Spartak's sorry run continues with a sixth successive defeat, this time at the hands of struggling Dinamo Minsk.
The Moscow team still attracted 4,500 fans to Sokolniki, despite its plight, and for a time it seemed like that support might give the Red-and-Whites a much-needed New Year boost. A well-worked goal on 25 minutes for Vladimir Peshekhonov gave the home team the lead, and an extended 5v3 powerplay saw Deron Quint rattle the frame of the goal.
But when a team's luck is out, the little things always seem to go against it: Dinamo had just one meaningful attack in the second period but found the net through Alexei Yefimenko. In the final session an uncharacteristic mistake from Jeff Glass presented Zbynek Irgl with a shooting chance and his effort crept over the line off a Spartak skate to seal yet another defeat. For Dinamo, meanwhile, it was the first away win in regulation this season.
Donbass back on track
Donbass strengthened its grip on third place in the west with a tight win over Medvescak to end a two-game losing streak.
The Ukrainian team fell behind to a Mike Glumac goal in the second minute but profited from a penalty to tie it up through Lukas Kaspar on 7:15. The second session saw Donbass dictate the play, but its domination only generated a solitary marker for Dmitry Kagarlitsky in the 26th minute.
At the other end Medvescak's powerplay was stuttering, most notably deep in the third when Donbass ran into protracted penalty trouble. With the exception of one anxious moment following a Mark Popovic piledriver from the point, however, Jan Laco and his defense found it relatively easy to absorb the danger before in the dying seconds Evgeny Dadonov found the empty net to seal a 3-1 victory.