HC Sochi produced the performance of the day, going to St. Petersburg and silencing SKA’s record-breakers. Sean Collins got the game-winning goal 20 seconds into overtime as SKA’s winning streak ended after 20 successes. It was also a memorable day for Dynamo Moscow’s Mikhail Varnakov, who scored two goals and a shoot-out winner against Ak Bars, his former club. Elsewhere, Mikhail Smolin’s first ever KHL goal helped Torpedo to victory against Dinamo Riga, Salavat Yulaev’s blistering start burned Dinamo Minsk, Loko won at Neftekhimik and Severstal edged Spartak in overtime.
Dinamo’s hopes of putting its long losing streak firmly behind it were hit by two goals either side of the second intermission.
The Latvians, buoyed by victory at Slovan last time out, travelled to Torpedo in search of a second success to start banishing memories of that 14-game losing run. But the home team had other ideas and finally turned its pressure into a decisive advantage as the game reached its closing stages.
Torpedo had dominated the shot count throughout, but was locked at 1-1 after Nikita Jevpalovs’ power play goal cancelled out Mikhail Smolin’s opener. Smolin, just 20, marked his first appearance of the season with his first ever KHL goal, but it fell to his more experienced team-mates to secure the win.
It all happened within a couple of minutes of the second break as Dinamo ran into penalty trouble. First, Gennady Stolyarov made it 2-1 in the 39th minute. Then, after the visitor took another penalty early in the third, Denis Parshin sealed the victory in the 43rd.
Neftekhimik’s bright start has been one of the highlights of the Eastern Conference so far, while Lokomotiv has struggled to produce its best form in the West. But when the teams met on Wednesday, the result went to the men from Yaroslavl.
Rushan Rafikov gave Loko the lead in the ninth minute, but the home team tied it up through Dan Sexton midway through the game. Rafikov then played a big role as Petri Kontiola made it 2-1 on the stroke of the second intermission. He made a key interception to launch a counter-attack with a fine pass to Daniil Apalkov; Apalkov picked out Kontiola for a close-range finish.
Another quick break early in the third saw Apalkov find the net – and goalie Alexei Murygin claim an assist. That was too much for Neftekhimik, and the home team failed to find a way back into the game.
Dmitry Kagarlitsky’s overtime goal gave Severstal the edge in this one, and lifted the Steelmen back into the top eight.
Daniil Vovchenko gave Severstal a first-period lead, but Spartak turned it round in the second with goals from Artyom Voronin and recent signing Artyom Podshendyalov. However, Pavel Chernov tied it up and, for the fourth time in seven games, Severstal was going to overtime.
This one was settled in 30 seconds: Chernov won the puck in center ice and sent Kagarlitsky off to the races for his ninth goal of the season.
The record is over. After 20 consecutive wins, SKA finally tasted defeat. HC Sochi proved the unexpected conqueror, arriving in St. Petersburg to upset the reigning champion in overtime.
Sean Collins got the vital goal just 20 seconds into the extras. He collected Sergei Shmelyov’s feed to the back post and outwitted Mikko Koskinen to stun a capacity crowd in the Northern Capital and claim a hard-working victory. The stats told the story: Sochi blocked 18 shots as it soaked up the pressure, and won more of the big hits. It wasn’t always pretty, but this was no stolen victory.
Indeed, Sochi might have clinched victory in regulation. The visitor led until the 52nd minute when Vyacheslav Voynov tied it up at 2-2, smashing in a slap shot from the point that took a deflection and wobbled through Dmitry Shikin’s glove.
That spared SKA in a game that had started out looking fairly routine. Despite the absence of Pavel Datsyuk once again, the home team went in front in the eighth minute as Sergei Plotnikov converted the first power play of the game.
But Sochi refused to play the patsy. In the second period, the visitor hit back. Ilya Khokhlov tied it up in the 25th minute before Evgeny Lapenkov’s one-on-one break made it 2-1 before the second break.
Much of this game was about Ben Scrivens enjoying his return to Belarus. The former Dinamo Minsk man was on top form until the 57th minute, keeping the home offense at bay and revelling in a comfortable 4-0 lead for his team.
But in the closing stages, Dinamo got the measure of its ex-goalie. Yegor Sharangovich pulled one back on 56:38, and the jitters really started on 58 minutes when Jack Skille made it 2-4. For many teams, holding a two-goal lead for two minutes would be routine; Salavat Yulaev has struggled of late, and with confidence still fragile, could be forgiven for fearing a dramatic collapse.
It all seemed much easier at the start. Enver Lisin and Mikhail Yunkov helped the visitor jump into a 2-0 lead inside the first seven minutes, before Linus Omark added a third late in the opening session. Scrivens’ replacement at Dinamo, Jhonas Enroth, had faced five shots and allowed three goals. He did not reappear for the second period.
Enroth’s understudy, Mikhail Karnaukhov, was beaten after 84 seconds on the ice as Igor Makarov made it 4-0. Soon after, he saw Denis Kokarev hit the post but gradually settled into the game and denied Salavat any further goals. That late flurry offered some hope for the home team, but the visitor saw out the win.
Mikhail Varnakov waited until his former club came to town before grabbing his first goals for Dynamo.
The forward, who enjoyed four seasons in Kazan, struck twice in this one as the teams took it to overtime. Then he finished his day by grabbing the shoot-out winner to snap Dynamo’s four-game losing streak.
Varnakov opened the scoring late in the first period, looping the puck over Emil Garipov’s grasp after Juuso Hietanen slid it into the danger zone. Then, after Vasily Tokranov tied the game early in the second, Varnakov struck again. This time, he had just emerged from the box at the right time to collect Yakov Rylov’s pass from deep in Dynamo territory. Through one-on-one with Garipov, Varnakov won the duel to reinstate his team’s lead.
Ak Bars responded with a power play goal from Andrei Markov but neither team could break the deadlock without a shoot-out.