Saturday was a day for strong goaltending. In the first game of the day, Juha Metsola pulled off 36 saves to deny Avangard and help Amur to a 1-0 victory. Then, in the final action, Vasily Koshechkin stood between Vityaz and a surprise result at Metallurg: the goalie made 42 saves as his team won 3-1. Elsewhere, Matthew Frattin gave Barys an overtime win over Kunlun, Kirill Kaprizov’s late goal saw CSKA victorious at Avtomobilist and there were successes for Traktor and Admiral.
Juha Metsola was Amur’s hero as the Khabarovsk team silenced Avangard on home ice.
The Finnish goalie made 36 saves to claim his first shut-out of the season – and the 13th of his KHL career – and earn his team victory over the Chernyshev Division leader.
Oleg Li got the game’s only goal, converting Alexei Byvaltsev’s feed midway through the second period to add further substance to Amur’s upswing in fortunes. The team has now won five of its last six games but remains some distance away from the playoff places in the East.
Matthew Frattin’s overtime goal handed Barys victory after a lively game against Kunlun – but the visitor was left ruing its failure to close out the game as it slipped to a fourth successive defeat.
Initially, Barys made all the running. The home team scored twice in the opening stanza, with defenseman Yegor Shalapov potting his first career KHL goal in the fifth minute and Linden Vey doubling the lead in the 20th. Then came a fight: relations between Barys and Kunlun have been fractious in the past – remember the notorious Damir Ryspayev incident last pre-season – and this game saw Brandon DeFazio pick a fight with Artyom Likhotnikov as the intermission approached. Once the dust had settled, the quarrelsome duo were joined by Joonas Jarvinen and Dmitry Shevchenko in the sin bin.
The skirmish seemed to galvanize Red Star in the second period, and two goals inside 90 seconds put the visitor level. Gilbert Brule got the first, quickly followed by an assist on Andrei Kostitsyn’s equalizer.
Brule’s evening got even better when he shot Kunlun in front in the 49th minute, with Wojtek Wolski completing a hat-trick of assists. But DeFazio was destined for a repeat of his earlier indiscretions and was ejected from the game for slashing. The Canadian forward ended up with a total of 42 PIMs; Barys took its chance on the power play to tie it up through Roman Savchenko. Then, in the last minute of overtime, Frattin grabbed the winner to make it three victories in a row for the home team, and four successive defeats for the visitor.
Shock therapy seems to be working for Admiral. Since the departure of head coach Alexander Andriyevsky, the Sailors have won both games under the interim navigation of Fredrik Stillman.
At Ugra, another team that has enjoyed a lift after a change in coaching personnel, Maxim Kazakov’s power play goal late in the first period set things moving. Further indiscipline from the home team saw Admiral convert a 5-on-3 power play when Viktor Alexandrov scored in the 28th minute.
Traktor climbed to within two points of a playoff spot after edging past Slovan.
Alexei Kruchinin’s goal in the 26th minute made all the difference. The winner came on a breakaway; Danil Mamayev sent Kruchinin off to the races and he burst into enemy territory before picking out a shot from the face-off circle to beat Marek Mazanec and make it 2-1.
Metallurg had to come from behind to record its fifth win in six games.
Roman Horak gave Vityaz the lead in the ninth minute, converting from close range after escaping the shackles of the home defense.
That lead endured until the middle stanza, when Yaroslav Khabarov’s long-range effort was too hot for Igor Saprykin to handle. Khabarov then collected an assist as Evgeny Biryukov put Magnitka in front in the 40th minute.
Oskar Osala added a third in the 45th minute, giving the scoreline a more comfortable look for Metallurg, but this win owed much to Vasily Koshechkin’s goal tending. He stopped 42 shots as Vityaz generated plenty of offense but failed to turn chances into goals when it counted.
Kirill Kaprizov’s late goal handed CSKA victory at Avtomobilist, despite the home team leading twice earlier in the game.
Kaprizov struck in the 55th minute, stuffing the puck home from close range as CSKA turned the screws on the power play.
That was the first time the Army Men hit the front in this game. Evgeny Chesalin gave Avto the lead in the third minute after Georgy Misharin’s defense-splitting pass, only for Kirill Petrov to force home an equalizer on another power play.
Nikita Tryamkin reinstated the home lead in the 17th minute with a powerful shot from the point, and this time Avtomobilist remained on top until early in the third period. But then Greg Scott drew CSKA level once again and Kaprizov settled the outcome in the visitor’s favour.