The two leading teams in the Western Conference both saw big comebacks in Sunday’s games – but while leaders Dynamo Moscow battled back from 0-3 to beat Lokomotiv, SKA let a three-goal cushion slip before losing in a shoot-out against Torpedo.
The Petersburg team made a flying start, racing to a 3-0 lead inside seven minutes thanks to Igor Makarov, Evgeny Ketov and Vadim Shipachyov. But as quickly as it went right, it started to go wrong. By the first interval it was already 3-2, and second-period goals from Wojtek Wolski and Juuso Hietanen put Torpedo ahead.
Dinar Khafizullin’s first goal for SKA tied it up early in the fourth, but neither team could find a decisive breakthrough after that, forcing a shoot-out which was settled by in Torpedo’s favor by Sakari Salminen. Salminen had also scored earlier in the game.
Dynamo, meanwhile, became the first team to reach a century of points for the season despite giving up three goals to Loko. Given the solid defense that characterizes Pyotr Vorobyov’s team it was hard to imagine any way back once Yegor Averin had added to first period goals from Vadim Khlopotov and Danill Apalkov. But Dynamo delivered a second-period blitz, scoring four times in 13 minutes to turn the game around and clinch a 4-3 verdict. Young D-man Andrei Mironov was the unlikely game-winner, scoring from close range at the second attempt to put Dynamo in front and ultimately increase the team’s lead at the top of the KHL table.
Late show at CSKA
After two scoreless periods the action between CSKA and Admiral perked up in the final session. The home side got a 5v3 power play, and duly converted it thanks to Alexander Frolov. But Admiral, although still short-handed, hit back almost at once through Justin Hodgman, giving the Vladivostok team hopes of at least drawing level with Traktor and Avangard in the race for eighth place in the East.
Those hopes were not to be, however: Alexander Radulov got the winner in the 48th minute and Mikhail Biryukov weathered a late storm of Admiral pressure to secure a fourth consecutive home win for the Army Men.
Atlant fails to gain ground
Atlant missed the chance to gain some valuable ground on Lokomotiv in the race for a play-off spot, going down to Ak Bars in overtime after a 1-1 tie.
When Roman Rukavishnikov put the Moscow Region team ahead in the second period – after getting the thumbs-up from the video officials – Atlant seemed to be well placed to close on its closest rival for eighth place. But early in the third Tim Stapleton tied it up, and Ilya Nikulin got the overtime winner to leave Atlant six points adrift with eight games to play.
Around the league
Lev remains in third thanks to a tight 3-1 verdict over Sibir. The game was in the balance until the closing seconds, when Martin Thornberg’s empty netter – his second goal of the night - finally resolved the outcome. Jiri Novotny also found the net for the Czechs.
Dinamo Riga beat Amur 4-1, but the scoreline did not do justice to a competitive performance from the visitors. It took two empty-net goals in the last minute to give Dinamo a flattering gloss, and confirm Jamie Johnson’s second-period marker as the game-winner. Amur’s theoretical hopes of reaching the play-offs ended in Latvia with this defeat.