SKA St. Petersburg 2 CSKA Moscow 0
SKA welcomed Pavel Datsyuk back into the team after injury – but it was Sergei Shirokov’s goal and Igor Shestyorkin’s goaltending that made the different in this clash of the Army Men.
Before the game, many had focussed on SKA’s powerful offense as the team looked to strike a psychological blow against its main rival in the Western Conference. But instead it was two young goalies who caught the eye as Shestyorkin and Ilya Sorokin frustrated both sets of forwards.
Shestyorkin, who is growing in composure this season as he gets more game time in place of Finnish international Mikko Koskinen, was especially impressive early in the second period. CSKA emerged from the locker room eager to reply to Shirokov’s 18th-minute marker, but found the 20-year-old hard to beat as Denis Denisov, Greg Scott and Kirill Petrov all put him through his paces. And he continued that form as the visitor dominated the final stanza, finishing the game with 38 saves for his shut-out.
At the other end, Sorokin could do little about SKA’s goal as Shirokov touched in Dinar Khafizullin’s carefully-weighted pass from the point. But CSKA’s youngster stood up well, especially as the home team created a series of chances in the first period. The home power play also caused problems: only the post saved CSKA in the 33rd minute as Evgeny Dadonov looked to punish Igor Ozhiganov’s tripping indiscretion.
But as the game wore on, the action became more concentrated in center ice. SKA sought to withstand a third-period push from the visitor, largely ignoring its offense and seeking to limit CSKA’s opportunities. That tactic paid off, thanks to more solid goaltending from Shestyorkin, and an empty net goal from Sergei Plotnikov – assisted by Datsyuk – wrapped up the win.
The three points move the Petersburg team to within a point of its Moscow rival with one game in hand.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4 Traktor Chelyabinsk 3
Chris Lee’s goal in the last minute settled a roller-coaster of a derby between these South Urals rivals.
Alexander Semin’s pass picked out the D-man in central position in the deep slot and his mighty slap shot did the rest, ending Traktor’s resistance with just 52 seconds left to play.
Traktor, the underdog going into the game, gave its highly-fancied host a real shock with two goals late in the first period to open up a 2-0 lead. Veteran D-man Alexei Petrov broke the deadlock with a rare goal in the 18th minute; two minutes later Paul Szczechura doubled the lead with a shorthanded effort.
But Magnitka hit back. Dmitry Kazionov got his first goal for Metallurg since moving from Sochi in the summer before Lee had an assist as Sergei Mozyakin tied the game with his 13th of the season just before the midway point.
When Jan Kovar made it 3-2 early in the third, again on the PP, it seemed the Traktor’s chance had gone – but Kirill Koltsov had other ideas. He tied the game in the 56th minute and seemed to have rescued at least a point for Traktor … only for Lee to snatch victory with a goal on 59:08.
Kunlun Red Star 4 Spartak Moscow 2
Finnish D-man Joonas Jarvinen got his first goals for Kunlun Red Star, helping the Chinese team to a third successive victory and completing a ‘double’ over Spartak.
Jarvinen opened the scoring with a power play goal in the 17th minute, but Spartak turned it around in the middle stanza as strikes from Ryan Stoa and Anatoly Nikontsev put the Muscovites up 2-1.
But Kunlun, especially at home, is proving to be a strong competitor in its debut season and after recent signing Linus Videll set up Tobias Viklund for the equalizer on the power play, Jarvinen was back on the scoresheet to claim the game-winner in the 53rd minute. Damien Fleury completed the scoring late on.
Around the league
Sergei Shumakov’s eighth-minute goal gave Sibir a perfect start to its trip to Avangard, but the Novosibirsk team’s miserable run continued after slipping to a sixth defeat in seven games. Evgeny Medvedev tied the scores late in the first period and the game was locked at 1-1 until Avangard won it in a shoot-out. Nikolai Lemtyugov got the decisive goal.
The games in Minsk and Riga both finished 2-2 in regulation – but both followed very different patterns. In Latvia, all the scoring was done inside 18 minutes. Lokomotiv raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to Yegor Korshkov and Denis Mosalyov but Dinamo replied through Patrick Mullen and Colton Gillies. Then there was no scoring until the shoot-out, which took an incredible 34 attempts to separate the teams. The first 12 were missed, then Daniil Apalkov and Filipp Toluzkov traded scores. After another long interval, Apalkov and Justin Shugg found the net. Finally, Shugg’s second successful conversion gave Dinamo Riga a much-needed win after five straight losses.
In Belarus, though, Dinamo needed a late equalizer to salvage something against Vityaz. Marc-Andre Gragnani tied the game with barely 90 seconds to play, cancelling out Miro Aaltonen’s second of the night for Vityaz. Earlier, Rob Klinkhammer scored for the fifth game in a row by Dinamo’s six-game winning streak was halted by Igot Golovkov 11 seconds before the end of the extras.
Another winning run came to an end in Bratislava, where Slovan struck late to halt Severstal’s five-game streak. Jonathan Cheechoo got an assist as Jeff Taffe tied the scores in the 56th minute, then made it 3-2 in the 58th. Earlier Andrej Meszaros put the host 1-0 up in the first, but efforts from Yury Trubachyov and Sergei Monakhov gave Severstal the advantage in the second.
Goalies were on top in Russia’s Far East where Thursday’s early games both finished 1-0. In Khabarovsk, Torpedo edged Amur thanks to Dmitry Shulenin’s first goal of the season. Ilya Proskuryakov made 25 saves.
In Vladivostok, meanwhile, Admiral picked up a 1-0 win over HC Sochi thanks to a fourth-minute power play marker from Robert Sabolic. That was the Slovenian’s eighth of the campaign. Igor Bobkov made 27 saves.