Sunday’s three games all involved teams that needed victories to keep up their playoff bids. Amur’s 3-1 success at home to Torpedo moves the Khabarovsk team level on points with Barys as the race for the top eight in the East intensifies. In the West, it’s ‘as you were’ as Severstal and Spartak – currently ninth and eighth – picked up road wins at Admiral and Red Star.
Severstal maintained its playoff push with a win at Admiral, and 19-year-old forward Igor Geraskin got his first goal in the KHL.
The teenage prospect tied the scores after Renat Mamashev had given the home team an early lead. Admiral, still reeling from the loss of five key players, could have extended that lead but failed to take advantage of a major penalty on Pavel Chernov, who was removed from the game for boarding shortly after Mamashev’s goal.
Geraskin tied it up soon after his team was back at full strength, and second-period goals from Oleg Yashin and Daniil Vovchenko saw Severstal take control of the game. Robert Sabolic pulled one back for Admiral in the third, but Severstal held on to take the win. The Steelmen briefly moved up to eighth place in the Western Conference, but within a couple of hours Spartak’s victory at Red Star put the Moscow team back into the playoff bracket.
Amur moved level on points with eighth-placed Barys, and could move into the playoff places if it picks up points in its two games in hand over the Kazakh team.
Sunday’s victory over Torpedo snapped the visitor’s five-game winning streak, and ended Stanislav Galimov’s unbeaten run in goal after 168 minutes. And once Galimov was beaten by Vladislav Ushenin, 28 minutes into the game, Galimov found himself quickly giving up two more goals.
Alexei Byvaltsev got both of them, doubling the home lead just 14 seconds after Ushenin’s opener, then converting a power play on 30:44 to put Amur in control. Byvaltsev moves on to 15 goals for the season, Galimov found himself recalled to the bench. Denis Parshin got a consolation goal for Torpedo in the third period, but this was very much Amur’s day.
Two quick goals in the first period ensured Spartak remained in the top eight and keeps the Red-and-Whites on course for a first playoff appearance since 2011.
Artyom Voronin was the architect of Spartak’s strong start, providing killer assists for the opening goals. First, he showed great vision to pick out the unmarked Anatoly Nikontsev, swinging a pass from one face-off spot to the other before he team-mate shot home. Then Dmitry Yudin doubled the lead, collecting Voronin’s pass and putting a wrister over Magnus Hellberg’s shoulder.
Red Star was unable to muster much of a response, and might have gone 3-0 down midway through the third period when Vyacheslav Leshchenko was tripped by Nick Schaus when clean through on goal. The visiting forward failed with his penalty shot, and briefly the home team threatened to punish that. Jaakko Rissanen got his second goal for Kunlun to halve the deficit before a penalty on Leshchenko offered a chance to tie the game. In the end, though, Alexander Khokhlachyov’s empty-net goal wrapped it up for Spartak and kept Vadim Yepanchintsev’s team ahead of Severstal in the race for the top eight in the West.