Lada Togliatti 2 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 5
Gilbert Brule scored three to lead his team to a morale-boosting victory.
Neftekhimik’s struggles this season have seen three different head coaches – and the current man behind the bench, Andrei Nazarov, had managed just one win his four games at the helm so far.
But the trip to Togliatti helped get the team back in gear thanks to a game-winning display from the Canadian forward. Brule scored in the 39th, 44th and 54th minutes, stifling a late rally from Lada and ensuring that his team took the points without undue alarm.
Earlier Pavel Poryagin and Bogdan Yakimov gave Neftekhimik a 2-0 lead in the first period; Brule’s goals were punctuated by replies from Lada’s Vasily Streltsov and Maxim Rybin.
The result keeps Neftekhimik in contact with the race for a playoff spot: the team has 35 points from 30 games, three shy of Lada and five adrift of eighth-placed Barys, Nazarov’s previous club.