Dinamo Minsk 6 Medvescak Zagreb 2
Alexander Materukhin and Dmitry Ambrozheichik both scored doubles as Dinamo strengthened its grip on a playoff place. The Belarusians began the day in seventh place, just one point above the dotted line, but the win sees then overtake Jokerit and open a four-point gap to ninth.
Despite the comfortable final margin, it wasn’t until the midway point that Dinamo really took control of the game – thanks largely to Ambrozheichik. His 31st-minute goal made it 4-2, offering some much-needed breathing space after a high-octane start to the game. Then on 38 minutes he scored Dinamo’s fifth, effectively ending the game as a contest.
Earlier, though, Medvescak rattled the host. Jakub Krejcik gave the visitor a sixth-minute lead. Nikita Komarov tied it up in the 15th, and the second period began with an explosion of goals. Materukhin got his first 36 seconds after the restart, but Terry Galiardi tied it up on 21:09 with the first equal strength goal of the game. Another Croatian penalty took its toll, though, as Andrei Stepanov made it 3-2 in the 24th minute.
Ambrozheichik than put the game beyond reach before more penalty trouble enabled Materukhin to get his 21st of the season in the third period, converting a 5-on-3 power play in the 53rd minute.
Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 0 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 1
Andrei Razin’s first game in charge of Ugra saw him face the Avtomobilist team he put together over the summer but left on October 31.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, he had mixed feelings about the outcome of this game, admitting to some satisfaction at seeing his former players successfully execute the game plan he had helped them develop over the summer.
The specifics of today’s Avto tactics involved withstanding a high-tempo start from Ugra as the host looked to impress the new boss. That done, a power play goal from Alexei Vasilevsky late in the first period gave Vladimir Krikunov’s team an advantage that it would not relinquish.
Ugra continued to create chances, but either wayward finishing or good goaltending from Vladimir Sokhatsky frustrated Razin’s hopes of getting back into the game. Sokhatsky finished with 22 saves to bring the visitor its first win in four and cut the gap to the playoff places to six points. If Avto is an outsider to make post-season, Ugra’s chances seem largely theoretical. The Khanty-Mansiysk team is a further seven points back and lies last but one in the Eastern Conference table with just one win in nine games. Razin’s task seems likely to revolve around laying the foundations for a better campaign next season.