Defeat for Avangard at Atlant ended the 2012 runner-up’s hopes of snatching the last play-off spot in the East – while a 2-0 win keeps the Moscow Region team hot on the heels of Lokomotiv in the West.
Only victory would do for Milos Riha’s men after Traktor picked up a 3-2 victory at home to Vityaz earlier in the day, but Igor Radulov scored for the second game this week to give Atlant the lead in the first period. Neither side could find the target again until deep into the final period: Riha gambled on withdrawing his goalie with more than two minutes to play, but Maxim Mayorov took advantage with an empty net goal to end Avangard’s hopes.
Traktor, meanwhile, edged back in front of Admiral with that tight verdict against Vityaz. Petri Kontiola’s goal on 56:06 settled the outcome. Traktor is now two points clear in eighth with two games to play.
Dynamo tops the table
Despite a shoot-out defeat at Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Dynamo Moscow confirmed that it will finish in first place in the regular season table.
Going into today’s game, Magnitka knew only a regulation-time win would keep the race alive, but the teams failed to muster a goal in 65 minutes of hockey. Dynamo was the livelier, putting 41 shots on Vasily Koshechkin, but it was all to no avail when Danis Zaripov finally found the net at the end of the shoot-out.
Magnitka stays top of the Eastern Conference thanks to the two points it gained here.
Loko steams on
Lokomotiv remains in control of the play-off race in the Western Conference, steaming to a 6-2 win over Ugra to remain three points clear of Atlant. A powerful start saw the Yaroslavl team race into a 3-0 first period lead, and it was 6-1 by the second intermission. Sergei Plotnikov and Emil Galimov led the scoring with two goals each.
Loko is three points ahead of Atlant, while Severstal remains in the race thanks to a 2-1 win at home to Avtomobilist. Anatoly Nikontsev got the vital goal, but the steelmen need two wins and a slump in form elsewhere to sneak into the top eight.
Around the league
Artemy Panarin was SKA’s match-winner at home to Barys. He scored twice to retrieve a 1-2 deficit and lead his team to a 3-2 success. Roman Starchenko and Nik Antropov had earlier given the Kazakh team the lead.
The latest round of the rivalry between Salavat Yulaev and Ak Bars went the way of the Ufa team thanks to a solitary marker from Teemu Hartikainen. He struck barely a minute into the final frame of a tense encounter to give Salavat the points.
Spartak’s losing streak stretched to a miserable 19 games after going down 2-3 at Dinamo Riga. Marcel Hossa and Paul Szczechura scored in quick succession around the halfway mark, Mat Robinson’s 56th-minute goal proved to be the game-winner.
Martin Thornberg had a goal and an assist to steer Lev to a 2-1 win over Dinamo Minsk in Prague. Thornberg set up Niko Kapanen for the opener and scored the game-winner with three-and-a-half minutes to play.
Medvescak came from behind to win 3-1 at CSKA. Nikolai Prokhorkin gave the Army Men a first-period advantage, but Matt Ellison, Matt Murley and an empty-net goal from Boyd Kane sent the points back to Zagreb.
Three goals in seven minutes saw Torpedo win 5-3 in an entertaining game at Neftekhimik. Pavel Kulikov put the home team ahead in the 53rd minute, but Jarkko Immonen levelled within 30 seconds. Then Evgeny Skachkov’s second of the game and a Wojtek Wolski empty-netter settled the outcome.
The Finnish connection came good for Donbass, leading the team to a 2-1 win at Slovan. Tuomas Kiiskinen opened the scoring before Martin Bakos tied it up in the second. Petteri Virtanen got the winner on 51:27.