Andy Potts,
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Alexander Bergstrom got among the points for the 15th game running, helping Sibir to victory at Avtomobilist and keeping his team in the playoff places. Vasily Koshechkin completed 25,000 minutes of KHL game time as Metallurg won in overtime at Avangard. In the West, it was a good day for Dynamo Moscow in the playoff race: its 5-2 home win over Red Star came as Spartak and Severstal both dropped points.

Fifth shut-out for Francouz

Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 0 Traktor Chelyabinsk 4 (0-2, 0-2, 0-0)

Pavel Francouz celebrated his inclusion in the Czech Olympic roster with his fifth shut-out of the season to help Traktor defeat Ugra.

The goalie made 35 saves to deny Ugra, while at the other end Linus Videll and Richard Gynge did the bulk of the damage. Videll finished with 1+3, Gynge with 1+2.

Paul Szczechura opened the scoring for Traktor with his 19th goal of the season coming as early as the second minute. Videll made it 2-0 late in the first frame. The second period saw a power play goal from Nick Bailen and then Gynge’s 33rd-minute effort to wrap up a comfortable win.

Chibisov goal sinks Avangard

Avangard Omsk 3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4 OT (1-1, 2-1, 0-1, 0-1)

If one Czech goalie celebrated his Olympic call, another suffered a defeat. Avangard’s Dominik Furch lost out in overtime at home to Metallurg after a hard-fought 3-3 tie in regulation. At the other end of the ice, visiting goalie Vasily Koshechkin brought up 25,000 minutes of game time in KHL regular-season action, and finished with the W courtesy of Andrei Chibisov’s overtime goal.

From experience to new faces: Magnitka opened the scoring in the second minute when Artur Boltanov potted his first ever KHL goal, converting a Jan Kovar assist. That was cancelled out by Andre Petersson, and the second period saw Avangard twice get ahead. Kirill Semyonov and Evgeny Medvedev got the goals for the host, fit-again defenseman Grigory Dronov replied in between.

The third session saw Wojtech Wolski tie it up for Magnitka with nine minutes to play, before Chibisov scored off a Dronov assist to clinch the points.

Bergstrom keeps up scoring streak

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 1 Sibir Novosibirsk 4 (1-2, 0-1, 0-1)

Alexander Bergstrom’s assist on Sibir’s game-winner here took his productive streak to 15 games, and moved the Swede just two short of Alexander Radulov’s KHL record. It took him less than seven minutes to prolong his run, feeding Ivan Vereshchagin for a power play goal to put Sibir up in the game for the first time.

Earlier, Alexander Torchenyuk gave Avtomobilist’s hopes of overtaking Conference leader Ak Bars a boost, but that goal was cancelled out by a wonderful effort from Gleb Zyryanov. He single-handedly got around almost the whole of Avto’s team before finishing on the back hand. Surprisingly, it was his first ever KHL goal.

Avto looked to get back into the game in the second period, and only the post denied the home team an equalizer. But a defensive error at the other end allowed Stepan Sannikov to make it 3-1, and Jonas Enlund’s empty-net goal wrapped up a win that keeps Sibir in eighth place.

Another loss for Barys

Lada Togliatti 4 Barys Astana 3 OT (2-1, 0-2, 1-0, 1-0)

The end of the season probably can’t come soon enough for Barys. The Kazakh team slipped to an eighth successive defeat, and a campaign that looked so promising back in the fall is fast falling into utter disarray.

With four key players missing – James Wright, Linden Vey, Matthew Frattin and Konstantin Pushkaryov all stayed at home ahead of this week’s road trip – Barys still led twice over the course of the game. Alexei Maklyukov’s early power play goal opened the scoring, Roman Starchenko’s second-period double made it 3-2 going into the final frame.

But Charles Genoway, another upcoming Olympian, tied it up in the 54th minute before supplying the assist for Alexei Mastryukov to win it 48 seconds into overtime.

