Andy Potts,
exclusive for

Two of Friday’s games delivered repeat performances, and a third produced a mirror image as several of today’s opponents met for the second time in quick succession. Dinamo Riga and Torpedo claimed repeat wins over Avtomobilist and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, while Traktor turned a 0-2 loss at Spartak into a 2-0 triumph on home ice. Lokomotiv’s rookies had too much for Red Star in China, while Avangard missed out on a share of top spot in the East after falling to Dinamo Minsk in a shoot-out.

Loko’s rookies roll over Red Star

Kunlun Red Star 1 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 (0-1, 1-2, 0-1)

A much-changed Lokomotiv line-up bounced back from defeat at Amur to inflict more misery on struggling Kunlun.

Rookie goalie Ilya Konovalov, 19, played a big role in his team’s win as he marked his KHL debut with some key saves. None were more important than an impressive early stop to deny Brandon DeFazio the first goal of the game.

The teams traded power play goals either side of the first intermission, with Jakub Nakladal firing Loko ahead before Alexei Ponikarovsky tied it up. Then came another rookie, Yegor Fateyev, to pot his first KHL goal and restore Loko’s lead. The 20-year-old was sent clean through on Magnus Hellberg’s net by Georgy Ivanov’s pass and produced a finish of great maturity to make it 2-1. Next, Alexander Kutuzov grabbed his first goal since following head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov from CSKA to Lokomotiv. The visitor had a 3-1 lead and a stranglehold on the game.

The final stanza did little to change that. Red Star looked for a way back into contention, but Konovalov and his D-men shut the door. Andrei Loktionov’s empty-netter was the icing on the Lokomotiv cake as it finished its Far East tour with a second win from three games. For the host, an 11-game home stand yielded just one victory and four shoot-out losses, a below-par run that leaves Kunlun a little way adrift of the playoff places.

Francouz frustrates Spartak

Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 Spartak Moscow 0 (1-0, 1-0, 0-0)

Traktor ended Spartak’s six-game winning run and returned to the playoff places in the East.

Home goalie Pavel Francouz proved to be a formidable barrier, making 36 saves to frustrate the visitor. The Czech was at his busiest in the final stanza, when Spartak fired in 17 shots on his net and Traktor managed just six in reply.

By then, though, the home team had built up a big enough advantage to secure the win. Alexander Sharov’s power play goal in the 18th minute gave Traktor the edge, Maxim Yakutsenya’s second-period tally offered some breathing space.

The win, which reverses the scoreline when the teams met in Moscow a week ago, moves Traktor up to seventh in the East, a point up on Salavat Yulaev and one behind Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Repeat performance for Dinamo

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 Dinamo Riga 3 OT (0-2, 1-0, 1-0, 0-1)

On Sunday, Dinamo defeated Avtomobilist in a shoot-out following a 2-2 tie in Riga. Tonight, the teams met again and produced an almost identical result. The game was locked at 2-2 after 60 minutes, and Dinamo ended up taking the verdict. The only difference was that Krisjanis Redlihs potted the winner in overtime, rather than waiting for a shoot-out.

Dinamo made a bright start, and opened a 2-0 first-period lead. Nikita Jevpalovs opened the scoring in the first minute, and Gunars Skvorcovs added another in the tenth. However, Avto was also generating plenty of offense, and continued to press for the rest of the game. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau got one back early in the second, Avto completely dominated the third and – at the very last – Alexei Vasilevsky fired a deserved equalizer with 25 seconds on the clock.

Into the extras, and Redlihs popped up to fire home the winner off a feed from his brother Mikelis.

Photo: 24.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg) - Dinamo (Riga)

Galuzin sinks Magnitka again

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 (0-0, 0-1, 1-1)

There was another repeat scoreline in Magnitogorsk, where Torpedo claimed its second 2-1 win over Metallurg in the space of five days.

In Nizhny Novgorod on Monday, Torpedo needed overtime to take the verdict; here Peteris Skudra’s team got there in regulation. Ivan Zakharchuk opened the scoring in the 36th minute and Vladimir Galuzin doubled the advantage four minutes into the final frame. Galuzin, a one-club Torpedo stalwart who has played for the team in every KHL season, now has five points from his last four games and also got the overtime winner earlier in the week.

