Andy Potts,
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Metallurg Magnitogorsk ended a three-game losing streak after edging a home win over Dinamo Riga, while Spartak Moscow bounced back from Friday’s defeat to win 4-1 at Lada. Jokerit’s miserly defense produced another shut-out as the Finns took a 1-0 verdict against Ugra, and there were 5-1 victories for Avtomobilist and Dinamo Minsk. CSKA left it late to beat Admiral, and Traktor downed Severstal in a shoot-out.

Severstal battles back, but misses out on victory

Traktor Chelyabinsk 3 Severstal Cherepovets 2 SO (2-0, 0-1, 0-1, 0-0, 1-0)

Traditionally, Traktor has the edge at home to Severstal – its been a decade since the visitor last tasted victory in Chelyabinsk. But this time, it took a shoot-out to maintain that run of success.

Two goals from Paul Szczechura in the first period put Traktor in control, but Severstal fought back. Evgeny Mons halved the deficit late in the middle session, then Alexander Mereskin tied the scores with 10 minutes left to play.

Severstal had a great chance to win in overtime, as Traktor took two penalties, but the visitor could not take advantage. Instead, it missed out when Vitaly Kravtsov shot home the decisive effort in the shoot-out.

Mikhnov double lifts Avtomobilist

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 5 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (0-0, 3-0, 2-1)

Alexei Mikhnov led a powerful second-period performance as Avtomobilist proved too strong for Torpedo.

The forward scored two of the three goals his team managed in the middle frame, taking control of the game after a scoreless opening period. That put the Motormen on the road to a first victory in four, and had Torpedo spinning towards the end of its three-game winning streak.

Geoff Kinrade pulled one back for the visitor at the start of the third, but it had little impact on the final outcome. Yegor Milovzorov and Nikita Tryamkin added two more for Avto to wrap up a big win.

Photo: 26.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg) - Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)

Magnitka gets a much-needed boost

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Dinamo Riga 2 (3-1, 0-1, 0-0)

Metallurg’s injury crisis and concurrent loss of form has been one of the talking points of recent weeks, but gaps in the roster offer opportunities for others – and Nikita Sirotkin took advantage today.

The 24-year-old claimed his first KHL goal to set Magnitka on its way in this one, firing home from the point after just 28 seconds. The bright start continued for the host, with Evgeny Timkin’s power play effort making it 2-0 and chasing goalie Mantas Armalis from his post before the five-minute mark.

But it wasn’t to be a convincing victory, even against the KHL’s lowest-ranked team. Miks Indrasis reduced the arrears, and even after Andrei Chibisov made it 3-1, a Lauris Darzins goal and a competitive performance from the visitor ensured it remained tense until the final hooter. Metallurg held on to snap a three-game losing streak.

Clinical finishing gives Spartak the edge

Lada Togliatti 1 Spartak Moscow 4 (0-1, 1-2, 0-1)

Spartak bounced back from its defeat at Traktor to win comfortably on the road at Lada.

There was little to choose between the teams early on, although Spartak claimed a first-period lead thanks to a power play goal from Alexander Dergachyov. However, Lada tied it up early in the second when Jiri Novotny scored, also on the PP.

After that, though, the game got away from the host. Spartak showed the more clinical finishing a middle frame of few opportunities. Dmitry Kalinin and Ben Maxwell hit the target to open a 3-1 lead and, in a game where both defenses looked strong, it looked like a big ask for Lada to recover. The third period saw the Red-and-Whites tighten their grip on the game with a fourth goal scored by Lukas Radil. The victory also strengthens Spartak’s position in the Western playoff race, moving the team up to sixth.

Photo: 26.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Lada (Togliatti) - Spartak (Moscow)

Army Men made to wait against Admiral

CSKA Moscow 3 Admiral Vladivostok 1 (0-1, 1-0, 2-0)

CSKA left it late before sinking Admiral in Moscow.

The Army Men went behind in the 14th minute when Maxim Kazakov opened the scoring, despite CSKA’s dominance in the first period. Subsequently, Admiral was willing to go toe-to-toe with its high-flying opponent in an evenly-matched middle frame. However, CSKA tied it up late in the second thanks to Kirill Petrov, and ultimately managed to force the win.

The final stanza was almost one-way traffic: CSKA topped the shot count 15-3 and had by far the greater time in offensive positions. However, Admiral refused to buckle until late on. Mat Robinson’s power play goal gave the home team a 57th-minute lead, and Geoff Platt found the empty net to seal the deal, but Igor Bobkov frustrated the CSKA offense for long periods before those decisive goals.

Photo: 26.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. CSKA (Moscow) - Admiral (Vladivostok)

Palola ends Ugra’s resistance

Jokerit Helsinki 1 Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 0 (0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Jokerit made hard work of a home win against the Eastern Conference’s basement team, Ugra.

Although the Finns had the better of the play throughout, Ilya Proskuryakov proved a formidable barrier in the visitor’s net. He produced a string of good saves before Olli Palola found the answer in the 48th minute, converting Pekka Jormakka’s feed.

That was enough to win it: Karri Ramo came up with 25 saves to secure his first shut-out of the season and seal a win that keeps Jokerit well clear in third place.

Five-star Dinamo downs Sibir

Dinamo Minsk 5 Sibir Novosibirsk 1 (2-0, 0-1, 3-0)

Dinamo pulled off a comprehensive victory over Sibir, denying the visitor a return to the playoff places in the East.

Marc-Andre Gragnani and Justin Fontain got the goals as the home team dominated the first period, but the game was still alive when Vladimir Pervushin pulled one back for Sibir late in the second.

In the final stanza, though, Dinamo took complete control with three unanswered goals in the space of six minutes. Charles Linglet made it 3-1 on the power play, Sergei Drozd added a fourth, then Jack Skille completed the scoring. Skille’s goal came just 26 seconds after Alexei Krasikov came into the game in place of Sibir’s starting goalie Alexander Salak. The Czech returned to his post before play restarted.

Andy Potts,
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Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Jokerit (Helsinki) Jokerit (Helsinki)
Lada (Togliatti) Lada (Togliatti)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
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Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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