Two out of three games on Tuesday ended in shut-outs, and the third was less than 90 seconds away from following suit. The meanest goalies were in Chelyabinsk, where Avtomobilist beat Traktor 1-0 in overtime. Spartak also fired blanks at home, going down 3-0 to Slovan, while in Zagreb, Medvescak defeated Ugra 4-1, with the visitor grabbing a consolation goal on 58:44 to spoil Michael Garnett’s day.
Avtomobilist kept its playoff hopes alive with a tight victory over a Traktor team which has now seen its last five games settled by a single-goal margin.
Goaltenders Ivan Lisutin and Pavel Francouz were on top throughout, as the game went goalless through regulation. Lisutin made 42 saves for Avtomobilist, and Francouz turned away 36 shots on the Traktor net.
But on 64:04 the visitor snatched a game-winner thanks to Stanislav Chistov. As well as a lack of goals, the game reached overtime without seeing a single penalty called. That impressive run of good behavior ended in the 62nd minute when Derek Roy took a minor for hooking while his opponent, Alexander Romanov, followed him to the sidelines for simulation.
Head coach Milos Riha, whose ever-engaging presence can now be found behind the bench at Slovan, is one of the most popular figures in Spartak’s recent history. His returns to Moscow with his subsequent charges have always earned him a warm welcome … and tonight that extended to events on the ice.
Spartak failed to threaten Barry Brust’s net, while Igor Musatov grabbed two goals at the other end to send the Red-and-Whites spinning to a seventh successive defeat. Brust stopped 23 shots for his shut-out.
Nick Plastino assisted on both of Musatov’s goals, which came in the seventh and 21st minutes. Slovan’s third was something of a collector’s item: Tomas Kundratek scored in the 38th minute during a rare passage of 4-on-3 play in regulation time. Slovan made it five wins in a row and is now just three points adrift of the playoff spots.
The home team skated to a comfortable victory here, but the game was overshadowed by the sad sight of Ugra’s captain Konstantin Panov being stretchered off the ice in the third period.
The incident came in the 53rd minute, when Medvescak forward Samson Mahbod crunched Panov into the boards. The experienced Ugra man stayed down, and ultimately needed assistance to get off the ice. Mahbod was not penalized for the hit, but Medvescak’s Thomas Larkin and Ugra’s Roman Lyuduchin were given minors for roughing in the aftermath of the collision.
Earlier Colby Genoway scored twice in the first period to set Medvescak on the road to victory. Kirill Voronin added a third at the midway stage and Jiri Smejkal made it 4-0 in the 46th minute. Ugra never gave up, and piled the pressure on Michael Garnett’s net in the third period. Finally the visitor got its reward when Pavel Valentenko potted a late consolation goal to deny Garnett a shut-out despite his 39 saves.