Ak Bars Kazan 4 Jokerit Helsinki 2
Ak Bars, inconsistent of late, bounced back from Monday’s third-period collapse against Dinamo Minsk to see off a Jokerit team that is also struggling to click into gear in the early weeks of the season.
Justin Azevedo was the star man for the home team, scoring the opening goal and adding two assists in a lively encounter at the Tatneft Arena. Azevedo struck in the 15th minute, getting the first of the night’s power play goals.
That lead endured until the midway point in the game when Jokerit levelled with a power play goal of its own from Michael Keranen. But Azevedo got involved again with an assist on Alexander Svitov’s 37th-minute marker to keep Ak Bars in front.
Two goals early in the third settled the outcome. Another power play effort saw Azevedo help Jiri Sekac make it 3-1 before Andrei Chibusov got the only even-strength goal of the night for 4-1. Jesse Joensuu’s late consolation could not save Jokerit from a second successive defeat.
Dynamo Moscow 3 Vityaz Podolsk 0
It’s rare to see Vityaz among the teams pushing for a playoff spot, but under the guidance of Valery Belov the Podolsk team went to Dynamo in search of a fifth straight win. That mission, if achieved, would also lift Vityaz above the Blue-and-Whites in the table.
But if Vityaz’s form was cause for optimism, Dynamo’s was more concerning. The home team bounced back from two shut-out losses by edging Lokomotiv in overtime last time out, but had to look back to September 10 for its last win in regulation.
In the event, though, it was the home team that had the edge in this one. Goalie Alexander Yeryomenko was in fine form between the piping to shut-out Vityaz with 21 saves while, at the other end, Dynamo began creating chances more freely.
Ultimately a goal in each period settled the outcome. Ivan Igumnov, a 20-year-old prospect, opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. Semyon Kokuyov doubled the lead in the 35th minute, getting a neat backhand flick on Maxim Solovyov’s slap shot, and Denis Kokarev completed the win with an empty net goal.
Around the league
Dinamo Minsk’s winning run continued with a success at Lada. The Belarusians twice trailed in the goal but Matt Ellison tied it up at 2-2 in the 47th minute with his fourth goal in as many games before Alexander Materukhin got the winner. Materukhin now has 6+3 points from the last six games, Dinamo has six wins from seven and moves into the playoff spots.
Neftekhimik scored two early goals to set up a 3-1 win over Dinamo Riga. Nikita Shchitov and Igor Polygalov gave the home team a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes. Mikelis Redlihs got one back for the Latvians but Tomi Sallinen completed the scoring.