Avangard Omsk 2 CSKA Moscow 3
It took barely a week for CSKA to avenge its overtime loss at home to Avangard as Sergei Andronov’s late goal snatched a 3-2 win for the Army Men. Andronov struck in the 58th minute, snapping a 2-2 tie when he got a stick on Nikita Pivtsakin’s shot from the blue line and deflected the puck past the heavily screened Dominik Furch.
It was also a big night for Valery Nichushkin, who got an assist on Andronov’s goal to go with his second-minute opener. The former Traktor prodigy is now up to 3+6 points since returning to Russia from Dallas Stars, and is clearly intent on delivering his undoubted potential in this season’s KHL. And Alexander Popov, for so long a hero to Avangard fans, had a trip back home to remember as he got his 150th career goal and his first ever against his home-town team. It came in the 33rd minute, after Derek Roy had cancelled out Nichushkin’s opener. Valentin Pyanov got the other Avangard goal in the 39th minute.
CSKA’s win moves it back within one point of SKA at the top of the KHL table. Avangard has now lost its last three but remains second in the East, on top of the Chernyshev Division.
Medvescak Zagreb 2 Ak Bars Kazan 1
Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars headed way out West to Croatia – and slipped up in a game it had enough chances to win.
The visitor started brightly, but was hit by a sucker punch in the fifth minute when Brandon McMillan scored from Medvescak’s first shot of the game.
Fyodor Malykhin tied the scores on the game’s first power play in the 14th minute but after a goalless middle stanza Tomas Mertl added to his first-period assist with the game winner in the 49th minute.
Amur Khabarovsk 4 Salavat Yualev Ufa 5 (SO)
Amur’s Czech forward Tomas Zahorna was left frustrated by defensive lapses as his team suffered a shoot-out defeat at home to Salavat Yulaev. Zahorna opened the scoring for the host in the fifth minute, and further goals for Vyacheslav Ushenin and Jan Kolar helped Amur to a 3-1 lead late in the second period.
But then it all went wrong. “We played well for 39 minutes, then we made two mistakes and the score was 2-2. They told me it all happened in just 40 seconds,” lamented Zahorna after the game.
The forward’s disappointment was understandable. Kolar got Amur’s third on 38:59, but by 39:34 the scores were level. Kirill Kaprizov, blossoming in a more competitive roster in Ufa, and Igor Makarov both found the net to tie it up.
Things got even worse for the home team when Evgeny Bodrov made it 3-4 midway through the final stanza but Vyacheslav Litvochenko salvaged a point when he tied it at 4-4 with four to play.
But the shoot-out was settled by Maxim Mayorov after Zahorna and Vladislav Ushenin fluffed their chances for Amur and had to settle for one point when three had seemed within reach.
Jokerit Helsinki 4 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1
With the team suffering a patchy start to the season, Jokerit’s fans needed something to lift them as Torpedo came to Helsinki.
Last season the Nizhny Novgorod team dumped Jokerit out of the playoffs in a fractious series; this time Torpedo is riding high in the Western Conference while the Finns face a battle to clinch a top-eight berth.
So Sakari Salminen’s opener after 38 seconds – coming off an assist from recent signing Antti Pihlstrom – was a huge boost to the home team. Torpedo got back on level terms through Daniil Ilin, but this time Jokerit was ready to push on.
Second-period goals from Tomi Maki and Brian O’Neill gave the host a convincing lead before Jesse Joensuu wrapped it up in the third. A big win for Jokerit, and a big boost for the team’s confidence.
Around the league
Neftekhimik romped to victory at Slovan after Gilbert Brule marked his debut with the opening goal. The former Medvescak man got things rolling in the fourth minute and added two assists as Richard Gynge and Dan Sexton stretched the lead to 3-0. Evgeny Grigorenko and Sergei Konkov also scored in the 5-2 victory; Tomas Zigo and Kyle Chipchura got Slovan’s replies.
HC Sochi needed an overtime winner from Yury Alexandrov to see off Dinamo Minsk. The defenseman, signed last week from Avangard, snapped a 1-1 tie in the 63rd minute. Earlier Eric O’Dell gave the home team a first-period lead but Alexander Pavlovich got Dinamo level late in the second.
Spartak snatched a shoot-out win at Dinamo Riga as two of the Western Conference strugglers met. Artyom Voronin gave Spartak the lead early in the second period before Patrick Mullen tied it up. Vadim Bernikov settled it in the shoot-out.