Amur Khabarovsk 2 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 5

Avtomobilist gave its playoff hopes a boost with a comfortable victory in the only KHL game of the day. While most hockey fans in Russia were looking forward to the start of the Channel 1 Cup in Moscow, where the Red Machine takes on Sweden this evening, Amur attracted another big crowd in Khabarovsk. For the home team, languishing in 13th place in the East, there may be little more than pride to play for this season but the visitor needed a win to keep in touch with the top eight. Thus motivated, Avtomobilist hit top gear in the second period, scoring four unanswered goals to take complete control of the game. Vladimir Krikunov’s team was already 1-0 up at the first intermission thanks to a power play goal from Dmitry Megalinsky, but that was just the prelude. First, Michal Cajkovsky, a 24-year-old Slovakian defenseman, composed his first KHL goal in the 27th minute with a thumping effort from the blue line after Dmitry Monya and Alexander Tochenyuk wove havoc in the visitor’s zone. Two minutes later Artyom Gareyev added a third and when Monya and Torchenyuk combined once again to set up a power play goal for Tommi Kivisto the home side switched goalies. The new man, Ilya Andryukhov, once a squad member at Atlant, has only made one KHL start, but he limited Avtomobilist to just one further goal. Alexei Vasilevsky made it 5-0 late in the second, effectively confirming Amur’s third consecutive defeat. Igor Rudenkov and Vladislav Ushenin managed consolation goals in the final stanza, but the game was long gone. Avto’s victory moves it to 52 and lifts it to 10th place. But the Yekaterinburg team remains three points adrift of Admiral and Neftekhimik in seventh and eighth respectively, and has played more games than all its immediate rivals for a playoff spot.

Andy Potts ,
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