Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 3 Ak Bars Kazan 6
Ak Bars recovered from an awful start to claim the victory in Khanty-Mansiysk thanks to a dominant performance from its power play.
Five of the Kazan team’s six goals came while Ugra was sitting out a penalty, underlining the effectiveness of Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s special teams.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Ugra scored twice in the first seven minutes as Oleg Pogorishny and Pavel Varfolomeyev found Emil Garipov’s net. Then Ak Bars was forced to kill a penalty as the home team threatened to run riot early on.
But the visitor held on and when Fyodor Malykhin reduced the deficit late in the first period, the pattern of the game changed decisively.
The middle stanza was far more impressive from Ak Bars. New signing Steffan Elliott tied it up with a power play goal in the 37th minute before Anton Glinkin gave the visitor the lead eight seconds before the hooter, again on the PP.
Penalty trouble struck again for Ugra early in the third and Andrei Popov made it 4-2 with a power play goal in the 42nd minute. When Pogorishny was sin-binned, Ugra probably feared the worst; Alexander Svitov duly obliged with goal number five in the 53rd minute. Popov punished yet another indiscretion in 56th minute, shortly after Andrei Ankudinov got a consolation goal for Ugra.
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2
Avtomobilist finally ended a six-game losing streak to hand Nikolai Solovyov his first defeat as Neftekhimik head coach.
With the home team under pressure, Artyom Gareyev’s fourth-minute opener was just what Andrei Razin’s men needed to settle any pre-game nerves. But once again Avto’s defense showed its fragility as the lead lasted just four minutes before Geoff Kinrade tied it up.
This time, though, the home team found a bit more resilience. Niclas Andersen made it 2-1 in the 16th minute before Alexander Shchemerov added a third with a mighty one-timer from out by the boards. Ville Kolppanen was caught unawares by the shot and Avto held a comfortable lead midway through the game.
There was still time for some last-minute angst: Andrei Stas reacted fastest as the puck bounced around the Avtomobilist slot and made it 3-2 with 1:56 left to play. But Vladimir Sokhatsky denied an equalizer, stopping a Kinrade shot to nullify Neftekhimik’s best opportunity of the closing stages.
Barys Astana 2 Lada Togliatta 4
Two goals from Nikita Filatov led Lada to victory as Barys continues to struggle in the Eastern Conference.
Filatov, who seems to be producing some of his best hockey in Togliatti after several seasons of struggling to find a role at a team, opened the scoring in the 12th minute and Lada held a 1-0 advantage until the first intermission.
But the decisive passage of play came in the middle stanza. Yefim Gurkin and Evgeny Rymarev traded goals around the half-hour mark, but a quick-fire salvo from Stanislav Bocharov and Filatov extended Lada’s lead to 4-1.
Corey Trivino got one back for Barys late in the third, but there was no way back for the host.