Andy Potts,
exclusive for

At the top of the Eastern Conference, Sibir and Neftekhimik are making the early running after improving to flawless 3-0 records in the first week of the season. Sibir left it late before snatching a 2-1 win over Severstal; Neftekhimik edged past Kunlun by the same scoreline thanks to two points from Dan Sexton.

At the other end of the scale, Spartak, Dinamo Riga and Amur all claimed their first wins of the season after hitting their scoring stride on the road. Between them the trio potted 16 goals: previously they combined for just three in six games.

Pervushin’s late winner sinks Severstal

Sibir Novosibirsk 2 Severstal Cherepovets 1 (0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

Sibir maintained its perfect start to the season – but had to wait until 27 seconds from the end before snatching its third win in a row.

Vladimir Pervushin got the goal that snapped a 1-1 tie and denied Severstal its third consecutive spell of overtime. The 31-year-old forward fired in a one-timer from the deep slot off Alexander Sharov’s feed, surprising Julius Hudacek with the early shot and claiming a dramatic victory.

Not for the first time this season, Severstal had grounds to feel hard done by. After two overtime defeats on individual defensive errors, the Steelman produced another battling display only to be outdone at the last. After a goalless first period, Matej Stransky put the visitor up with his first goal for the club in the 21st minute. That lead lasted until Sharov scored on a power play just before the intermission, but Severstal looked more threatening for much of the final stanza.

However, Alexander Salak continued his good early season form with 16 saves in that third period, and Pervushin’s late strike gave Pavel Zubov’s team another victory.

Photo: 26.08.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

Another OT win for Avangard

Avangard Omsk 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 OT (0-0, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0)

Avangard continued its unbeaten start to the season with a second successive overtime win. Danil Faizullin, making his first appearance of the campaign, got the decisive goal in the 64th minute after good work from Kirill Semyonov behind the net.

That completed a fightback for Andrei Skabelka’s charges: Torpedo took a second-period lead thanks to summer signing Denis Parshin. The former Salavat Yulaev man added to his two assists from his Torpedo debut when he pounced on a puck that bobbled through Vitaly Menshikov’s legs and allowed the forward a clear run on Dominik Furch’s net.

Torpedo held that lead until the 56th minute, when Maxim Berezin shot through traffic from the point and saw his effort find the net, apparently off the legs of a visiting defenseman.

Unusually, this game was officiated by a three-man team with a single referee and two assistants. The second referee scheduled to take charge suffered an injury on the eve of the game and was unable to skate.

Photo: 26.08.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Avangard (Omsk region) - Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)

Indrasis double brings victory for Dinamo

Barys Astana 3 Dinamo Riga 5 (0-3, 1-1, 2-1)

Last season Miks Indrasis had to wait until November to get his first goal for Dinamo Riga. This time, he has three goals in his first three games – and a double in Astana lifted the Latvians to their first victory under head coach Sandis Ozolins.

In an opening stanza strewn with penalties, Dinamo took advantage of two power plays to seize control of the game. Indrasis got his first in the eighth minute, then Karl Stollery doubled the lead on a 4-on-3 PP. Indrasis added a third in the 16th minute, and Barys – which had shut out Spartak on Thursday – was all at sea on defense.

Indrasis then assisted on Dinamo’s fourth goal, with Danny Kristo finding the net in the 34th minute. The home team’s plight was so acute that a power play late in the middle session saw head coach … pull goalie Sergei Kudryavtsev in a bid for a goal: the gamble worked, Kevin Dallman reduced the deficit. Early in the final stanza, the ploy paid off once again as Darren Deitz got his first goal for his new club during another 6-on-4 session, but it was third time unlucky with eight minutes to play when Gunars Skvorcovs scored an empty netter with his team on the PK.

Anton Sagadeyev made it 3-5, and Kudryavtsev returned to the bench once again for the final 75 seconds, but Dinamo held on to secure the win.

