Nizhny Novgorod (17:00)
Avangard is the new leader of the Chernyshev Division following a 3-2 win at Lokomotiv, while Ugra’s new head coach Anatoly Yemelin celebrated victory in his opening game when Pavel Varfolomeyev gave his team an overtime triumph at Sochi. Elsewhere, there were 2-1 home wins for Kunlun and Traktor.
Two power play goals - one early, one late – gave Kunlun a victory that lifted it to second place in the Chernyshev Division.
Avtomobilist made a good start, with Alexei Mikhnov hitting the post early on before Alexei Vasilevsky fired a powerful long-range shot past Magnus Hellberg to open the scoring. But the lead was short-lived: Avto took a penalty and Geoff Kinrade poked home the tying goal after Wojtek Wolski’s shot caused confusion in front of Jakub Kovar’s net.
Hellberg was the busier of the two goalies for much of the game, but after Alexander Torchenyuk was ejected for tripping Kyle Chipchura, Red Star got on top. Brandon Yip got the winner with four minutes left to delight the home crowd in Shanghai.
Traktor came from behind to defeat Barys and make it three wins in a row.
The visitor took the lead late in the first period when Vladislav Nikulin tipped in a shot from Alexander Lipin. Having shaded the opening exchanges, Barys probably deserved that advantage, but it would prove to be the highlight of the game.
Traktor never looked dominant in this game, but a combination of strong goaltending from Vasily Demchenko – who finished with 39 saves – and clinical finishing from Richard Gynge on the power play early in the second ensured that the scores were tied going into the final stanza.
Then, with 12 minutes left, Alexei Petrov produced the play of the game, deking past Matt Frattin and picking out Alexei Kruchinin in space at the far post. Kruchinin despatched a one-timer beyond Henrik Karlsson, and Traktor had its winner.
Avangard went top of the Chernyshev Division with victory in Yaroslavl, but Lokomotiv’s problems continue with a fourth straight loss.
But Avangard responded in the middle session with Kirill Semyonov tying the game on the power play before Alexander Perezhogin made it 2-1 in the 34th minute. The lead might have been greater but for Alexei Murygin in the home goal as the visitor piled on the pressure.
Murygin was beaten once again late in the third as Loko hit more penalty trouble. Yegor Martynov profited this time, finding the twine with a wrist shot from the blue line. Max Talbot gave Loko hope in the 59th minute, but his goal could not inspire a grandstand finish.
During the week, Ugra became the first team to wield the axe this season, dismissing head coach Igor Zakharkin and his colleagues. Anatoly Yemelin stepped in behind the bench, ironically replacing the man who, two seasons earlier, had taken over his job as head coach at Salavat Yulaev.
Yemelin’s first task was to stop the rot. Eight successive losses pushed Ugra down the Eastern Conference table and a win was badly needed to restore some confidence among the players. That victory arrived beside the Black Sea, but it was a hard-fought affair in Sochi.
Ugra twice led in regulation on goals from Veli-Matti Savinainen and Konstantin Mayorov. Twice, though, the visitor was pegged back by the Sochi power play: Ruslan Pedan and Sean Collins found the net.
Into overtime, the game was settled by a penalty shot. Pavel Padakin’s pass was intercepted by Pavel Varfolomeyev, and the Sochi man compounded his error by hauling down the Ugra forward as he shaped to shoot. Varfolomeyev picked himself and calmly beat Konstantin Barulin to settle the outcome.