Barys Astana 5 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 4
A third-period comeback gave Barys the edge in a high-scoring game – and spelled the end for Evgeny Popikhin as head coach of Neftekhimik.
News of Popikhin’s departure – along with his assistants Oleg Orekhovsky and Nikolai Zavarukhin – emerged in the aftermath of the game in Kazakhstan, where the visitor led 4-2 before tumbling to its fourth defeat in six.
The recovery started with an historic moment for American forward Brandon Bochenski. He scored his 149th KHL goal, making him the most prolific import in KHL history. Bochenski, who is now a naturalized Kazakh citizen and played for the national team at last May’s World Championship in Moscow, first went to Barys for the 2010-11 season and has stayed ever since.
In the third period, goals from Nikita Ivanov and Corey Trivino put the home team ahead. Dan Sexton, with three assists, was the most effective Neftekhimik player on the night.
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 1 Ak Bars Kazan 4
Avtomobilist head coach Andrei Razin suggested last week that the return of Anatoly Golyshev, the goalscoring prodigy of the Urals, was just what his team needed to end its slump in form.
But Golyshev’s presence on the roster for Monday’s game at home to Ak Bars was not enough to snap a losing streak that now reaches five games. Golyshev mustered just two shots on goal as the visitor dominated proceedings from the very start.
Nikita Cherepanov opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Mikhail Varnakov doubled the lead early in the second before Andrei Alexeyev got Avtomobilist on the scoresheet.
There was never much danger of a fight-back, though, as Ak Bars added two more in the third through Vladimir Tkachyov and Fyodor Malykhin.
Around the league
Dynamo Moscow added to the woes of its Latvian namesake, easing to a comfortable 4-2 win in Riga. Three goals from three defensemen put the visitor in charge in the first period as Juuso Hietanen, Andrei Mironov and Mat Robinson found the net. Semyon Kokuyov extended the advantage in the second session before Dinamo’s defense got its own scoring game up and running. Eriks Sevcenko got one back in the second, Ralfs Freibergs added a second in the 46th minute.
Lada took a first-period lead at Ugra but still fell to a 4-1 defeat. Maxim Rybin opened the scoring in the 20th minute, but it was all downhill from there for the Motormen. Pavel Varfolomeyev and Konstantin Panov put Ugra in front by the midway point; Evgeny Lapenkov and Konstantin Sokolov wrapped up a convincing win.