Ak Bars chose not to rush Danis Zaripov into the roster for Saturday’s game against Barys, but forced a 2-0 victory over one of its rivals at the top of the Eastern Conference. Vityaz tasted success at home to Dynamo for the first time since 2009, while Slovan enjoyed a resounding win at home to Amur.
There was no role for Danis Zaripov, cleared to play for Ak Bars after his drug ban was reduced from two years to six months, but the four-time Gagarin Cup winner watched the Eastern Conference leader picked up a handy win against a fellow high-flyer.
The visitor has been full of goals this season, and Emil Garipov’s shut-out was crucial to Ak Bars’ victory. That defensive feat was a team effort, with Barys limited to 21 shots on target, and there was help from the officials when Linden Vey’s effort late in the second period was ruled out for an infringement on the goalie.
At the time, the game was still goalless. Ak Bars made the most of its reprieve to take the lead just before the second intermission on a Rob Klinkhammer goal. That was his first tally for Ak Bars following his early-season move from Dinamo Minsk and it proved decisive. Anton Glinkin scored an empty-net goal to wrap up the win; Garipov’s fifth shut-out of the season is a personal best for the goalie.
Croatian forward Borna Rendulic had three points as Vityaz won a home game against Dynamo for the first time in eight years.
The Croatian’s double strike made it 3-1 to the host in the 47th minute, giving Vityaz the belief that it could at last overcome one of its longest-standing bogey teams. But there were some nervous times ahead. Dynamo twice made it a one-goal game, with youngster Alexander Petunin continuing his impressive form with two more assists. Igor Ignatushkin and Dmitry Vishnevsky found the net either side of Roman Horak’s marker for Vityaz. However, Dynamo’s final bid to tie the game was thwarted by an empty-net goal from Anton Lazarev.
Amur’s home stand came to an end, and the Far East team made its longest trip of the season to Bratislava. Unfortunately, the Tigers’ left much of their bite behind, and suffered a heavy loss.
Initially, things were tight. Zach Boychuk’s first-period goal gave the host a slight advantage, but Alexei Byvaltsev tied it up in the 28th minute. Parity lasted a matter of seconds, though. Michal Sersen put Slovan back in front and Lukas Kaspar made it 3-1 at the end of the middle frame.
Colby Genoway added a fourth before Boychuk’s second made it 5-1 early in the third. After two goals in his first 11 games for Slovan, the former Sibir man now has five in three games. A late power play goal from Alexander Frolov was little consolation for Amur.