This season’s star rookie, Eeli Tolvanen, took the plaudits yet again with a goal and an assist in Jokerit’s 4-2 win over Torpedo. Dinamo Riga earned its first point since August, but still went down to its 13th straight loss after falling to CSKA in overtime. Elsewhere, Vityaz won 5-3 at home to Spartak and Slovan edged Severstal in a shoot-out.
In-form Jokerit made it 10 wins in a row … and Eeli Tolvanen potted his tenth goal of the season to the delight of the Helsinki crowd.
The 18-year-old got a goal and an assist here – for the third game running – to take his season’s tally to 18 points from 14 games. His first contribution came on the opening goal, firing in a shot that was stopped on the slot where Brian O’Neill stuffed home the rebound. Then, after Gennady Stolyarov brought Torpedo level, Tolvanen reinstated Jokerit’s lead on the stroke of the first intermission. He collected a Sami Lepisto pass and surged into the face-off circle before unleashing his trademark wrist shot past Stanislav Galimov.
In the second period, Tommi Huhtala extended that lead as Jokerit claimed its third power play marker of the night, but Timur Fatkullin’s one-timer ensured it was a one-goal game going into the final session. That finale saw Tolvanen go close more than once – in total he had seven shots on goal and 13 attempts in the game – before Masi Marjamaki hit the empty net to seal the deal for the Finns.
Dinamo Riga replaced head coach Sandis Ozolins with Girts Ankipans – the latter on an interim basis – after 12 successive defeats. Ankipans took charge for the first time in Moscow and presided over a battling performance … but still ended on the losing side.
The early stages of Dinamo’s new era were not encouraging: Kirill Kaprizov put CSKA up in the fourth minute, and it felt like the Latvians were in for more of the same. But the visitor was galvanized, and drew level through a Roberts Lipsbergs goal just 19 seconds later. Soon, it got even better for Riga, when Miks Indrasis power play strike in the 11th minute made it 2-1. Was Ankipans in line for a dream start?
Not quite. In the second stanza, CSKA turned the screws. Andrei Kuzmenko tied the scores in the 23rd minute and the rest was one-way traffic. The shot count read 22-1; Janis Kalnins stood on his head to keep the scores tied against the odds.
The game remained level until overtime; the third period was a fair less flamboyant affair with just 14 shots between the two teams. The tie at least gave Dinamo its first point since August, but the Latvians’ resistance was finally ended in the 64th minute when Valery Nichushkin potted the winner.
Vityaz trailed twice before winning an entertaining game against Spartak.
The visitor got the only goal of the opening session through Alexander Khokhlachyov, but the game came alive after the interval. The teams traded scores in the 25th minute, with Maxim Afinogenov tying it up on the power play before Ville Lajunen re-established Spartak’s lead. However, further Vityaz efforts from Alexei Makeyev and Stanislav Romanov gave the host the advantage after 40 minutes of play.
Afinogenov picked up his third point of the night with an assist on Dmitry Semin’s goal to make it 4-2, and Roman Horak added a fifth before Lukas Radil pulled one back for Spartak late on. This win lifts Vityaz to ninth in the West.
Tomas Hrnka was Slovan’s hero with a shoot-out winner and two goals in regulation. The Bratislava team emerged victorious from a lively encounter after Hrnka was the only player to find the net in the extras.
In regulation, the lead changed hands repeatedly. Severstal was up in the first minute through Adam Masuhr, but trailed at the first intermission after goals for Hrnka and Michal Hlinka. The middle session belonged to the visitor, and Daniil Vovchenko and Dmitry Kagarlitsky made it 3-2 to the Steelmen, but Slovan responded early in the third when Hrnka got his second of the night and Jan Buchtele made it 4-3.
Kagarlitsky then had a great chance to tie the game with a penalty shot on 52:55, only to be denied by Marek Mazanec. However, Severstal only had to wait another seven seconds before Nikolai Stasenko’s goal ensured a share of the points. The visitor then dominated overtime, aided by a penalty called on Slovan’s Simon Despres, but failed to find a winner.