Saturday’s big game lived up to its billing with SKA edging Jokerit in overtime after a seven-goal thriller. Another intriguing match-up, Dmitry Kvartalnov’s second clash with CSKA after moving to Lokomotiv, also went the distance before Daniil Apalkov gave the Railwaymen an overtime win. Mikhail Varnakov was the day’s key individual performer, blasting a hat-trick as Dynamo Moscow won comfortably at Vityaz, while Nigel Dawes produced a game-winning double for Barys at Torpedo.
Mike Keenan came within 31 seconds of celebrating his 68th birthday with his 100th victory in KHL regular season action … but Viktor Alexandrov crashed the party.
Red Star was leading 1-0 thanks to a shorthanded goal from Cory Kane early in the second period, but could not see out the victory. Instead, Alexandrov bundled home that late, late leveller to take the game to a shoot-out. Then the same player got the decisive goal to hand Admiral its first win in three games.
This was the big one. SKA, out in front of all comers, against Jokerit, unbeaten in 15 and threatening to deliver some dominance in the Western Conference. And the game lived up to its billing.
Three times, Jokerit forged ahead. Three times, SKA pegged the Finns back. Deadlocked at 3-3 after 60 minutes, it fell to Pavel Datsyuk to conjure up the game-winning goal 61 seconds into the extras. Nikita Gusev made it, holding off the challenge of John Norman before floating a perfectly weighted backhand pass to Datsyuk. With plenty of space on the ice in this 3-on-3 overtime format, the Magic Man needed no second invitation: that deadly wrist shot flashed in from the circle, and the game was done.
Jokerit, which came here full of belief that it could put down a real marker in the battle at the top of the West, was left frustrated by the outcome of a game it could have won. Ahead three times, the visitor was barely two minutes away from claiming the points in regulation when a power play goal from Sergei Kalinin spared SKA’s blushes. Ilya Kovalchuk’s pass picked out Kalinin unmarked at the far post; the forward despatched the chance with some finesse.
Earlier, Jokerit took a 29th-minute lead in an even game. Mika Niemi got the opener, but Sergei Shirokov’s power play marker tied it up. Then Vyacheslav Voynov’s one-timer cancelled out Niklas Jensen’s goal for the visitor, making it 2-2 at the second intermission. Antti Pihlstrom put the Finns in front once more midway through the final stanza, but Jokerit was unable to hold out for the victory.
Dmitry Kvartalnov’s second game as Lokomotiv head coach ended in a heavy defeat against his former club, CSKA. Today, he avenged that loss with an overtime victory in Moscow thanks to Daniil Apalkov.
Apalkov’s goal was a worthy winner, with the forward going coast-to-coast and revelling in the space that opened up before him as he circled through the Army Men’s zone. The finish was clinical, a backhand to beat Lars Johansson.
Both teams led in regulation, and both saw a player ejected. Loko’s Yegor Korshkov was the first to go, banished from the ice in the 12th minute for a high hit. Maxim Shalunov converted the power play to give CSKA a first-period advantage.
But after the midway point, Loko hit back with goals from Alexander Polunin and Alexander Kadeikin. The host tied it up with another power play goal, this time from Kirill Kaprizov, but failed to build on that momentum after losing Mat Robinson late in the second period.
Mikhail Varnakov continued his hot streak with a hat-trick at Vityaz, taking his scoring run to seven goals in five games.
The former Ak Bars man got the first three goals in this one, opening the scoring in the ninth minute and adding two more in the second period as Vityaz struggled to turn some early opportunities into a consistent offensive threat.
The home team did threaten a fight back late on when Alexander Nikulin pulled one back early in the third, but Dynamo sealed it with an empty net goal from Vladimir Bryukvin and a power play effort from Ilya Nikulin.
Ben Maxwell scored twice to lift Spartak past Ugra in this clash of two struggling teams.
The former Sochi man tied the scores at 2-2 in the first period and gave the Red-and-Whites a lead for the first time in the game when he made it 3-2 after 48 minutes. Vyacheslav Leshchenko extended that advantage for the home team before Konstantin Panov pulled one back for Ugra.
A solid second-period performance was enough to keep the Chernyshev Division leader on winning form.
The game was tied at 1-1 after 20 minutes, with Artyom Manukyan’s first KHL goal giving the Hawks a lead before Alexander Bumagin tied it up for the Steelmen. Manukyan, 19, was the leading scorer in last season’s MHL youth league, and is now making his first steps in the senior game.
Not for the first time, Nigel Dawes was the difference-maker in a Barys win. The captain scored twice – both late in the game – to turn defeat into victory at Torpedo.
The home team was leading 3-2 when Dawes got his first of the night in the 56th minute, then this season’s leading goal scorer got the overtime winner after 40 seconds of the extras.
Earlier, Torpedo led three times, thanks to goals from Denis Parshin, Gennady Stolyarov and Kaspars Daugavins, but Roman Starchenko and Darren Dietz replied to keep Barys in the game before Dawes settled the outcome.