Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Avangard Omsk 3
Avangard won this clash of the big Siberian rivals, adding to the pressure on Sibir’s playoff bid.
The host welcomed leading scorer Sergei Shumakov back to the roster, but he was unable to add to his 33-point haul this season. Sibir’s only goal came late on when Alexei Glukhov potted a late consolation effort in the 58th minute. By then, though, the game was gone. Sibir was left cursing its luck in the sixth minute as Avangard went in front with a freakish goal credited to Erik Gustaffson. The Swede fired in a shot from the point and struck lucky with a deflection off Dmitry Lukin’s skate to open the scoring.
That stifled the home team’s bright start, and once Avangard had withstood a testing first period, the Chernyshev Division leader never really looked back. Anton Burdasov made it 2-0 in the middle stanza, finishing off a breakaway led by Pyotr Khoryakov before Nikita Nikitin finished it off with a power play goal in the third, firing home Alexander Kucheryavenko’s pass from behind the net to convert a 5-on-3 advantage.
Sibir’s defeat keeps Andrei Skabelka’s team one point outside the playoff spots. To make matters worse, the team has played 40 games, more than any of its immediate rivals.
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 Barys Astana 4
Barys picked up three valuable points in the race for the top eight after edging Avtomobilist by the odd goal in seven.
Both teams welcomed back key players after injury, with Anatoly Golyshev of Avto and Nigel Dawes of Barys back in their respective rosters, but the scoring came from elsewhere.
Barys took control in the first period. First Ivan Kuchich opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a backhand finish after a solo rush. Then Roman Starchenko doubled the advantage, firing home from close range after excellent work from Evgeny Rymarev cut through the home defense.
The home team responded in the second period, with goals from Artyom Gareyev and Alexei Simakov, but in between Corey Trivino surprised Igor Ustinsky to score a short-handed goal. That was the end of the Avtomobilist goalie’s evening, but not the end of the scoring. Konstantin Pushkaryov finished the middle stanza with a fourth Barys goal, beating Vladimir Sokhatsky despite claims of offside from the home bench.
Gareyev claimed his second of the night on the power play early in the third to keep the game alive after Barys took two penalties in quick succession, but that was as close as the home team got to saving the game. The Kazakhs held on to move up to 50 points, two behind eighth-placed Neftekhimik but with a game in hand. Avto is now six points adrift of the all-important top eight.