Metallurg Magnitogorsk strengthened its position on top of the Eastern Conference with a 5-2 win at old foes Salavat Yulaev.
Denis Platonov did the early damage, shooting Magnitka into a 2-0 lead late in the first period. Salavat’s Igor Mirnov matched that double strike in the second session, but Sergei Mozyakin and Sergei Tereshchenko ensured that the visitor remained out in front. Finally Mozyakin wrapped up the scoring in the 55th minute to set his team six points clear at the top of the conference.
Saturday’s KHL fixtures saw the race to reach the Eastern Conference play-offs tilt in favor of Avangard. The Omsk team romped to a convincing 7-2 win over struggling Dinamo Minsk to move level on points with Traktor Chelyabinsk, which lost 3-5 at home to Neftekhimik.
It took just 18 minutes for Avangard to blow away Minsk’s resistance, romping to a 4-0 lead thanks to goals from Maxim Goncharov, Sergei Kostitsyn, Denis Kazionov and Miroslav Blatak. Kazionov went on to get a second before the end. It was also a winning debut for Swedish international goalie Henrik Karlsson.
In Chelyabinsk, meanwhile, Traktor was unable to rise to the challenge. On Thursday, as news filtered through of Avangard’s win, Traktor raised its game to overcome Salavat Yulaev, but this time Maxim Rybin ensured there was no repeat.
He scored a hat-trick, which added to Petr Koukal’s pair to secure the win for Neftekhimik. Traktor did attempt another fight back, retrieving a 1-3 deficit to tie it up at 3-3, but Rybin took over to steer his team to a win which could have a big impact on the play-off race.
Around the league
Four goals in five minutes either side of the midway point proved to be Barys’ undoing at home to Donbass. Dmitry Kagarlitsky and Ruslan Fedotenko wiped out Cam Barker’s opener for the home team, then Evgeny Dadonov and Randy Robitaille stretched that lead. Donbass eventually won 6-2, Dadonov getting a second late on.
Medvescak’s march on the play-offs continued with a 4-1 win at Ugra. The home side, which had won its previous five games, took an early lead through Alexei Kruchinin, but Michael Ryan and Bill Thomas turned it around before the first interval.