Andy Potts,
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Ak Bars handed a thumping home defeat to Torpedo after scoring on every power play it enjoyed in Nizhny Novgorod. Spartak Moscow set a club record attendance of 11,300 for its victory over Salavat Yulaev, while more than 11,000 fans went to Sochi’s Bolshoy Dome to see the home team defeat Severstal 4-1. The day’s final game saw Dinamo Riga defeat Neftekhimik.

Power play scoring lifts Ak Bars over Torpedo

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 Ak Bars Kazan 7 (1-2, 0-4, 2-1)

Ak Bars exacted maximum punishment for Torpedo’s indiscretions, scoring on all three of its power plays on the way to a crushing 7-3 victory.

The serious damage came early on. Twice in the first 10 minutes, Torpedo found itself a man down. Twice, Ak Bars took advantage. Goals from Vladimir Tkachyov and Jiri Sekac put the visitor 2-0 in front, and saw both players claim their 100thpoints in regular season KHL action.

Not to be outdone, Yegor Dugin converted a power play chance for the host, but the second period saw the Kazan team take complete control. Atte Ohtamaa added a third, getting his first goal in 11 games while fit-again Justin Azevedo picked up the first of his two assists on the night. Nikita Yazkov and Anton Glinkin stretched the lead further before Tkachyov got his second of the night to make it 6-1 at the second break.

Torpedo salvaged some pride in the third, although there was no hope of a fightback. Ivan Zakharchuk pulled one back and Gennady Stolyarov added a short-handed marker as Ak Bars enjoyed a third power play. But it wasn’t long before the visitor made the most of that advantage as well: Vasily Tokranov added a seventh, assisted by Alexander Burmistrov in his first game since returning to the club.

Photo: 04.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) - Ak Bars (Kazan)

Stoa delights Spartak’s record crowd

Spartak Moscow 3 Salavat Yulaev 2 (0-0, 2-2, 1-0)

A club record crowd of 11,300 came to the VTB Arena to see Spartak boost its playoff hopes with a valuable win over Salavat Yulaev.

Ryan Stoa’s goal, four minutes into the third period, sent most of that crowd home happy as the American snapped a 2-2 tie and decided the outcome of the game. It was something of an individual effort, collecting a pass from Artyom Podshendyalov in the corner and battling his way along the goal line before finishing off with a backhander over Andrei Kareyev.

Earlier, Spartak led twice but saw the visitor hit back. After dominating a goalless opening frame, the Red-and-Whites opened the scoring through Podshendyalov 72 seconds after the restart. Enver Lisin tied it up, but it wasn’t long before Alexander Khokhlachyov restored the advantage. It looked like Spartak would go into the intermission ahead, until Philip Larsen saw his speculative shot get through understudy goalie Alexander Trushkov.

Photo: 04.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Spartak (Moscow) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

Lugin double downs Severstal

HC Sochi 4 Severstal Cherepovets 1 (0-0, 2-0, 2-1)

Sochi’s hockey arena, built for the 2014 Winter Olympics, hosted a bumper crowd at the start of this Olympic year … and the home team responded with an emphatic win against one of its playoff rivals.

More than 11,000 fans came to the game, and they saw two goals from Dmitry Lugin take this game away from a Severstal team in danger of slipping off the playoff pace in the closing stages of the campaign. Instead of a victory that would have moved the visitor just one point behind Sochi, Spartak and Dynamo Moscow, this result means the Steelmen are four points adrift of the top eight.

After a cagey opening, Lugin’s goals in the first half of the middle frame put Sochi in control. Eric O’Dell added a third early in the final session before Alexander Bumagin hit back to give Severstal a bit of hope with 13 minutes to play. The visitor took the game to Sochi in the closing stages, forcing 17 saves out of Konstantin Barulin in that third period, but Sean Collins added an empty net goal to wrap up the win for Sochi.

Dinamo’s rally frustrates Neftekhimik

Dinamo Riga 2 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 (0-1, 2-0, 0-0)

Dinamo Riga, currently at the foot of the KHL table, began 2018 with a victory to frustrate Neftekhimik’s push for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

When Oleg Piganovich put the visitor in front in the third minute, it looked like it might be another long evening for the Latvians. Instead, though, the home team responded with a lively performance to claim a tight win in an entertaining clash. The opening period was littered with penalties – including a 5+20 for Nikita Filatov in his second appearance for the visitor – but in between the referees’ whistles, Dinamo peppered Ilya Ezhov’s net.

That pressure paid off in the second period, with goals from Frenks Razgals and Brandon McMillan giving the home side the lead. And then it was down to goalie Janis Kalnins, who shook off the disappointment of giving up that early goal to deny the visitor with 17 saves in the third period.

Andy Potts,
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Related clubs

Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
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