Admiral begins new era with win

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 Admiral Vladivostok 3 (0-0, 0-0, 1-3)

Another change behind the bench saw Oleg Leontiyev become the fourth man to serve as head coach of Admiral this season – and he began his stint with victory in Yaroslavl.

After two goalless periods, things looked good for the home team when Brandon Kozun scored on the power play early in the third to give Lokomotiv the lead.

But that success was short-lived: Admiral replied through Ivan Glazkov and Ivan Mishchenko before Kirill Voronin wrapped up the win with an empty-net goal.

Amur keeps up playoff pressure

Dinamo Minsk 0 Amur Khabarovsk 2 (0-2, 0-0, 0-0)

A bright start saw Amur collect three vital points to remain just one point adrift of eighth-placed Sibir in the race for the Eastern playoffs.

A sixth-minute power play goal from Tomas Zohorna put Amur up, and Oleg Li doubled that advantage towards the end of the first period. Neither side created many chances, but subsequently Dinamo would change all that.

The home team knew that only maximum points would sustain its outside chance of making the playoffs, and the second-period performance suggested that it was not about to yield lightly. However, despite out-shooting Amur 14-3, there was no way past Juha Metsola in the visitor’s goal. The final frame followed a similar pattern; Metsola ended the day with 34 saves as Amur held on.

Severstal beaten, but moves to seventh

Severstal Cherepovets 3 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 4 SO (1-1, 1-1, 1-1, 0-0, 0-1)

A shoot-out defeat was enough to move Severstal up to seventh in the West, one point ahead of Spartak and Dynamo Moscow in a tight battle for the playoff places.

An evenly-matched game saw both teams hold the lead in regulation time, but neither able to force a win. Kaspars Daugavins scored in the 56th minute, cancelling out Alexander Yevseyenkov’s effort early in the third, and that was enough to secure overtime.

Severstal finished the extras on the power play, but could not beat Ivan Lisutin, and the visiting goalie impressed in the shoot-out as well. He made four saves in all, and Denis Parshin claimed the winning goal.

SKA eases past Spartak

SKA St. Petersburg 4 Spartak Moscow 1 (2-0, 1-0, 1-1)

SKA made it five wins in a row as it closed in on the regular season championship and dealt a blow to Spartak’s playoff hopes. The Red-and-Whites remain in eighth place in the West, but are level on points with ninth-placed Dynamo.

Sergei Kalinin opened the scoring in the fourth minute, reacting fastest after rookie goalie Alexander Trushkov failed to hold on to an Ilya Kovalchuk shot. Sergei Shirokov doubled the advantage towards the end of the first period, and the outcome was pretty clear from that point on. Patrick Thoresen added a third just before the second intermission, and not even an early PP goal from Lukas Radil in the third period could seriously discomfort the league leader.

Evgeny Ketov completed the scoring, finishing off Thoresen’s feed from behind the net, as SKA enjoyed another comfortable victory.

Photo: 16.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. SKA (St.Petersburg) - Spartak (Moscow)

Dynamo stays in playoff contention

Dynamo Moscow 5 Kunlun Red Star 2 (1-0, 2-0, 2-2)

Dynamo kept itself firmly in playoff contention with a convincing victory over Red Star. The Moscow team is now level on points with eighth-placed Spartak and one behind Severstal, but has played one game more than its rivals.

Ilya Nikulin opened the scoring here after just 50 seconds, but the game was really decided by his defensive colleague Juuso Hietanen with two goals midway through the second period. The Finn struck on the power play, then added an even-strength goal two minutes later to put the Blue-and-Whites in complete control.

Yakov Rylov stretched the home advantage to four before Red Star finally found the target. Kyle Chipchura scored on the power play with seven minutes left, but Mikhail Varnakov quickly struck at the other end to snuff out thoughts of an improbably revival. Lucas Lockhart had the final saw with a 59th-minute consolation effort, but this was very much Dynamo’s day.

Photo: 16.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Dynamo (Moscow) - Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)

Andy Potts,
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