Andrei Skabelka returned to Sibir in his new role as head coach of Avangard – and helped his team overcome an impressive goaltending display to win in overtime. There was another road win in Sunday’s other game as Nigel Dawes scored two in a 5-1 victory for Barys at Vityaz.
Andrei Skabelka enjoyed a winning return to Novosibirsk with Avangard. The former Sibir head coach took over in Omsk during the summer, and the schedule offered him an early visit to his old haunt. He emerged victorious, but only after a tight battle against his old club, for whom goalie Alexander Salak did much to remind Skabelka why he brought the Czech netminder to Siberia.
Salak’s first-period contribution was especially impressive. Avangard began the game on the front foot and dominated the early stages, but with Salak impervious at one end, Sibir went ahead at the other. The goal came on the power play when Andrei Sigaryov finished off a fine play that involved all five of the home skaters.
Avangard replied midway through the game, with Andre Petersson scoring in a 5-on-3 power play. The visitor’s pressure was so intense that Sibir could not manage a single shot on goal during the session, but the third period proved more competitive. However, neither team could find the net until overtime, when Dmitry Kugryshev – another former Sibir man – grabbed the winner for Avangard.
Nigel Dawes’ goal rush continues with two more markers in another comfortable road win for Barys. The forward has now found the net in each of the last six encounters, taking his tally for the season to 12, while Barys took its tally to 11 in two road games following a 6-0 win in Riga on Friday.
Initially, though, Vityaz looked the more dangerous team here. Alexander Pankov put the home team ahead in the 14th minute and almost added a second shortly afterwards, but that was the end of the good news. Barys tied it up through Dawes on a power play early in the second, and the game quickly swung towards the visitor. Nikita Mikhailis got his first goal of the season – and only the fourth of his career – to make it 2-1 in the 40th minute after Barys had dominated much of the middle frame.
At 22, Mikhailis looks like a player with a bright future, and the same can be said for defenseman Darren Dietz, 24. He made it 3-1 on a power play early in the third for his fifth goal and 11th point of the season. For an import in his first season in the KHL, it’s an impressive return. Dawes, though, was destined to have the final say. First he assisted on Linden Vey’s goal to make it 4-1, then he completed the scoring himself in the 51st minute as Barys enjoyed another big win.