Sergei Mozyakin became the first player in KHL history to score 700 points, thanks to his assist on Chris Lee’s overtime winner at home to Torpedo. But another experienced KHL player, Evgeny Artyukhin, hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after his ejection from Sibir’s defeat at SKA. Elsewhere there were wins for Traktor, Severstal and Slovan.
In Ufa, the All-Star week got underway with the Youth Hockey League’s Western Conference edging a shoot-out win over its Eastern rival.
Controversial forward Evgeny Artyukhin found himself in trouble once again after a flare-up against one of his former clubs.
The Sibir enforcer, who played in Petersburg from 2010-2013 and again last season, was ejected from the game after an incident at the end of the second period. Handed a minor penalty for interference after bundling into home goalie Mikko Koskinen, Artyukhin, 33, seemed to jab his stick into Viktor Tikhonov’s groin. The officials duly handed down a 5+game penalty, giving SKA a seven-minute power play.
That verdict also determined the outcome of the game. Ilya Kablukov and Vadim Shipachyov scored two goals in two minutes on that power play, extending SKA’s advantage to 5-2 and ending Sibir’s hopes. Small wonder the visiting head coach, Andrei Skabelka, described that long PP as a belated Christmas gift for the league leader, while Tikhonov also labelled it the turning point of the game.
Earlier, Sibir had competed well, recovering from Evgeny Dadonov’s first-minute goal to lead 2-1 thanks to goals from Konstantin Okulov and Joonas Kemppainen midway through the second period. Artyukhin got the assist on Kemppainen’s goal.
SKA responded quickly, scoring twice in the 33rd minute through Tikhonov and Nikita Gusev before Artyukhin’s indiscretion. Dadonov completed the scoring with his second of the game in the 52nd minute.
Sergei Mozyakin reached another career milestone to condemn Torpedo to its first defeat of 2017.
The master marksman became the first player to tally 700 points in KHL action with his assist on Chris Lee’s overtime winner in Magnitogorsk. Mozyakin led a two-on-one breakout in the third minute of the extras before spotting Lee all alone in the opposite circle. The pass was inch-perfect, the finish unstoppable. Game to Magnitka.
Earlier, though, in-form Torpedo pushed the defending champion hard. Grigory Zheldakov claimed the opening goal after his shot from the blue line deflected off Viktor Antipin’s knee and flew into the Metallurg net, but Tommi Santala tied it up on the power play shortly afterwards.
Torpedo went back in front when Brandon McMillan capitalized on some uncertain defending to fashion a shooting chance and beat Ilya Samsonov at the second attempt. Again, Magnitka replied quickly; Lee’s pass turned defense into offense, Danis Zaripov did the rest.
Torpedo’s winning start to the year comes to an end, but the team remains third in the Western Conference. Metallurg stays out in front in the East.
Traktor’s 70th anniversary celebrations finally included a home victory after two shoot-out losses at the start of the seven-game festive sequence.
Spartak pushed the home team hard, but never found its way into a winning position after Jiri Novotny put Traktor 1-0 up in the 18thminute.
Lukas Radil tied the game in the second period, but it took less than two minutes for Traktor to regain the lead. Nikolai Belov made it 2-1, then Artyom Penkovsky added a third shortly after the midway mark.
Spartak’s Sergei Shmelyov got a goal back in the 47th minute, but the Red-and-Whites could get no closer to salvaging anything from the game and fell to a sixth successive loss.
It took some time for the home team to make the breakthrough, but Denis Yezhov got the opening goal in the 36th minute while both sides had a player in the sin bin. Khatsei assisted on Clay Wilson’s goal early in the third and wrapped up proceedings with an empty-net effort.
Metallurg has now suffered 11 defeats in a row.
A late rally from Ugra was not enough to rescue Andrei Razin’s team from defeat in Slovakia.
The home team made a strong start, opening the scoring through a Ziga Jeglic power play goal in the fifth minute. Jonathan Cheechoo added another power play marker midway through the second period, and when Igor Musatov made it 3-0 with less than 10 minutes to play, the outcome seemed to be beyond doubt.
But Ugra whipped up a late storm to leave Slovan hanging on for the points. Andrei Alexeyev reduced the deficit just 11 seconds after Musatov’s goal and Anton Korolyov brought it back to a one-goal game with five minutes left on the clock. It was an anxious finale for Slovan goalie Barry Brust, but the team held on to take the points.
Eastern Conference 1 Western Conference 2
The MHL, Russia’s Youth Hockey League, staged its Challenge Cup game in Ufa to mark the start of the first-ever week-long festival of hockey staged by the KHL.
Day one saw the hottest prospects from the junior competition show their skills in a showdown between the MHL’s two conferences. In a typically hard-fought battle, it took a shoot-out to separate the teams before Andrei Altybarmakyan, captain of Team West, secured the victory.
Altybarmakyan, 18, is in his third season with SKA Silver Lions, part of the SKA St. Petersburg organization. He averages a point a game from 74 competitive outings in the MHL. Today he got the opening goal in the game, putting the West in front in the fourth minute, before returning to seal the outcome in that shoot-out.
In between, the day’s four goaltenders caught the eye: All-Star hockey is often an occasion for high scoring high jinks, but between them starting goalies Andrei Katyukhin (East, Novokuznetsk Bears) and Alexei Ivanov (West, Silver Lions) and replacements Nikita Tsirkul (East, Tolpar Ufa) and Alexander Samoilov (West, Red Army Moscow) gave up just two goals from 77 shots. Tsirkul even claimed an assist as Anton Kovalyov (East, Omsk Hawks) tied the game with five minutes to play.
In the shoot-out, though, Tsirkul was beaten twice while Samoilov denied Artyom Manukyan and Vitaly Kravtsov, giving the verdict to the West.
Sunday’s game is not the end of the action for the MHL in All-Star week. The top four players from the game will also feature in next weekend’s headline attraction when four teams representing the four divisions of the KHL will go head-to-head for the All-Star prize. The week also features the first ever Women’s All-Star game, and the usual skills show from the biggest stars of the KHL.