His strike proved decisive here as well. Matt Ellison grabbed a late goal for Magnitka, but there was no dramatic recovery. Last season’s Gagarin Cup finalist is now precariously placed two points above ninth-placed Sibir in the Eastern Conference, with head coach Viktor Kozlov lamenting an injury crisis that forced him to call Artur Boltanov up from the team’s farm club to fill his bench for this game.

Zernov gives Lada the edge

Lada Togliatti 3 Severstal Cherepovets 2 (1-1, 1-1, 1-0)

Denis Zernov’s third-period goal made the difference in this encounter, with Severstal twice leading but unable to secure the points.

In the first period, Alexander Mereskin put the visitor ahead, only for Kirill Kapustin’s goal on a delayed penalty to tie the scores. In the second, the pattern repeated: Alexander Shcherbina for the visitor, Nikita Filatov for the host.

Filatov had a great chance to give Lada the lead early in the third, but failed with a penalty shot after Alexei Ugarov blocked the puck with his hand as he lay on the paintwork. The penalty attempt went wide of Julius Hudacek’s net. But Hudacek was beaten by Zernov with five minutes left as Lada claimed its first win in five.

Photo: 24.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Lada (Togliatti) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

Collins’ double defeats Neftekhimik

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 HC Sochi 3 (0-2, 1-0, 0-1)

Two goals from Sean Collins lifted Sochi to victory at Neftekhimik and put the Black Sea team back into the playoff places ahead of Dynamo Moscow.

The visitor was outgunned in the first period, but still took a firm grip on the scoring. Sochi managed a mere four shots on target, but two of them found the net. Collins made it 1-0 in the fourth minute and Evgeny Lapenkov added a second. At the other end, Dmitry Shikin made 13 saves.

Neftekhimik hit back through Damir Sharipzyanov early in the second but was unable to build on that success. Indeed, the middle frame was the only one in which Sochi created more chances. The final stanza followed a similar pattern to the first. Neftekhimik attacked, Sochi sought opportunities on the counter. Shikin denied, Sochi scored: Collins, into an empty net, to seal the win.

Tolvanen strike helps Jokerit to victory

Jokerit Helsinki 3 Admiral Vladivostok 2 (1-0, 1-1, 1-1)

Jokerit survived a late rally from Admiral to claim a tight victory and remain hard on the heels of second-placed CSKA in the Western Conference.

Pekka Jormakka gave the home team a first-period lead, but Jokerit was never allowed to look comfortable against a visitor battling to get into the playoff picture in the East. The second period saw Robert Sabolic tie the scores on the power play before Eeli Tolvanen struck once again. This time, the teenager enjoyed a routine close-range finish to make it 2-1 and claim his 17th goal of a glittering season midway through the game.

When Niklas Jensen added a third for the Finns midway through the final frame, it seemed that the game might be done. But Admiral refused to yield, going 6-on-4 to convert a late power play through Dmitry Sayustov and running the same tactics moments after when Masi Marjamaki took a penalty for the host. This time, though, Ryan Zapolski came up with the big save when it was needed and Jokerit held on for the win.

Dinamo denies Avangard a look at top spot

Dinamo Minsk 3 Avangard Omsk 2 SO (1-0, 1-2, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Avangard fluffed its join Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars on 65 points after suffering defeat in Minsk.

The home team led twice before claiming the spoils in a shoot-out thanks to Jack Skille’s successful effort and a trio of saves from Jhonas Enroth.

Earlier, Skille had an assist as Alexander Kogalev – recalled to the team after helping Dinamo’s farm club, Yunost, qualify for the IIHF Continental Cup finals – put the Bison ahead in the seventh minute. The second period saw Avangard respond with a power play goal from Maxim Mineyev, but Quinton Howden quickly restored the home advantage.

Another power play tally from Evgeny Medvedev – assisted by former Dinamo man Andrei Stas – levelled it up again before the second intermission and it stayed that way until the shoot-out despite the visitor gaining a power play during overtime.

Andy Potts,
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