Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 SKA St. Petersburg 2 (SO)
Petr Koukal was the star man as Avtomobilist edged SKA. The Czech forward got his third goal of the season as the teams tied 2-2 in regulation, then claimed the winner in a shoot-out.
Avto’s win denied SKA’s stand-in head coach Pyotr Vorobyov a third consecutive victory. Vorobyov is in temporary charge of the Petersburg team while Oleg Znarok leads Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.
Initially SKA held the upper hand in this one. Evgeny Kotov put the visitor in front on two minutes and the Army Men looked the stronger side in the first period.
After the intermission, though, the host hit back. Dmitry Monya tied the game early in the second with a power play goal that pinballed around the slot before sneaking behind Igor Shestyorkin. Another PP late in the frame gave Koukal his chance, exchanging passes with Dmitry Megalinsky before fizzing a wrister through a crowded slot to put Avtomobilist in front.
SKA tied it up in the third thanks to Alexander Barabanov, a player who has caught the eye this season with seven goals in nine games to help fill the gap left by the SKA stars who went to Toronto. But Koukal was not to be denied and he claimed his second shoot-out winner of the season.
Jokerit Helsinki 0 Sibir Novosibirsk 4
Sibir’s slow start to the season seems to be forgotten: the Novosibirsk team made it five wins in a row with victory at Jokerit.
It took a little while for the Siberians to hit their stride this time around, with Sibir managing just six points from its first five games. Since then, though, things have picked up and Andrei Skabelka’s team came to Finland full of confidence.
One source of that confidence is the return of Alexander Salak, suspended for the opening games of the campaign. The Czech international is now back in action and was on top form in Helsinki, particularly late in the first period when Jokerit laid siege to the visitor’s goal. Salak pulled off a string of big saves, denying Sakari Salminen, Pekka Jurmakka and Marko Antilla among others. In the end, Salak turned away 40 shots as the Finns failed to find their finish. At the other end Sibir cashed in on its first power play opportunity as Sergei Shumakov opened the scoring in the fifth minute, just a few seconds after serving a penalty of his own.
Aside from that there were few chances for the visitor, but early in the second stanza Sibir extended its lead through Stepan Sannikov. Then, in the third, with Jokerit chasing the game, Maxim Shalunov and Joonas Kemppainen extended the scoreline into a rout as Sibir claimed its first ever KHL victory over Jokerit.
Around the league
Avangard staged a smash’n’grab raid on Dinamo Minsk to claim victory in Belarus. Dinamo pushed hard in the first period, but gave up the only goal when Alexander Kucheryavenko scored on the counter-attack seconds after a threatening home power play came to an end. Alexander Materukhin tied the game early in the second and Dinamo continued to dominate – but once again fell to the sucker punch when Derek Roy converted a solo break to make it 2-1 in the 46th minute. Visiting goalie Dominik Furch made 40 saves as Avangard edged it.
Dinamo Riga enjoyed a morale-boosting win at home to fellow struggler Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Nikolajs Jelisejevs opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but the real damage was done in the second period. Lauris Darzins, Gunars Skvorcovs and Pyotr Schastlivy scored three on Metallurg, with Evgeny Solovyov getting the only reply. Tim Sestito added a fifth in the third period as Dinamo eased to a 5-1 victory.