SKA St. Petersburg 3 Admiral Vladivostok 2 (SO)
SKA head coach Oleg Znarok was back in his ‘day job’ after Team Russia returned home from the World Cup in Toronto. He also brought back several SKA players, with Vadim Shipachyov and Evgeny Dadonov getting straight back into action for the Army Men.
But Admiral spoiled the homecoming party, scoring two goals in the last five minutes to force overtime after SKA had eased into a 2-0 lead in the second period.
James Wright reduced the deficit in the 56th minute before Robert Sabolic continued his impressive form with the equalizer with two minutes to play. And it could have got even worse for Znarok in the closing moments of the game when a sloppy pass on defense sent Dmitry Sayustov through on the net only for Igor Shestyorkin to make the save.
It took a combination of Shestyorkin – impressive in overtime and unbeatable in the shoot-out – and Nikita Gusev’s wiles in his duel with Igor Bobkov to salvage the extra point for Znarok’s first game back.
Earlier it had all seemed so routine for Znarok and SKA. It took a little time to force the breakthrough – the visitor held out for the first period – but once Ilya Kovalchuk collected Sergei Plotnikov’s pass and created a moment of calm in which to beat Bobkov the home crowd relaxed in anticipation of victory. Then Jarno Koskiranta extended the lead five minutes later after Bobkov denied Plotnikov from a tight angle but after Wright intervened as it all threatened to go wrong for SKA.
CSKA Moscow 3 Kunlun Red Star 0
When the KHL first entertained the idea of having a team in China, it was the prospect of Chinese players getting the chance to test themselves against the great powerhouses of Russian and European hockey that really excited the club’s backers.
So the trip to CSKA, one of the most resonant names in the history of the sport, was a big day for Kunlun Red Star. Stepping onto the ice with the most titled team in club hockey was always going to be a big ask, but the impressive start Dmitry Kvartalnov’s team made to the current season merely added to the challenge.
While Kunlun has acquitted itself well so far, this would be a whole new task – and one which, despite the final scoreline, the Chinese team approached in a creditable fashion.
Unable to live with CSKA’s firepower, Kunlun adopted a tactic of denying the home offense time to fire and hoping to frustrate the Army Men into errors that could be punished on the counter attack. That plan looked suspect in the 12th minute when Nikita Kvartalnov was first to the rebound after a Nikita Pivtsakin shot was saved, but even at 1-0 down Kunlun continued to work hard and frustrate the host.
True, the shot count quickly climbed for CSKA, but there were few instances when goalie Andrei Makarov was left horribly exposed and the second period brought no further scoring. Ultimately it took another youngster, Andrei Svetlakov, to give the home team a more convincing advantage when he scored early in the third stanza off Gennady Stolyarov’s pass before getting the assist on a short-handed Maxim Mamin goal to see CSKA home. Ilya Sorokin made 18 saves for his shut-out.
Avangard Omsk 0 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3
The top two in the Eastern Conference went head-to-head for the second time in two days – but once again Magnitka took the points.
Following a 3-1 victory on Monday, Metallurg claimed a 3-0 verdict on Tuesday, reducing Avangard’s lead at the top of the table to a single point.
The link-up between Sergei Mozyakin and Jan Kovar was decisive here. First Mozyakin had the assist on Kovar’s opening goal in the ninth minute. Then, 10 minutes later, the roles were reversed as Magnitka made it 2-0.
Goalie Vitaly Koshechkin returned to the Metallurg line-up despite Ilya Samsonov’s impressive performance 24 hours earlier and the experienced stopper went one better than his young apprentice by securing a shut-out after stopping 30 shots.
And as Avangard’s frustrations grew, Viktor Antipin completed the scoring in the 47th minute with a power play goal.
It all added up to a winning return for Metallurg’s head coach Ilya Vorobyov, back behind the bench for his club after returning from his role on Team Russia’s coaching staff at the World Cup in Canada.
Around the league
Maxim Shalunov scored his 10th goal of the season as Sibir edged Traktor in a shoot-out. Shalunov opened the scoring in the fourth minute but Sibir could not build on that lead. Traktor tied it up in the 53rd minute through Alexei Kruchinin but Sergei Shumakov got the shoot-out winner.
Barys enjoyed a surprise win at Sochi, sweeping aside the host 6-3. Initially Sochi seemed on course to underline its solid start to the season, taking the lead twice in the first period. But twice Barys hit back and when the teams emerged from the locker room for the second session the course of the game changed abruptly. Martin St. Pierre and Vladimir Markelov put Barys 4-2 up, then two goals in the 46th minute saw Kevin Dallman and Nursultan Belgibayev put the outcome beyond doubt despite a consolation goal from Andre Petersson.
Sergei Berdnikov is still waiting for his first win as head coach of Metallurg Novokuznetsk after Salavat Yulaev triumphed 3-0. Andrei Gavrilov made 31 saves while a goal early in the second period from Enver Lisin set the visitor on its way. Maxim Majorov and Dmitry Vorobyov wrapped up the scoring in the third. Severstal recovered from the loss of an early goal to win at home to Amur. Alexei Byvaltsev put the visitor 1-0 up in the fifth minute but Evgeny Mons was quick to tie it up. And Maxim Trunyov put Severstal in front with 10 minutes to play as the host took a 2-1 verdict.
After leading twice at Spartak, Ugra finally claimed a 3-2 victory in the third period thanks to a Pavel Medvedev goal with 2:45 to play. Earlier Denis Khlystov gave Ugra an early lead only for Vyacheslav Leshchenko to tie it up almost immediately. Then Pavel Varfolomeyev and Artyom Voronin traded second-period goals.
Torpedo edged Avtomobilist by a similar 2-1 scoreline thanks to defenseman Maxim Osipov scoring a goal that a forward would be proud of. He burst down the right, got away from the Avto defense and deked goalie Vladimir Sokhatsky onto the floor before opening the scoring in the fourth minute. Timur Shingareyev tied it up on the power play in the 10th minute but the decisive moment came on 47 minutes when Carter Ashton was sent through on the net by Danil Verayev.