Leaders under fire

11 January 2012, 23:00

In East and West, the KHL’s conference leaders suffered surprise defeats. Traktor Chelyabinsk went down in a shoot-out at Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, while SKA St. Petersburg’s imperious progress was abruptly halted by a 4-0 drubbing at home to Severstal Cherepovets.

Shock of the day
With SKA cruising into the play-offs, few gave Severstal any hope of halting the Army Men in their Petersburg fortress. But the Steelmen had other ideas, and fine display of counter-attacking hockey landed a 4-0 win. Goaltender Vasily Koshechkin made 36 saves, while Mikko Lehtonen opened the scoring with only the second Severstal attack of the game on 18:39.Gennady Stolyarov and Jozef Straka extended the advantage, and a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the third saw Vadim Shipachyov complete the scoring.

Traktor halted
Traktor welcomed Russia’s under-20s captain Evgeny Kuznetsov back to the roster, but even his 1+1 couldn’t secure the win at Yugra. Instead it was the home side’s Igor Skorokhodov who took the plaudits. He scored once in regulation time, then, after the game was tied at 2-2 he slotted home the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

Play-off pressure
The latest Moscow derby saw Spartak host CSKA, with the home side desperately trying to overtake the visitors and kick-start a push for a play-off spot. But in the event it was CSKA who marched into pole position with a hard-fought win at Sokolniki which puts the team 10 points clear in 8th place in the Western Conference. Sergei Shirokov’s powerplay goal on 49:53 ultimately proved crucial in a 3-1 success. Earlier Yegor Mikhailov had cancelled out Nikolai Prokhorokin’s opener.

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