Valery Belov, a mainstay of Ak Bars’ coaching staff, led Vityaz to victory against his former club and took the Moscow Region team back into the playoff spots. Elsewhere, Admiral earned its first-ever KHL success against Jokerit, goalies Alexander Yeryomenko and Juha Metsola had their second successive shut-outs and Lokomotiv came from behind to frustrate Neftekhimik.
These two teams have little more than pride left to play for this season, but Amur enjoyed a thumping win over Western Conference struggling Dinamo Riga.
Vyacheslav Ushenin led the way with two goals as the host ran riot after a cagey first period. The first goal came in the 23rd minute through Kirill Kapustin, before Ushenin opened his account off an assist from his twin brother Vladislav. Kristian Kuusela made it 3-0 in the 38th minute.
The final stanza brought two more Amur goals: Ushenin again on the power play in the 45th minute and Jan Kolarin the 47th. Juha Metsola posted his second shut-out in a row, but Dinamo Riga only troubled the goalie on 15 occasions in a toothless display.
Admiral, in need of a win to boost its playoff push, enjoyed its first ever victory over Jokerit in KHL action.
But the Far East team allowed its opponent to recover from 1-4 to force overtime, before Maxim Kazakov completed his hat-trick to settle the outcome.
Ville Lajunen gave Jokerit an early lead, but Viktor Alexandrov quickly tied the scores and Kazakov got his first to make it 2-1 at the first intermission. Then Jonathon Blum and Kazakov’s second of the night took the lead to 4-1 before Jesse Joensuu got one back late in the second period.
The final stanza saw Jokerit rally. Charles Genoway and Brian O’Neill hauled the visitor level at 4-4 with 13 minutes to play, but neither side could find a winner in regulation. Then Kazakov got Admiral’s first chance in overtime and converted it to give the home team the verdict.
Dinamo Minsk goalie Ben Scrivens had a moment to forget – and then a shoot-out to remember as the Belarusians edged a victory in Beijing.
But, after the game finished tied at 2-2, Scrivens was at his best in the shoot-out, denying Damien Fleury and Jonas Enlund to snatch victory for Dinamo. Fredrik Pettersson and Aaron Palushaj scored their attempts for the visitor.
Pettersson also found the net in regulation, cancelling out Collins’ freakish opening goal, but Tommi Taimi quickly put Kunlun back in front. The second period saw Evgeny Lisovets tie it up on the power play, and the third was goalless thanks to a big save from Tomi Karhunen to stop Dinamo’s Andrei Stas with 90 seconds to play.
The Blue-and-Whites extended their winning streak to six games with a comfortable take-down of Lada.
A second successive shut-out for Alexander Yeryomenko, who backstopped Thursday’s 4-0 victory over Neftekhimik, was the cornerstone of Dynamo’s latest success. Lada managed 17 shots on his net.
At the other end, visiting goalie Ilya Ezhov was under pressure from the start as Dynamo looked to seize control of the game early on. Martins Karsums opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Andrei Kuteikin doubled the lead before the first intermission. For experienced D-man Kuteikin, it was his first goal since November when he scored three in successive games shortly after arriving from Avangard.
The second period was goalless, and largely free of major incident, but Maxim Karpov extended Dynamo’s lead on a power play early in the third. Then 19-year-old forward Nikolai Chebykin got his first ever KHL goal to make it 4-0 in the 52nd minute before Juuso Hietanen wrapped up the scoring in the last minute.
Vityaz head coach Valery Belov has long-running links with Kazan, where he was part of the coaching staff for more than a decade before moving to Podolsk. And, with his team in urgent need of points to stay in the playoff frame, a victory against his former club would have great significance both personally and in terms of the league standings.
Initially, though, things did not go Belov’s way. Mikhail Glukhov gave Ak Bars the lead in the second minute and in the early stages Vityaz found it difficult to get the puck to Stanislav Galimov’s net. But a quick counter attack in the 11th minute changed all that, and the reliable Alexei Kopeikin forced home the tying goal.
Now the play was more even, with Igor Saprykin struggling to keep out a shot from Andrei Popov before Maxim Afinogenov went on a slaloming run that was halted illegally by Atte Ohtamaa. The subsequent power play saw Mario Kempe put Vityaz ahead as the first period came to an end.
Alexei Makeyev made it 3-1 early in the second, reacting fastest after Igor Golovkov’s shot rebounded off the piping, and the home team held that two-goal advantage until deep into the final stanza. Maxim Lazarev got one back for Ak Bars in the 56th minute, but the home team held on and climbs to seventh in the Western Conference.
Neftekhimik’s playoff hopes took a dent despite a spirited display in defeat at Lokomotiv.
Andrei Nazarov’s team remains three points adrift of the top eight in the East despite taking a 10th-minute lead through Gennady Stolyarov, who stuffed the puck into the net after a series of ricochets around the slot.
Lokomotiv was well on top of the shot-count, but only had Staffan Kronwall’s 31st-minute rocket from the blue line to show for its efforts after two periods, and Neftekhimik had a great chance to regain the lead through Terry Galiardi early in the third, only for Alexei Murygin to make the save.
Then the home team got in front. Artyom Ilyenko scored his second goal in as many games to break the deadlock. Murygin was called upon once more to deny Richard Gynge and Bogdan Yakimov before Brandon Kozun put the game out of reach.