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Conference leaders win again. January 28 round-up

29 January 2015, 00:09

CSKA in the West and Ak Bars in the East both produced victories to maintain their positions on top of their divisions.

CSKA was up first, away to Avangard, and prevailed 4-2 – thanks largely to a couple of quick goals in the second period. Jan Mursak put the Army Men 3-1 ahead in the 27th minute and prompted Avangard to swap goalies. But Eduard Reizvikh managed just 41 seconds before giving up a goal to Bogdan Kiselevich as the visitor assumed control.

Earlier Andreas Engqvist gave CSKA the lead and Andrei Stas reinstated the advantage before the intermission after Kirill Semyonov tied it up in the first.

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Ak Bars also enjoyed a straightforward evening, downing Ugra 3-1 with goals from Oscar Moller, Mikhail Varnakov and Alexander Burmistrov. Artyom Bulyanksky got a consolation goal for the visitor.

Torpedo reignites play-off push 
Torpedo picked up its first win of 2015 in fine style, thrashing Salavat Yulaev 6-0 in Ufa to breathe fresh life into its play-off push.

It was a day for fine finishing from the visitor, with Torpedo scoring two goals from six first-period shots and finishing with six from 24 as – finally – everything went right for the team from Nizhny Novgorod.

The start could hardly have been better: Salavat Yulaev was a man down after 23 seconds and a goal down a minute later as Wojtek Wolski got his first of the evening. In the seventh minute Vladimir Galuzin made it 2-0 and former Salavat player Nikita Filatov picked up his second assist of the game.

In the second session the pattern continued: Wolski scored his second, Jarkko Immonen picked up two assists and after Sakari Salminen made it 4-0 goalie Vladimir Sokhatsky was replaced with Leland Irving.

Irving gave up two further goals in the third, with Immonen finding the net as Wolski turned provider and Denis Kazionov wrapping up a memorable win. Ivan Kasutin made 23 saves for Torpedo to seal a shut-out.

There was further encouragement for Peteris Skudra’s team later in the day with news that play-off rival Vityaz had dropped points at Lokomotiv. The Podolsk team, bidding for its first-ever KHL post-season, lost out in a shoot-out as Sergei Konkov gave Loko the verdict. Earlier Vyacheslav Solodukhin gave Vityaz the lead but Daniil Apalkov tied it up with eight minutes to play. Vityaz holds eighth place in the West, but leads Torpedo by just one point having played a game more.

Surprises on the Baltic 
Western Conference high fliers SKA and Jokerit both suffered unexpected home defeats against their conference’s underdogs. In Helsinki Medvescak powered to a 4-1 win over Jokerit, while SKA dropped a shoot-out at home to Slovan.

Jokerit’s game got off to a sluggish start but when Steve Moses put the home team up early in the second it seemed to be going according to the form book. But Medvescak, which hasn’t yet abandoned its slim chance of sneaking into the play-off, hit back strongly. James Wright tied it up on the power-play and Bill Thomas got the first of his two goals to give the Croatians the lead going into the second intermission.

Jokerit failed to recover: Brandon Segal made it 3-1 before Thomas wrapped it up with an empty-netter.

SKA lost out to Slovan despite having the edge for much of the game. The home side fired in 22 first-period shots, but only forced 10 saves from Johan Backlund and paid for its profligacy when Ladislav Nagy opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Jimmie Ericsson tied it up as SKA dominated the third, but there was no winner and Tomas Netik held his nerve to settle the shoot-out.

Around the league 
Dynamo Moscow goalie Alexander Lazushin made it two shut-outs in a row as the Blue-and-Whites beat HC Sochi 3-0. Two goals from Konstantin Glazachev and a third from Kaspars Daugavins secured the win; Lazushin made 24 saves to keep the pressure on All-Star goalie Alexander Yeryomenko.

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Metallurg Magnitogorsk overcame an early setback to beat Dinamo Minsk 3-2. Paul Szczechura put the visitor in front in the fourth minute but Viktor Antipin tied it up before Oskar Osala’s penalty shot and a Tim Stapleton goal put Magnitka in command. Matt Ellison scored late to set up a tense finish but Metallurg held on.

Dinamo Riga moved to within a point of a play-off spot thanks to a 3-1 win at home to Atlant. Sergei Shmelyov put the visitor ahead early on but Miks Indrasis and Charles Genoway turned it around for the Latvians before Gints Meija wrapped it up in the final second.

Barys snatched victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to Roman Starchenko and Nigel Dawes. Severstal was leading 2-1 in Astana when Starchenko tied it up with 28 seconds to play; Dawes got the winner in overtime.

Two goals from Francis Pare overturned Artyom Gareyev’s opener to set Traktor on the way to a 3-1 win at Avtomobilist. The defeat leaves Avto looking anxiously at Admiral’s bid to sail into the play-offs in the final weeks of the season. 

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