the net as Dinamo slumped to a second home defeat in 24 hours.
Dinamo Minsk ended a five-game losing streak in fine style, thumping Torpedo 4-0. The game was settled in the second period, as two goals for Alexander Materukhin and another for Alexander Kitarov added to Tomas Surovy’s early marker. Kevin Lalande made 25 saves, but Dinamo remains rooted to the foot of the Western Conference.