Andy Potts,
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Three of the Western Conference leaders picked up victories on Friday, with Jokerit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the club’s foundation with a 2-0 success at home to Dinamo Minsk. Lokomotiv won on the road at Vityaz, to make it eight from 10 under the guidance of Dmitry Kvartalnov, while SKA powered past Slovan in Bratislava. Spartak took the honors in the Moscow derby against Dynamo to make it five wins in a row as the Red-and-Whites continued their improved run.

In the East, in-form Neftekhimik and leader Ak Bars both had 2-1 road win at Admiral and Kunlun respectively.

In-form Neftekhimik maintains its streak

Admiral Vladivostok 1 Neftehkimik Nizhnekamsk 2 (0-1, 1-1, 0-0)

Neftekhimik made it four wins in a row with victory at Admiral.

Czech forward Robin Hanzl got the opening goal in the sixth minute, with strike partner Dan Sexton marking his return from injury with an assist in his first appearance since October 15.

The second period saw Oleg Piganovich double Neftekhimik’s advantage – Sexton and Hanzl involved once again - before Dmitry Sayustov pulled one back for Admiral. All three goals in this game came on the power play.

Admiral threw everything into its search for a tying goal, but Ilya Ezhov made 46 saves to deny the home team a shot at overtime.

Yazkov’s strike edges Ak Bars to victory

Kunlun Red Star 1 Ak Bars Kazan 2 (0-0, 1-1 0-1)

Red Star slipped to a fourth successive defeat despite a battling performance against the Eastern Conference leader.

The opening exchanges were tight, with shots on goal at a premium in the first period. The home team made a brighter start to the second, and might have gone in front when Brandon DeFazio rattled the piping after dispossessing Andrei Markov, but Ak Bars eventually broke the deadlock in the deadlock thanks to Alexander Svitov’s power play effort.

Red Star tied the game through DeFazio – a goal created by Wojtek Wolski’s hustling and harrying of Albert Yarullin behind the visitor’s net – but Ak Bars claimed the win thanks to youngster Nikita Yazkov’s fourth goal of the season.

Three points for Belousov

Lada Togliatti 4 Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 0 (1-0, 2-0, 1-0)

Two goals from Georgy Belousov and 21 saves from Alexander Lazushin tipped this game decisively in Lada’s favor.

Belousov opened the scoring after 10 minutes, converting a 5-on-3 power play, and then picked up an assist as Denis Zernov doubled the lead early in the second. Another power play led to a second Belousov goal late in the middle stanza and Dmitry Vorobyov’s unassisted effort wrapped up the scoring in the 57th minute.

Photo: 27.10.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Lada (Togliatti) - Yugra (Khanty-Mansiysk)

Birthday bonus for Jokerit

Jokerit Helsinki 2 Dinamo Minsk 0 (2-0, 0-0, 0-0)

Friday saw the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Jokerit Helsinki – and the team rose to the occasion with victory at home to Dinamo Minsk.

After some extensive pre-game festivities, it took a little team for either team to settle into its game. Jokerit enjoyed more possession, but its pretty passing did not always generate shots on Jhonas Enroth’s net. Happily for the host, those shots that it did muster were very much on point. Jesse Joensuu slipped Brian O’Neill past a flat-footed Minsk defense for the opener in the 14thminute, then Petteri Wirtanen beat Enroth short side after Antti Pihlstrom led a rush from the opposite end of the ice.

The middle stanza saw more aggression from Jokerit, with the team’s confidence growing on the back of its 2-0 lead. Enroth produced several good saves to deny O’Neill and Peter Regin. But the third period saw the pattern of play reversed, with Ryan Zapolski needing to be at his best to stem a Dinamo revival. The American pulled off 29 stops in total to claim his latest shut-out, including a couple of game-savers late on as the Belarusians ramped up the pressure.

Loko steams on

Vityaz Podolsk Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (0-1, 1-3, 1-0)

Lokomotiv had little difficulty in overcoming a Vityaz team that slipped to eight defeats from nine games.

The second period was the decisive one: Vityaz briefly tied the game through Alexander Nikulin’s power play goal, but Dmitry Lugin reinstated Loko’s advantage within a couple of minutes. Then came two goals in a minute either side of the midway mark. Yegor Korshkov got the first, then Petri Kontiola’s touch took Ilya Lyubushkin’s shot past Igor Saprykin to make it 4-1.

