The two main streaks of the early weeks of the season continued on Monday. At the top of the table, SKA made it six games without loss after a thumping 5-0 victory at Spartak. At the foot of the standings, Dinamo Minsk went to Severstal and suffered its sixth consecutive loss to remain the only team without a victory so far. Dynamo Moscow and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl picked up road wins at Torpedo and Dinamo Riga respectively.
Andrei Kuteikin gave Dynamo the lead with an early power play goal – a close-range effort by his standards as the ‘red line king’ struck from inside the Torpedo zone. But the host hit back to lead at the first intermission through a power play goal from Rinat Mamashev and Tomas Kundratek’s goal following a scramble in front of Ivan Bocharov’s net.
Bocharov, 22, was making his first ever KHL start, and finished up on the winning team. That was largely due to a dominant second-period show from the Blue-and-Whites, with three unanswered goals.
Daniil Tarasov had a hand in all three. First, he combined with Juuso Hietanen to set up a breakaway goal for the Finn. Then he got a touch to take Ilya Nikulin’s shot past home goalie Ivan Lisutin. Finally, he had another helper as Nigel Dawes scored with one second left on the clock to make it 4-2 at the second break.
Torpedo, shell-shocked by allowing two goals in the final minute of the period, struggled to get back into the game. The home team managed just eight shots on Bocharov’s net in the third as Dynamo closed out its fourth straight win.
Ilya Kovalchuk made it seven goals in six games as SKA stretched its winning start to six games this season with an emphatic display at Spartak.
The home team, buoyed by some promising form of its own, had hopes of springing a surprise for Oleg Znarok’s team, but ended up outclassed by a powerful Petersburg display.
The first period brought two goals, and two points from Viktor Tikhonov. He assisted on Patrik Hersley’s opener then made it 2-0, 13 seconds before the hooter. Kovi then scored twice in the middle frame, one on the power play, a second late in the session.
SKA’s dominance was complete – the shot count finished 42-19 in the visitor’s favor, and there was still time for Dinar Khafizullin to add a fifth in the final minute of play. Right now, SKA looks unstoppable.
Daniil Apalkov’s goal 110 seconds from the end gave Lokomotiv a narrow victory in Latvia.
A hard-fought game looked destined for overtime until the forward took matters into his own hands. Collecting a feed from Yegor Averin just outside the Dinamo zone, Apalkov advanced into the danger zone and saw a shooting lane open up for him. Going early, he launched his effort over Justin Peters’ glove to snatch victory for his team.
Earlier, Loko had taken the lead in the third minute through defenseman Jakub Nakladal. The Czech punished Dinamo’s first penalty of the night, but then found himself watching from the box as Georgijs Pujacs tied the game for the host in the 14th minute.
Dinamo Minsk’s search for a victory continues after dropping a tight verdict at Severstal.
The home team got the early goal through Pavel Chernov in the fourth minute as the Belarusians were punished once again on the power play. But Dinamo kept battling – sometimes a little too enthusiastically for the officials’ liking – and it remained a one-goal game until the third period.
The action heated up. Dinamo had a goal disallowed because the puck crossed the line after the whistle had gone. Then the visitor’s Rob Klinkhammer was ejected from the game for spearing. But out of misfortune, the team conjured an equalizer in the 51st minute when Alexander Pavlovich tied the game. Not even an appeal from the Severstal bench could deny that one. Maybe Dinamo’s luck had changed?