Andy Potts,
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Vadim Shipachyov got his 500th KHL point with a goal and an assist in SKA’s 6-2 win at Traktor. The other Army club, CSKA, also enjoyed itself on the road with a 7-0 win at Vityaz. But Dynamo’s playoff hopes took a blow with defeat at Lada. Elsewhere, Avtomobilist returned to the top of the Eastern Conference, Sibir climbed into the top eight at the expense of Amur, and German Titov enjoyed a 4-0 win in his first game behind the bench for Avangard.

Sibir climbs into top eight

Admiral Vladivostok 2 Sibir Novosibirsk 3 OT (1-0, 1-0, 0-2, 0-1)

Sibir moved into a playoff place thanks to victory in Vladivostok, but the team had to do it the hard way after falling 0-2 behind.

Goals from Vladimir Butuzov and Yegor Yakovlev – the latter getting his first since returning to the club from Dynamo Moscow – put Admiral in control in the early stages, and that lead lasted until deep into the third period.

But in the last 10 minutes, Sibir upped its game. Ivan Vereshchagin gave the visitor hope when he halved the deficit in the 52nd minute, and the defenseman had a hand in the tying goal 15 seconds before the hooter. Alexander Bergstrom got that one, firing home from an acute angle after Vereshchagin’s shot was blocked. That makes it 10 goals and six assists in 12 games for the in-form Swede.

The winner came from another forward finding his game. Rok Ticar settled it in overtime after Renat Mamashev got tangled up in his own zone. After failing to score in spells with Torpedo and Avtomobilist this season, the Slovenian international now has three goals in his last four games for Sibir.

Avangard impresses in front of Titov

Amur Khabarovsk 0 Avangard Omsk 4 (0-1, 0-3, 0-0)

For the second game running, Avangard picked up a 4-0 road victory – and this time new head coach German Titov was behind the bench.

Titov had to miss his team’s win at Kunlun Red Star due to visa problems, but there were few difficulties in Khabarovsk as Avangard put a dent in Amur’s playoff hopes. Yegor Martynov opened the scoring in the ninth minute, and the Omsk team never looked back.

The middle frame was conclusive: Avangard scored three without reply and put the game out of reach. Semyon Koshelev and Dmitry Kugryshev found the net early in the frame, then Ilya Mikheyev added the fourth on the power play. Koshelev picked up two assists as well as his goal, Dominik Furch made 18 saves for his fifth shut-out of the season. Avangard tightens its grip on top spot in the Chernyshev Division; Amur slips to ninth behind Sibir, but has two games in hand.

Red Star’s bright finish defeats Ugra

Kunlun Red Star 2 Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 1 OT (0-0, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

Kunlun tied this game up seconds from the end, then grabbed the winner seconds into overtime to come out on top in a clash of two Eastern Conference strugglers.

Both teams are some way out of the playoff reckoning, and for much of the game there was no scoring. However, Ugra took the lead in the 52nd minute through Pavel Varfolomeyev’s power play goal.

That looked set to be the winner until the final minute. The home team’s final, desperate surge on the Ugra net saw Brandon Yip tie the scores with 36 seconds left to play. Then, just 17 seconds into overtime, Rinat Ibragimov got the game-winner for the host.

500 points for Shipachyov

Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 SKA St. Petersburg 6 (0-4, 1-1, 1-1)

Vadim Shipachyov got his 500th KHL point as the league leader enjoyed a comfortable road win.

The forward got a goal and an assist as SKA ran riot in the first period, and that was enough to bring up the landmark. Since returning to the KHL after his brief spell in Vegas, the forward has 19 (8+11) points from 15 games.

Shipachyov opened the scoring in the fourth minute to kickstart a powerful first period performance. Maxim Karpov doubled the lead a minute later, and Sergei Shirokov added a third before Shipachyov assisted on a Nikita Gusev goal to make it 4-0 at the first intermission.

Traktor’s troubles continued after the break when Patrick Thoresen got the first of his two goals to make it 5-0. Paul Szczechura finally got the home team off the mark in the 36th minute. Thoresen and Igor Polygalov then traded goals early in the third period as SKA cruised to victory.

Avtomobilist back on top

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 Dinamo Minsk 0 (1-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Avtomobilist returned to the top of the Eastern Conference after edging a tight game against Dinamo. The visitor was hoping to close on the playoff places in the West, but could not find a way past Jakub Kovar in the home net.

The Czech made 26 saves to keep the Belarusians at bay, but at the other end Avto found it hard to solve Jhonas Enroth. Only a power play goal from Ilya Krikunov in the 16th minute separated the teams in a tense encounter.

Dinamo came closest to an equalizer midway through the third period when Justin Fontain got away on a 2-on-2 breakout and dinged a shot against Kovar’s helmet. But the home team secured the points with an empty net goal from Yegor Milovzorov.

Super start for Magnitka

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 (3-0, 0-0, 1-1)

Metallurg wasted no time in taking control of this game, scoring twice in the second minute on its way to a comfortable victory.

Oskar Osala opened the scoring on 1:14, and Loko’s problems increased when Sergei Mozyakin added a second 22 seconds later. The nightmare start continued: Alexander Sudnitsin replaced Alexei Murygin between the piping, but was quickly beaten by Andrei Chibisov. Magnitka led 3-0 after just 160 seconds of game time.

Things slowed down after that, and there was no further scoring until deep into the third period. Alexander Yelesin got one back for Loko in the 55th minute, but Metallurg had the final word when Denis Kokarev scored an empty-net goal.

Lada defeats Dynamo, but suffers injury blows

Lada Togliatti 3 Dynamo Moscow 1 (1-1, 1-0, 1-0)

Lada’s home victory over Dynamo was overshadowed by injuries to goalie Ilya Ezhov and forward Jiri Novotny.

Head coach Artis Arbols warned that the knocks sustained by his players in Friday’s game could spell the end of their seasons. Novotny was the first to leave the ice, picking up an injury in the fifth minute and forcing the team to reshuffle. But Ezhov’s injury, sustained under a heavy hit from Dynamo goalscorer Vladimir Bryukvin in the 49th minute, looked to be the more serious. Bryukvin received a 5+20 for boarding, Ezhov was unable to complete the game.

Despite those injury problems, Lada took the win with goals from Igor Skorokhodov, Artyom Alyayev and Denis Zernov.

Photo: 05.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Lada (Togliatti) - Dynamo (Moscow)

CSKA stomps past Vityaz

Vityaz Moscow Region 0 CSKA Moscow 7 (0-3, 0-2, 0-2)

The Army Men marched to a convincing victory over Vityaz, rattling up seven unanswered goals in Podolsk.

Sergei Andronov started the rout after two minutes, and Mikhail Grigorenko added two more first-period goals to leave the home team reeling. Igor Ozhiganov and Kirill Petrov extended the lead in the middle frame, and there were further tallies from Greg Scott and Ivan Telegin in the third as CSKA dominated from start to finish.

Vityaz managed 21 shots at Ilya Sorokin, but the young goalie kept them at bay to record his seventh shut-out of the season.

Photo: 05.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Vityaz (Moscow Region) - CSKA (Moscow)

Andy Potts,
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