Jokerit Helsinki 3 Avangard Omsk 4 (SO)
Jokerit got the rock star treatment during the week when members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers joined in the team’s training session after their gig at the Hartwall Arena on September 13.
And the team was certainly red hot in the closing seconds of this hard-fought game, coming up with a dramatic equalizer on 59:59 thanks to Tommi Huhtala. That tied the game at 3-3 and propelled the frenzied encounter into overtime and then a shoot-out.
But it was Avangard that kept cool under pressure; goalie Dominik Furch outwitted Joey Hishon and Michael Keranen while Maxim Pestushko came up with the decisive attempt.
Earlier the visitor led three teams without managing to hold on and win the game in regulation. Alexander Kucharyavenko’s opening was quickly cancelled out by Hishon then in the second period Dmitry Maltsev and Mika Niemi traded goals. Valentin Pyanov thought he’d won it for Avangard when he made it 3-2 in the 56th minute, but Huhtala’s late intervention demanded an encore.
Spartak Moscow 2 Dynamo Moscow 3 (SO)
The first Moscow derby of the season drew a sell-out crowd to the Luzhniki arena – and also saw fans heading to the cinema to catch a live broadcast of the big game on the big screen.
And they were treated to a nail-biter that could have been scripted in Hollywood. Spartak made a blockbuster of a start, with Matthew Gilroy and Viktor Bobrov putting the Red-and-Whites 2-0 ahead inside 12 minutes.
Dynamo’s Maxim Karpov got his team on the board in the final seconds of the opening stanza, wrapping up a dramatic beginning to the game.
Next came suspense and tension; no goals in the middle stanza as both teams played cautious hockey. The third was tighter still, with just nine shots on goal as the Moscow rivals probed for the award-winning scene that could deliver the grand finale. Finally, with just seven seconds on the clock, it happened.
Dynamo gambled on an empty net and Semyon Kokuyov got into space on the doorstep to tuck away Ansel Galimov’s pass from behind the net. 2-2, and overtime beckoned.
With no further scoring it came down to the shoot-out – and young Klim Kostin suddenly wrote himself into the leading role. The teenager turned down a move to play youth hockey in Canada in favor of proving himself in the man’s game back home in Russia and marked only his second ever KHL game with a nerveless winner in the shoot-out.
Slovan Bratislava 3 Medvescak Zagreb 2 (SO)
Slovan goalie Justin Pogge came off the bench to help his team to a shoot-out win after a 2-2 tie at home to Medvescak.
The early stages of the game seemed comfortable for the Slovaks, who coasted into a 2-0 lead thanks to first-period goals from Mislav Rosandic and Marek Viedensky.
But the game changed when Slovan goalie Barry Brust, once a Medvescak player, was ejected for throwing his stick at a pass from Francis Pare. Bobby Butler failed to beat replacement netminder Justin Pogge, but Jiri Smejkal and Alexandre Bolduc beat the new guy to tie the game at 2-2.
But Pogge came into his own in the shoot-out, facing down Gilbert Brule and Samson Mahbod as Ziga Jeglic claimed the gamewinner.
Around the league
Alexander Pankov scored twice for Traktor to help the team to a 4-2 victory at home to Salavat Yulaev. Pankov opened and closed his team’s account for the night, sandwiching strikes from Kirill Koltsov and Maxim Yakutsenya. The visitor replied through Denis Kulyash and Igor Makarov.
A blistering first period saw Vityaz consolidate eighth place in the West thanks to a 4-3 win over high-flying HC Sochi. The home team raced into a 4-0 lead inside 14 minutes thanks to two goals from Mario Kempe and further markers from Maxim Afinogenov and Igor Golovkov. Sochi hit back; Eric O’Dell and Ben Maxwell reduced the arrears in the second period and Ilya Krikunov made it 3-4 early in the third but Vityaz held on.
Dinamo Riga remains rooted to the foot of the table after letting slip a 3-1 lead at home to Sibir. The Latvians started well with goals from Guntis Galvins (2) and Tim Sestito putting them in control after 13 minutes. But Sibir battled back to tie the scores on goals from Konstantin Okulov and Damir Zhafarov before Vladislav Naumov won it in the 57th minute.
Metallurg Novokuznetsk twice led in Minsk, but Dinamo hit back in the closing stages to claim a 4-2 win. Ignat Zemchenko and Rob Klinkhammer traded first-period goals, then Evgeny Viksna put Metallurg 2-1 in front on 46 minutes. But Nick Bailen quickly tied the game and Sergei Kostitsyn made it 3-2 in the 50th. Alexander Materukhin’s empty-netter made the points safe.