A sixth successive win for CSKA took the Army Men to the top of the KHL table – a familiar position for a team that has won the regular season title for the past two years.
After losing out in Magnitogorsk on the opening day, Dmitry Kvartalnov’s team has been in flawless form and another solid performance in Kazan highlighted the speed with which the roster has come together after the departure of big-name players such as Alexander Radulov and Nikita Zaitsev.
Summer signing Alexander Popov, who made a surprise switch from Avangard, was the key player in Kazan. He got the game-winner, scoring off a Bud Holloway assist on 34 minutes to snap a 1-1 tie. Then in the third period he got an assist on Kirill Petrov’s late goal as CSKA made the points safe. Earlier Maxim Mamin gave the visitor a 24th-minute lead but Ak Bars’ Andrei Popov wiped out the leader just 23 seconds later.
Dinamo Riga got its first win of the season with a shoot-out success at Salavat Yulaev. Veteran forward Pyotr Schastlivy got the decisive goal following a 2-2 tie in Ufa.
The Latvians, many of whom were involved as their national team missed out on Olympic Qualification after a losing a time game against Germany on Sunday, showed great spirit to take the game to the host early on. When Salavat Yulaev ran into penalty trouble in the second period, Dinamo took advantage to open up a 2-0 lead. Guntis Galvins got the first during a 5-on-3 power play; four minutes later Colton Gillies doubled the lead.
But Salavat struck back in the third, tying the game on goals from Denis Kulyash and Enver Lisin. The home side dominated much of the closing stages but could not force a winner and ultimately paid the price in the shoot-out.
Dinamo Minsk finally played its first game of the season, taking to the ice at Spartak more than two weeks after the opening game.
The delay was agreed to help the Belarusian national team – where Dinamo head coach Craig Woodcroft is on the coaching staff – prepare for its Olympic Qualifying tournament at the start of September.
Sadly the extra preparation time wasn’t enough to see Belarus book a place in Korea, while Dinamo failed to make a winning start to the season after a late goal from Ryan Stoa snapped a 2-2 tie and set Spartak on the way to a 4-2 victory.
Stoa also fired the host into an early lead before Evgeny Kovyrshin tied it up in the first. Then Lukas Radil made it 2-1 for Spartak in the 46th minute, only to see Andrei Stepanov level the scores once again. Spartak made it four wins in a row; Dinamo will try again on Thursday.
After five games without defeat, Dynamo suffered a second shoot-out loss in three days. The Blue-and-Whites enjoyed a fine start to the campaign, following on from a flawless pre-season, but Lada bounced back from two heavy defeats and became the second team to conquer the Moscow men.
Viktor Komarov opened the scoring on the power play after 11 minutes but Martins Karsums marked his return from international duty by tying the scores late in the second period.
That set up a shoot-out and Georgy Belousov was the only player to score in eight attempts, giving Lada the verdict.
On a day of tight games, HC Sochi let rip with the biggest win of the season so far. Sochi’s power play clicked into gear to supply the first three goals of a 7-2 thrashing of Amur. Evgeny Skachkov led the scoring with two goals; Oscar Fantenburg had three assists while his Swedish compatriot Andre Petersson added two helpers of his own.
Jokerit picked up only its second win of the season as Joey Hishon and Masi Marjamaki opened their goalscoring accounts for the campaign in a 2-1 win at Traktor. Canadian forward Hishon broke the deadlock in the 18th minute; Marjamaki got the winner in the 55th after Kirill Koltsov had tied the game in the second period.
There was overtime in Nizhnekamsk, where Medvescak gave up a 2-0 lead to tie 2-2 with Neftekhimik. Yann Suave and Alexandre Giroux put the Croatian team on top, but Sergei Konkov and Tommi Salinen tied it up. It went to a shoot-out, and Dan Sexton completed Neftekhimik’s recovery with the game winner.
Vityaz and Severstal were the fourth pair to tie their game today, deadlocked at 1-1 after 60 minutes. Both goals came early: Igor Skorokhodov put Severstal ahead in the eighth minute, Miiro Aaltonen replied in the 11th. Goalies were on top after that, with Harri Sateri of Vityaz making 40 saves on the night before stopping five more attempts in the shoot-out. Alexei Kopeikin gave his team the win.