SKA St. Petersburg 6 Slovan Bratislava 1
SKA powered to its 10th successive victory after a crushing second-period show left Slovan powerless to respond.
The Slovaks, under the guidance of former SKA head coach Milos Riga, proved obdurate opposition early on. Despite giving up an early power play goal to Evgeny Dadonov, the men from Bratislava tied the game in the 18th minute thanks to a Michal Hlinka goal.
But that resistance was emphatically ended when the Army Men rattled up five unanswered markers in the second stanza. Anton Belov got the go-ahead goal in the 24th minute before yet more penalty trouble saw two goals in 75 seconds take the game away from Slovan. Patrick Hersley got his first since joining SKA from Lokomotiv, firing home a one-timer off Vadim Shipachyov’s pass. Then Yegor Yakovlev got his first of the night, converting the rebound from Ilya Kovalchuk’s shot.
Nikita Gusev got SKA’s fifth, his team’s first even strength score of the night, then Yakovlev made it 6-1, beating Barry Brust at the second attempt. Brust did not return for the third period, where Justin Pogge made 11 saves to keep the scoreline down. He was beaten just once, by Alexander Barabanov, but that effort was ruled out for encroachment into the crease. SKA gave Igor Shestyorkin the final eight-and-a-half minutes of game time, helping the young goalie’s development.
CSKA Moscow 3 Medvescak Zagreb 1
While St. Petersburg’s Army Men were in fine form, their Moscow colleagues faced a more difficult mission to subdue Medvescak.
All the scoring here came in the final stanza after the two goalies dominated the first 40 minutes – and it was Medvescak that stunned the home crowd by opening the scoring. Edwin Hedberg got the goal, just, as his shot sneaked its way through Ilya Sorokin’s defenses and just got over the line before Alexander Kutuzov could clear.
But two goals in nine seconds turned the game around and gave the scoreline a more predictable look. Jan Mursak tied the scores, and straight from the restart CSKA went up the ice and took the lead through young Semyon Koshelev. Nikita Pivtsakin added a third goal in the last minute, with Mursak’s assist giving him a second point on the night.
Ak Bars Kazan 2 Barys Astana 1
Fyodor Malykhin and Mikhail Varnakov both had a goal and an assist to fire Ak Bars back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
The home team did its scoring early: Varnakov broke the deadlock in the 12th minute off a Malykhin helper, and the favor was duly returned two minutes later to make it 2-1.
Barys hit back in the middle session through Martin St. Pierre, and home goalie Stanislav Galimov ended up making 27 saves to preserve his team’s advantage.
For Ak Bars, victory meant overtaking Metallurg Magnitogorsk at the top of the table; Barys, despite a big improvement on a 0-4 home reverse against the same opponent three weeks ago, remains second from bottom.
Around the league
Avtomobilist continued its upturn in form with a 5-2 win at Neftekhimik. The Motormen recorded a third straight victory after coming from behind. Nikolai Timashov and Alexei Simakov scored in the 12th minute to cancel out Pavel Kulikov’s opener. The second period brought goals for Alexander Torchenyuk and two for Petr Koukal as Avto took control of the game.
Admiral came from behind to win a hard-fought Far East derby at home to Amur. The Sailors trailed Maxim Kondratiyev’s 17th-minute goal until the final stanza. Viktor Alexandrov finally forced the equalizer in the 41st minute, forcing home the rebound from Daniil Kurashov’s shot. Then Vladimir Tkachyov got the winner with 10 minutes to play after a poor clearance allowed Ivan Gavrilenko to get the puck back to the Amur net.
Lada made a bad start to its game with Ugra, but recovered to win 4-3. Pavel Varfolomeyev and Evgeny Lapenkov put the visitor 2-0 ahead after just seven minutes, but second-period goals from Vasily Streltsov, Yefim Gurkin and Anton Shenfeld turned the game around for the host. Denis Zernov made it 4-2 early in the third; Lapenkov’s second of the night came too late to save Ugra.