Vityaz got one goal back in the third thanks to Vojtech Mozik, but Lokomotiv held out for the win to make it eight victories out of 10 games under new head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov.

Photo: 27.10.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Vityaz (Moscow Region) - Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)

Vasilyev gives Severstal the edge

Severstal Cherepovets 4 Barys Astana 3 OT (0-1, 2-2, 0-1, 1-0)

Valery Vasilyev’s overtime goal gave Severstal victory over Barys after a 3-3 tie in Cherepovets.

Vasilyev struck two minutes into the extras to settle a topsy-turvy game in which the visitor’s Canadian forwards traded goals with local heroes Alexander Bumagin and Dmitry Kagarlitsky.

The visitor went ahead after 80 seconds through Linden Vey, but early in the second period Severstal turned the game around with a pair of quick-fire power play goals from Bumagin. Vey tied it up with yet another power play marker shortly after the midway mark, but Bumagin fed Kagarlitsky to reinstate the home team’s lead in the 37th minute.

Matthew Frattin tied the scores in the third with the only even-strength goal scored in regulation but Severstal secured the win thanks to Vasilyev’s overtime effort.

Brawl overshadows Sibir’s win

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 Sibir Novosibirsk 2 SO (1-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Sibir edged Torpedo in a shoot-out – but this game was dominated by a fight in the 51st minute.

The incident started with Torpedo’s Grigory Zheldakov picking up a boarding penalty for a crunching hit on Patrik Zackrisson. That provoked an angry reaction from Sibir’s players, with Maxim Ignatovich particularly unhappy with the challenge. He started two separate fights and joined Zheldakov in being ejected from the game.

Once the dust had settled, Sibir found itself with a power play in the 54th minute and duly tied the scores through Alexander Sharov. That strike cancelled out the first-period opener from Torpedo’s 19-year-old forward Danil Veryayev.

Overtime brought no further scoring – despite Sibir having to survive two power play situations – and the shoot-out was settled by Igor Levitsky as Torpedo slipped to a fifth straight loss.

Five in a row for Spartak

Spartak Moscow 2 Dynamo Moscow 0 (0-0, 1-0, 1-0)

Spartak’s slow start to the season is fast being forgotten as the Red-and-Whites move up the table. Tonight’s derby victory over Dynamo made it five wins in a row and put the team closer to the playoff places.

The visitor – Dynamo, at least nominally, being the away team here – had the better of the opening stanza but failed to find a way past Nikita Bespalov. Then, in the middle session, Spartak forged ahead through Ville Lajunen’s power play goal. The Finnish defenseman smashed home a one-timer from the top of the left-hand circle, giving Alexander Yeryomenko no chance.

Spartak took a tighter grip on the game through Vyacheslav Leshchenko. Dynamo’s Mikhail Varnakov coughed up possession, Ryan Stoa led the break out and Lukas Radil’s feed sat invitingly for Leshchenko to rifle home a second goal in the 48th minute. Dynamo’s efforts to salvage the game were scuppered late on when the Blue-and-Whites took two penalties in quick succession. Spartak goalie Nikita Bespalov got his second successive shut-out after making 30 saves.

Photo: 27.10.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Spartak (Moscow) - Dynamo (Moscow)

SKA powers past Slovan

Slovan Bratislava 0 SKA St. Petersburg 5 (0-2, 0-2, 0-1)

SKA’s imperious form at the top of the table continued with a comfortable win on the road at Slovan.

The visitor dominated from the off, allowing just two shots on its net in the first period as it opened a 2-0 lead. Nikita Gusev got the first in the 10th minute and Sergei Shirokov doubled the lead five minutes later.

Jakub Stepanek started for Slovan against one of his former clubs, but his evening came to an end 17 seconds into the middle session after Sergei Plotnikov added a third. Incoming goalie Marek Mazanec fared little better: after five minutes in the game he picked up a tripping minor; SKA converted that power play chance with a goal from Vyacheslav Voynov.

The visitor’s control over the game continued into the third period, with Yegor Rykov adding a fifth in the 51st minute. Mikko Koskinen finished with 18 saves for his second shut-out of the season.

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