Bernd Bruckler claimed his fourth shutout of the current championship today. The previous three all came in the first month and a half of the season, with luck seemingly deserting the Torpedo goalie after the 18th of October. In his purple patch back in September and October, Bruckler kept his goal intact against Atlant, Dynamo Moscow and Salavat Yulaev. Dynamo made Bernd work the hardest, bombarding him with 45 shots - almost twice as many as he faced today.
Vityaz failed to score today for the seventh time of the campaign, setting a new - and unwanted - team record. In the 2008-09 season the men from Chekhov suffered six games without scoring, and reduced the total to five the following year.
In spite of this, Andrei Nazarov’s team does not have the worst record on this count. Amur have endured ten defeats in which they failed to penetrate the opposition’s defense. One more, and the Far East club will match the KHL record, set by Metallurg Novokuznetsk.
As for Vityaz, it seems the team’s nightmare opponents are the Atlant defense, as they have kept the Chekhov men off the scoreboard three times in three seasons.
CSKA pulled their goalie for a sixth skater, but then watched helplessly as the puck rolled into their unguarded net. It is the second time this has happened to the army men (the first was against Lokomotiv) but things could be a lot worse: the current “leaders” on this score are Barys, who have allowed seven empty net goals so far. Four teams are still yet to concede after pulling the goaltender: Dynamo Moscow, Severstal, Spartak and Yugra.
For Spartak, who punished CSKA in tonight’s game, it was their third such goal of the current championship, and they are now just one goal behind the four leading teams in this category. These include two, Severstal and Yugra, from the above list of teams that have not allowed a single empty net goal. The men from Riga and Nizhny Novgorod complete the group of teams which have inflicted the ultimate sucker punch on four occasions.
Figure of the day
Mikelis Redlihs has now notched up points in each of his last 12 games, amassing 5 goals and 13 assists in that time. However, his Dinamo Riga teammate, Lauris Darzins (pictured), scored no points for the first time in 11 games, thus ending the scoring run he embarked on at the same time as Redlihs.
Dominik Hasek (Spartak). Saved 39 shots out of 40, helping his team to second straight win.
Denis Grot (Torpedo). Provided the passes for two goals and earned a rating of +1.
Sandis Ozolins (Dinamo Riga). Spent over 25 minutes on the ice, scored no points but nonetheless finished at a +3.
Girts Ankipans (Dinamo Riga). Made three assists and merited a +2.
Janis Sprukts (Dinamo Riga). Added two goals, one assist and a +2 to his account.
Stefan Ruzicka (Spartak). Spent almost 19 minutes in play – more than any other forward on the team; scored a double and earned a +2.
Quotes of the day
“The score, of course, doesn’t suit us. And nothing in this game was very good. It’s hard at this stage to say what the reason is,” Ak Bars head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.
“Hasek will be 46 on the 29th of January, and on that day we’ll be playing away at Amur. We’re not yet into giving luxurious celebration feasts. Of course we’ll wish Hasek a happy birthday, but as for who’ll play in goal, we’ll decide when we get there,” Spartak acting head coach Andrei Yakovenko.
“Ruslan Bernikov scored a fine goal, and tried hard all through the game. I know him quite well, so I can say Ruslan played to his usual level. Bernikov gives his all, but his technique has room for improvement. Although I can’t fault his commitment,” Torpedo head coach Vladimir Golubovich.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru