Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod’s hopes of taking anything from its trip to Traktor Chelyabinsk evaporated in barely half a minute during the second period. Goals from Konstantin Panov on 25:31 and Anton Glinkin on 26:05 proved enough to hand the hosts a 2-0 victory. Michael Garnett made 23 saves to keep a clean sheet.
Magntika exploits Spartak’s angst
Confidence is perhaps the most fragile thing in sport, as Spartak discovered in Sunday’s 1-2 home defeat to Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Following a much-needed home win on Thursday the Red-and-Whites stormed out of the blocks, only to find Magnitka’s goal leading a charmed life. Ari Ahonen made 13 saves in the first period alone, while Mikhail Yunkov and Yegor Mikhailov both fired wide with the goalie beaten. But when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. Magnitka opened the scoring early in the second period, thanks to Oleg Tverdovsky’s breakaway effort, and suddenly Spartak’s offense was muted. Another interval, and some inspiring words from coach Andrei Sidorenko, set Spartak up for a strong opening to the final session - but no sooner had Roman Lyuduchin tied the game on the powerplay than Metallurg were ahead again. This time it was the sort of half-chance that Spartak had frequently wasted, with Sergei Mozyakin’s shot popping up invitingly for Maxim Sushinsky to poke the puck home from close range.
Radulov at the double
Alexander Radulov hit two goals and claimed an assist in Salavat Yulaev’s 4-2 win at home to Amur Khabarovsk. His pair of strikes came midway through the final period, snuffing out hopes of an Amur fightback after Alexei Kopeikin had pulled the scores back to 2-1 on 48:12.
A Petrov pair
Ak Bars Kazan recorded a routine 3-1 win over Sibir Novosibirsk with Oleg Petrov leading the way. At the age of 40, the veteran forward is still fortifying the Kazan forward line, and his two goals on Sunday took him to three in 12 for the season. Ak Bars posted its sixth successive win; Sibir, now under the guidance of new coach Dmitry Yushkevitch, struggles with one win in eight.
Dynamo holds on
Dynamo Moscow picked up an away win at Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg - but had to withstand a fightback from the league’s bottom club. The Blue-and-Whites made a bright start and went 2-0 up inside seven minutes thanks to Artyom Chernov and Denis Mosalyov. But Igor Velichkin’s first goal in Avto’s colors started a revival and Viktor Kostyuchyonok tied the game early in the final period. But far from crumbling, Dynamo dug in and forced the win thanks to a goal from Dmitry Pestunov - far from a regular starter this season - and a breakaway effort in the closing minutes from Sergei Konkov.
A Christmas truce
Confrontation between Vityaz Chekhov and Avangard Omsk has a history of racking up the penalty minutes, so the most notable feature of Avangard’s 2-1 win might be the 2-2 penalty count. Only Anton Belov and Jaroslav Tulyakov abused the festive spirit by picking up minor penalties. Meanwhile, hospitality to guests is a big feature of the season, and Vityaz proved an obliging host as Avangard snapped a three-game losing streak thanks to Sergei Kalinin’s winner.
Around the league
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk made hard work of beating Metallurg Novokuznetsk, despite opening up a 2-0 lead early in the game. Oleg Kvasha’s goal on 51:51 finally earned them a 3-2 win after Dmitry Kagarlitsky’s two points helped draw Kuznya level.
The clash between Severstal Cherepovets and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk brought together two contenders for a place between the piping for Russia’s national team - and Vasily Kosechkin and Mikhail Biryukov produced a goaltending masterclass in a game which was tied 0-0 in regulation time. In the end was Kosechkin who came out on top - two saves in the post-game shoot-out meant Josef Straka claimed the winner for Severstal.