Sibir Novosibirsk 1 SKA St. Petersburg 2 (OT)
SKA dropped a point for the first time since October 2, but still claimed victory over Sibir after overtime in Novosibirsk.
The table-topping Petersburg team began its Siberian excursion with a hard-fought battle to solve rookie goalie Alexei Krasikov, back between the piping following an injury to ex-SKA man Alexander Salak.
Czech international Salak may not be the last of Sibir’s injury worries: Maxim Shalunov picked up an injury in the first period of this game and could miss the next two weeks.
On the ice, Krasikov made 39 saves as Sibir proved resilient in the face of some severe SKA pressure, but eventually cracked in the 38th minute, allowing Nikolai Prokhorkin to tie the scores with a short-handed effort.
A couple of minutes earlier, the home team was celebrating as Joonas Kemppainen gave Sibir the lead. Adam Polasek’s shot deflected off the Finn’s skate and, despite protests from Mikko Koskinen in the SKA net, the officials ruled that there was no kicking motion to divert the disk beyond the goalie’s grasp.
SKA eventually secured a seventh straight win in the 62nd minute. Alexander Barabanov has emerged as one of the KHL’s brightest young stars this season and the 22-year-old forward picked up his 11th goal of the campaign – and his third game-winner – to settle the outcome. Recent signing Patrick Hersley claimed an assist, his first point since joining SKA from Lokomotiv.
Metallurg Novokuznetsk 1 Severstal Cherepovets 2
Alexander Avtsin was credited with his first goal of the season – but the Severstal forward had little to do with his team’s game-winner in Novokuznetsk.
It all happened in the 35th minute when Avtsin was called for interference. Kuznya retained possession and play continued, so the home team withdrew goalie Andrei Kareyev in the hope of forcing a goal on the delayed penalty.
But it all went horribly wrong: a misplaced pass caught Alexander Komaristy unawares and the puck slipped past the Metallurg forward and slid right back down the ice and into the unguarded net. Avtsin, the last Severstal player to touch the puck, was awarded the goal – and promptly sent to serve a minor for that interference infringement.
Earlier Ruslan Karlin gave Severstal a third-minute lead in more orthodox fashion before Evgeny Solovyov tied it up in the first period.
Around the league
Two goals each for Brandon Kozun and Andrei Loktionov helped Lokomotiv end a four-game losing streak – but Avtomobilist is still struggling for points after going down 3-6 in Yekaterinburg. Alexander Torchenyuk put the host in front on eight minutes, but Max Talbot soon tied it up before Kozun’s first gave Loko a first-period lead. Jan Buchtele and Stanislav Chistov traded second-period goals but Loktionov scored twice midway through the third to put the visitor in control. Rok Ticar got one back for Avto, but Kozun wrapped it up with his second of the night.
Barys scraped a narrow 1-0 victory over Dynamo Moscow thanks to a first-period goal from Kevin Dallman and 35 saves from Henrik Karlsson. The Kazakh team ended a two-game losing streak, while Dynamo drops to seventh in the West after a long run of indifferent form.
While Dynamo is defending a record of never missing a KHL playoff, Vityaz is aiming to reach post-season for the first time. And today’s 2-1 victory at Ugra saw the Moscow Region team move to within one point of its near neighbor from the capital. Nikita Vyglazov got the game-winner in the 52nd minute after Jakub Jerabek and Pavel Varfolomeyev traded markers in the second period.