Andy Potts,
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Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 Ak Bars Kazan 2

The latest ‘Green derby’ between these fierce Eastern Conference rivals was decided in the last five minutes – and a major penalty on Jiri Sekac late on left Ak Bars with nothing from the game.

The visitor had grabbed a 2-1 lead after a pair of quick-fire goals early in the second period. Fyodor Malykhin and Vladimir Tkachyov struck just one minute, 17 seconds apart to overturn Sami Lepisto’s opener for the host.

Salavat tied it up just before the intermission thanks to Zakhar Armastsev’s power play goal … and penalty trouble ultimately cost Ak Bars this game.

The final stanza was a tight affair until the experienced Sekac flashed an elbow into Lepisto’s face in the 54th minute. He was ejected from the game and his major penalty handed the initiative to Salavat Yulaev. Igor Zakharkin’s men needed no second invitation: Teemu Hartikainen got the go-ahead goal then Lepisto picked up an assist as Evgeny Bodrov made it 4-2.

Magnitka back on top

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 5 Lada Togliatti 3

Metallurg moved back to the top of the Eastern Conference, but the defending champion had to work hard to get past Lada.

For more than half the game there was little between the teams and Magnitka only gained a semblance of control when Denis Kazionov made it 4-3 in the 34th minute. That goal proved decisive, Oskar Osala added a fifth for emphasis in the 48th minute.

Earlier, though, Lada put up a strong performance. Nikita Filatov opened the scoring in the seventh minute, only for Sergei Mozyakin to tie the game in the first period. Nothing daunted, Anton Krysanov began the middle stanza by reinstating Lada’s lead.

Metallurg hit back with two goals in three minutes as Danis Zaripov and Bogdan Poteikhin gave the home side the lead for the first time in the game, but Lada still wasn’t done. Yefim Gurkin capped a fine individual performance with a clutch goal to make it 3-3 before the champion’s class finally told.

Jokerit gets the last laugh against Kunlun

Jokerit Helsinki 3 Kunlun Red Star 2

Two of Kunlun’s Finnish contingent found the net in their homeland – but goals from Janne Jalasvaara and Tuukka Mantyla could not save the Chinese team from a narrow defeat.

The game was important for both teams’ playoff ambitions, with Jokerit eager to return to the top eight in the West and Red Star looking to maintain its position in the East. And both teams went out looking for goals from the start in an open and entertaining game.

Jokerit struck first, converting the first power play of the game. Charles Genoway found Peter Regin, and the Danish forward did the rest. Kunlun sought to find a way back into the game and piled on the pressure at the start of the second period before tying it up with a power play goal of its own for Jalasvaara and came close to taking the lead shortly afterwards, only for a lengthy video review to rule out Martin Bakos’ effort from a tight angle.

Thus reprieved, the Finns stepped up the pace in the third period and got back in front with yet another power play goal. Genoway had the assist again as Pekka Jormakka made it 2-1 by tucking away the rebound from his team-mate’s shot. Sakari Salminen then added a third before Mantyla struck back late on to set up a tense finale. But unlike Thursday’s late recovery in Minsk, Kunlun could not find a way to tie up this one.

Around the league

A late goal from Maxim Pestushko gave Avangard a tight 3-2 verdict over Spartak in Omsk. There were less than seven minutes to play when Pestushko snapped a 2-2 tie while both teams had a man in the penalty box. Earlier Avangard led 2-0 on goals from Anton Burdasov – his fourth in three games – and Jonas Ahnelov, but Spartak scored twice in the 39th minute through Marcus Hogstrom and Matthew Gilroy.

Teams usually withdraw the goalie in a bid to recover a single-goal deficit; Neftekhimik gave it a try when trailing 0-5 at Traktor. The plan backfired, though as Alexander Sharov got his second of the night into an empty net. There were two goals for two Petrovs – Alexei and Yury – as well as markers from Konstantin Klimentov and Derek Roy. Vasily Demchenko made 34 saves for his shut-out and was the busier of the three goaltenders seen during the game.

Sibir got a much-needed boost by ending a run of six defeats with a 3-1 success at home to HC Sochi. Andrei Skabelka’s men scored a goal in each period through Alexei Glukhov, Konstantin Okulov and Stepan Sannikov. Yury Alexandrov hit Sochi’s consolation goal in the 46th minute.

Alexander Frolov scored two and added an assist to help Torpedo sink Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Vyacheslav Kulyomin and Dmitry Semin also found the net as the visitor opened up a 4-0 lead. Andrei Taratakhin and Evgeny Solovyov made the scoreline more respectable for Kuznya in the last five minutes. Dinamo Minsk ended a miserable run of five defeats with a 3-0 win over Amur. The Belarusians climb back into the playoff spots thanks to first-period goals from Rob Klinkhammer and Andrei Stepanov plus a second-period marker from Evgeny Kovyrshin. Ben Scrivens made 17 saves for a confidence-boosting shut-out.

Dinamo Riga is still rooted to the foot of the Western Conference, but there are signs of more fight from Latvia after a 3-2 win over Admiral. Edgars Kulda, Gints Meija and Georgijs Pujacs gave the home team a 3-0 lead; two goals from Andrei Sigaryov could not get Admiral back into the game. Roman Lyuduchin snapped a 1-1 tie to give Ugra its second win in three days against European opposition. This time Slovan was the victim. Lyuduchin struck in the 48th minute, four minutes after Vaclav Nederost had cancelled out Konstantin Mayorov’s opener late in the middle stanza.

Andy Potts,
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HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
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