The clash between SKA and Metallurg Magnitogorsk pitted two of the most titled coaches currently working in the KHL against one another – and the attraction was big enough to delay the call-up of several international stars expected at this weekend’s Karjala Cup in Finland.
But the battle between last season’s champion and many people’s favorites to take the crown this time wasn’t dominated by the big names on either team.
Magnitka’s 2-1 victory was secured by a 52nd-minute goal from defenseman Rafael Batyrshin. There seemed to be little danger as he collected Danis Zaripov’s pass and took it to the red line before slinging the puck across the face of the net but a helpful ricochet to beat Evgeny Ivannikov.
Earlier Maxim Yakutsenya had been at the forefront for Magnitka. He opened the scoring in the first period and missed a penalty shot late in the second. In between Roman Cervenka put SKA level but the Army Men could not escape their first home defeat of the season.
Dynamo probably just about deserved the win, even though Avangard was the first to show in regulation, taking just 45 seconds to get ahead thanks to Alexander Popov’s goal.
Penalty trouble invited Avangard back into the game in the middle session: Sergei Shirokov scored on the power play, and within a couple of minutes Alexander Perezhogin took advantage of a 5-on-3 situation to tie the game at 3-3.
Denis Mosalyov put Dynamo back ahead on 46 minutes, forcing the puck under the crossbar even as he lost his balance. Once again, though, Avangard hit back with Evgeny Mozer beating the screened Alexander Yeryomenko.
The final session couldn’t separate the teams, but as the first minute of the extras came to an end Plotnikov turned provider for Jiri Novotny’s winner.
Two goals from Anatoly Nikontsev helped Severstal power into a 5-0 lead at Avtomobilist. The home team did not get on the scoresheet until the last ten minutes, but managed to claw the final result back to a more respectable 3-5 loss.
HC Sochi’s steady improvement continues with a 3-1 win at Lada. Clay Wilson was the key man, picking up three assists for the Southerners as Mikhail Anisin, Roman Lyuduchin and Alexei Krutov all found the net to make it three wins from four.
Dmitry Shitikov’s shorthanded goal in the 51st minute handed Vityaz a 3-2 win at Neftekhimik. The visitor struck twice in two minutes to turn around a 2-1 deficit and take the points.