Ak Bars missed the chance to return to the top of the Eastern Conference, going down 2-1 at home to Torpedo and suffering its first loss to that opponent in eight years. In Moscow, Severstal claimed its second 1-0 victory in three games as Dynamo slipped to five defeats in six. Earlier in the day, Amur continued its good run of form to beat Sochi 2-0.
Two special goals and a shut-out from Juha Metsola earned Amur a victory that moves it to within two points of a playoff place.
Oleg Li and Vladislav Ushenin lit up Monday’s game against Sochi with their second-period strikes. Li came first, in the 34th minute, with a real one-man show. Taking play into the visitor’s zone, he fired off a series of shots at Dmitry Shikin before finally getting his reward with an effort from the face-off spot. Then Ushenin took his productive run to six games, showing great composure on a solo break-out to face down the goalie, pick his spot and pot his ninth goal of the season.
It’s been a long time coming, but Torpedo finally picked up a victory in Kazan after an eight-year wait.
There was also a bit of a wait for action around either net in this game. The first period was goalless, and chances were hard to come by at both ends as the teams played cautiously. For Torpedo, thumped 5-0 at home by Ak Bars earlier in the season, it was important to stay in the game early on.
In the second period, though, the visitor did more than stay in contention. A shorthanded goal, clinically finished by Evgeny Mozer, gave Torpedo a 22nd-minute lead, then a baseball-style swing from Ivan Zakharchuk doubled the advantage midway through the game. That was a specially sweet moment for the 28-year-old, as his brother Stepan was on the ice for Ak Bars at the time.
Ak Bars hit back, with Nikita Yazkov reducing the deficit. But Torpedo held on, even after a major penalty against Gennady Stolyarov in the third period gave the home team a golden chance to level the scores.
Dynamo suffered a fifth loss in six games as Severstal boosted its playoff push with another tight win.
For the second time in three games, a solitary goal was good enough for the Steelmen, with Julius Hudacek making 29 saves to collect his fourth shut-out of the season. Admittedly, he had some help from the video: Vladimir Bryukvin believed he’d put Dynamo up in the first period, only for the visiting bench to claim offside and see itself vindicated after a review.
Things got even better for Severstal soon afterwards, when Oleg Yashin opened the scoring at the other end. Yashin was the solitary goalscorer at Lokomotiv last week, and repeated his feat of bagging the only goal of the game here.
Severstal’s win came at a price, though. Defensemen Valery Vasilyev and Vadim Kudako both suffered injuries in a crunching second period; Kudako’s clash with Dmitry Markovin saw the Dynamo man ejected from the game. Severstal now has five wins from six – and three shut-outs among them.