A busy day of KHL action saw Avangard and Barys get back on form after long losing streaks. Both teams won at home, but neither could manage it in regulation. Powerful second-period performances lifted Vityaz and Jokerit to road wins at Spartak and Severstal respectively, while Metallurg’s improved form continued with victory at home to Sibir. Sevestal’s loss means that SKA is already mathematically assured of a playoff place.
Amur gained swift revenge for Sunday’s shoot-out loss against Red Star, claiming a tight verdict in this game to boost its hopes of crashing the top eight.
The home team opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Vladislav Ushenin wrapped up a quick breakaway, but Red Star responded quickly when Roman Graborenko got his first goal for the club two minutes later.
Magnitka made it four wins from five to strengthen its recent revival and climb to within a point of the top four.
Sibir, seeking a victory to stay in touch with the playoff pack, made a great start when Andrei Yermakov opened the scoring in the third minute, but it wasn’t long before Metallurg drew level. The home team’s Andrei Sigaryov presented the puck to Vladislav Kaletnik, and the visiting forward skated from inside his own zone to beat Alexei Krasikov and tie the scores.
The middle stanza saw Magnitka’s Canadian connection come up with the goods. Defenseman Chris Lee fed Matt Ellison late in the frame, and his shot was too good for Krasikov. That proved sufficient to win the game; Sibir’s third-period push foundered as Vasily Koshechkin kept the home offense at bay.
Chernyshev Division leader Avangard snapped a four-game losing streak with a shoot-out success at home to Avtomobilist.
The teams tied 1-1 in regulation, with the two goals coming in quick succession in the second period. Mikhail Fisenko put Avangard ahead, but the advantage lasted barely two minutes before Michal Cajkovsky tied it up.
After that, it was all about the battle between two Czech goalies, Dominik Furch and Jakub Kovar. They proved unbeatable and as frustrations rose Avto’s Nikita Tryamkin took a game misconduct penalty with five minutes to play. Avangard failed to capitalize, caught out with a too many men call, and the game went to overtime. The extras were enlivened by a fight between Avangard’s Maxim Mineyev and Avto’s Alexei Vasilevsky, but produced no goals. In the end, with Kovar looking on, Avangard won the shoot-out after Ilya Mikheyev beat Vladimir Sokhatsky.
On the day that Russia announced its roster for the Channel 1 Cup, Barys finally posted its first victory since the break for the Karjala Cup in early November. The Kazakhs had lost seven games since then, dropping down the Eastern Conference table as a result.
But against in-form Traktor, Linden Vey’s overtime goal finally ended the unhappy sequence, snapping a 3-3 tie and completing the home team’s late recovery. Traktor led 3-2 as the third period entered its closing stages, but Nigel Dawes popped up with the tying goal seven minutes before the end. Matthew Frattin got the assist, and repeated that trick on Vey’s game-winner.
Earlier, James Wright gave Barys an early lead, and the teams traded second-period tallies through Maxim Yakutsenya and Dmitry Shevchenko. But in the final frame, Traktor threatened to prolong the agony for the host, going in front on goals from Ivan Vishnevsky and World Juniors hopeful Vitaly Kravtsov.
Ugra blew a golden chance to climb off the foot of the KHL table when it gave up a last-second equalizer and fell in overtime.
The home team seemed to be racing to victory when it fired in three goals in 10 minutes through Arkhip Nekolenko, Konstantin Mayorov and Maxim Pestushko. But Igor Skorokhodov got Lada on the board late in the first, and the visitor kept plugging away. Jiri Novotny made it 2-3 in the 39th minute and there was high drama when Stanislav Bocharov tied it up right on the hooter.
Denis Zernov went on to get the winner; Ugra closes to within one point of Dinamo Riga at the bottom of the table.
Torpedo’s home game against struggling Slovan went exactly according to the form book, with the host enjoying a comfortable win.
Jan Buchtele’s power play goal, cancelling out Yury Sergiyenko’s opener, was the only blot for Torpedo, but parity was short lived. Mikhail Grigoryev reinstated the home lead within a couple of minutes, and after that it was plain sailing.
After all the excitement of Saturday’s open-air Ice Challenge in Helsinki, it was back to the more prosaic business of a trip to the steelworking city of Cherepovets to face playoff hopeful Severstal.
The home team took the lead through Dmitry Kagarlitsky, whose impressive season earned him an All-Star call-up in last week’s fan poll, but it all turned around the middle frame. Ruslan Karlin was ejected from the game and it took just five seconds for Henri Ikonen to convert the power play chance. Jokerit could not inflict further punishment during that major penalty, but goals from Tommi Kivisto and Marko Anttila made it 3-1 to the visitor at the second intermission.
Valery Vasilyev put Severstal right back in contention with a 44th-minute power play goal, but Jokerit did not allow the host to get any closer as it closed out the win. As a side-effect of this result, Severstal can no longer match SKA’s 105-point total. With the Steelmen lying ninth in the Western Conference, that means that the defending champion is already confirmed as the first team in next spring’s playoffs.
Spartak’s recent good form came to an abrupt halt with a heavy home defeat against a Vityaz team struggling to break into the playoff places.
It was a day to forget for the Red-and-Whites, particularly in a miserable second period when they allowed four unanswered goals. Dmitry Semin had already given Vityaz the lead when Maxim Afinogenov began the middle frame with a quick-fire double. That brought Markus Svensson to the home crease, but it took less than a minute for Borna Rendulic to beat him, and Roman Horak knocked in a fifth before the second intermission.
Spartak showed some pride to reduce the deficit in the final stanza. Maxim Trunyov and Lukas Radil got the scoreline back to 2-5, but Horak’s second of the night ensured that even the most optimistic home fan had to accept defeat five minutes before the hooter. Vityaz improves to four wins from five, rekindling its playoff hopes, while Spartak remains just three points clear of the chasing pack.
CSKA piled on the pressure in Riga, but it took a solitary third-period goal to see off the Western Conference’s basement team.
Home goalie Janis Kalnins turned away 30 attempts in the first two periods – and faced 44 in total – but was finally undone by Mat Robinson’s power play goal in the 43rd minute. The Canadian defenseman powered in a shot from the blue line after an interchange involving Kirill Petrov and Bogdan Kiselevich.
CSKA’s dominance was clear at both ends: apart from the active offense, the Army Men allowed just 14 shots on Lars Johansson’s net as the Swede collected a shut-out.