Salavat pays the penalty

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 Amur Khabarovsk 5 (0-2, 2-1, 2-2)

Amur’s offense had managed just one goal in two games – but it finally clicked to hand Erkka Westerlund his first defeat in charge of Salavat Yulaev.

A roller-coaster of a game saw the teams share nine goals, with Amur’s Ushenin twins sharing two goals and four assists between them as the Tigers took their first win of the season on the back of four power play goals.

For 25 minutes it was largely one-way traffic: Dmitry Shvidenko and Vladislav Ushenin put the visitors 2-0 up in the first period and even a Denis Kulyash power play goal could not slow the Amur tide as Oleg Gubin made it 3-1 with his second of the season, assisted by both the Ushenins.

Then Salavat battled back: Denis Kokarev and Joonas Kemppainen got their first goals for the club to tie the game at 3-3 by the 45-minute mark. That hard work was squandered minutes later, though, when another Amur power play saw Vyacheslav Litovchenko reinstate the lead. The home team retaliated immediately, with Philip Larsen tying the game once again, but penalty trouble gave Amur a 5-on-3 advantage and Vyacheslav Ushenin cashed in with the game winner on 56:07.

Spartak gets off the mark

Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 2 Spartak Moscow 6 (0-2, 1-1, 1-3)

Spartak picked up its first win of the season in emphatic style, scoring six on Ugra to give Vadim Yepanchintsev his first victory as head coach.

The Red-and-Whites made a perfect start, with Viktor Komarov opening the scoring after just 25 seconds. Igor Mirnov and Alexander Khokhlachyov extended that lead either side of the first intermission, leaving Ugra in all sorts of trouble.

The home team rallied, getting back to 2-3 on goals from Vitaly Shulakov and the experienced Maxim Pestushko – the latter making his Ugra debut after arriving in Khanty-Mansiysk in the summer.

Spartak quickly snuffed out the danger: 36 seconds after Pestushko’s goal, Komarov got his second of the night. Khokhlyachov matched that feat a minute later and Lukas Radil wrapped up the win with a late goal.

Yarullin leads Ak Bars to victory

Ak Bars Kazan 4 Admiral Vladivostok 1 (0-0, 1-0, 3-1)

Ak Bars claimed its second win of the season with a clinical third period display to despatch Admiral.

The visitor held its own for two sessions, leading on the shot count despite falling behind to a 36th-minute goal from Anton Lander. The Swedish forward got his first for his new club on a power play, punishing Admiral’s failure to take its chances.

Early in the third period, the Sailors struck back with an equalizer from Robert Sabolic, but the rest of the game was dominated by Ak Bars defenseman Albert Yarullin. He claimed an assist as Alexander Svitov put the home team back in front, then supplied a helper on Anton Glinkin’s power play marker. Finally, Yarullin scored himself, another power play strike with four minutes left to put the game beyond reach.

Andrei Markov continued his successful start in Kazan, adding two assists to the one he had against Kunlun during the week.

Photo: 26.08.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Ak Bars (Kazan) - Admiral (Vladivostok)

Speedy Sexton too strong for Kunlun

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 Kunlun Red Star 1

Neftekhimik’s Dan Sexton was the KHL’s leading scorer in pre-season – and he’s taking that form into competitive action.

The pacey American had a goal and an assist today to lift his team past an obdurate Kunlun and claim a third win of the season. That took his personal tally to five (1+4) points from three games.

Sexton’s acceleration made the opening goal for Robin Hanzl, 30 seconds into the second period. He blazed a path through the Chinese defense and fired in a shot that Tomi Karhunen could only pad away to Hanzl. The Czech gobbled up the rebound for his second goal in three. Then Sexton used his pace again, charging into open ice and electing to shoot early over Karhunen’s glove.

Kunlun rallied and reduced the deficit on Brandon DeFazio’s first goal for the club. The Canadian snaffled the rebound from Andrei Kostitsyn’s shot to make it a one-goal game going into the third.

But this was Neftekhimik’s day: the home team did a good job of stifling the play in the final session to maintain its perfect start to the season.

Andy Potts,
exclusive for

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