Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Torpedo keeps on doing it the hard way – and today was harder than usual. Despite winning its first four games this season, the Nizhny Novgorod team has been behind every time – and against Barys it recovered from 0-3 to tie 5-5 in regulation and win it in overtime. Elsewhere, Lokomotiv teenager Grigory Denisenko got his first every KHL goal away to Slovan while Metallurg overpowered Red Star with a first-period flourish.

Early blitz leaves Red Star reeling

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Kunlun Red Star 1 (3-0, 0-1, 0-0)

Metallurg shrugged off an uncertain – by its standards – start to the season to blow away Red Star inside 12 minutes of this game. Josef Jandac saw his team bounce back from two straight losses with a flying start against its Chinese visitor.

First came Dennis Rasmussen, scoring a fine backhand effort off a Wojtek Wolski assist. Then Sergei Mozyakin showed off his trademark shooting skills to pot Metallurg’s first power play goal of the season. Then, with less than 12 minutes played, Wolski made it 3-0 as he scored against his former club.

Kunlun’s performances have been better than results might suggest this season, though. After pushing Jokerit hard, Jussi Tapola’s team was close to victory in Sochi before getting the ‘W’ at Spartak on Friday. Here, once again, Tapola’s man battled bravely despite an almost hopeless situation. Greg Squires got his first KHL goal since joining from Orebro last season to reduce the arrears, and in the second half of the game the visitor played some adventurous hockey in a bid to salvage the game. It didn’t happen, but Kunlun can go into its first home game of the season next week with renewed confidence.

Dawes saves Avtomobilist

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 Admiral Vladivostok 1 (0-1, 0-0, 2-0)

Big players deliver in the big moments. That’s why Avtomobilist invested heavily in rebuilding its forward line and bringing in the likes of Nigel Dawes, the all-time top-scoring import in the KHL’s history.

Today, amid an afternoon of frustration in the Urals, Dawes demonstrated his value. It wasn’t that Avtomobilist was playing badly: after allowing an early goal for Vasily Streltsov, the host peppered Admiral net with shots. However, Anton Krasotkin was standing on his head: 12 saves in the first period, 13 in the second. In the final frame, though, Admiral was offering less and less offense and Dawes found the crucial breakthrough to tie the game in the 53rd minute. When it came, it was a deceptively simple tally. Dawes, deep, fired a diagonal pass to Dan Sexton and chased the play up the ice. Sexton returned the favor and the former Barys man picked his moment to go top shelf and end Krasotkin’s resistance.

Score once, and so often another goal follows in short order. And so it was here. Mikhail Mamkin’s piledriver was touched into the net by Anatoly Golyshev less than two minutes after Dawes’ equalizer. Avtomobilist makes it four wins from four and shares the lead of the Eastern Conference with Torpedo.

Comeback kings do it again

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 6 Barys Astana 5 OT (0-2, 2-1, 3-2, 1-0)

A crazy game ended in an overtime win for Torpedo after it repeatedly clawed back two-goal deficits against Barys. The visitor led 3-0, 4-2 and 5-3, but failed to hold on in regulation and was hit by the killer blow when Andrew Calof grabbed the winner in the extras – the first and only time Torpedo led in the entire game.

Photo: 09.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) - Barys (Astana)

Two goals in a minute late in the first period got Barys in front. Roman Starchenko’s power play marker was followed by Alikhan Asetov’s second of the season as the youngster looks to establish himself as a KHL player. Brandon Bochenski added a third seconds after the intermission, chasing Denis Kostin from the Torpedo net as the home team seemed to be in disarray.

Then came the first fightback: Daniil Ilyin midway through the second period, and a power play strike from Damir Zhafyarov in the 37th minute made it a one-goal game. Then the scoring came thick and fast: Starchenko on the PP again for 4-2, Patrice Cormier for 5-3 after Calof’s first of the night reduced the deficit. But two goals in 39 seconds saw Torpedo tie it up as the third period passed its halfway point. Vladimir Galuzin scored on the power play, Andy Miele tied it up for the first time in the 53rd minute. It was reminiscent of the quickfire salvo that sank SKA here last week, and it set up another dramatic victory. Into overtime, and Calof punished Curtis Valk’s tripping offense by tucking home Robert Sabolic’s pass to the slot after a Miele shot bounced back off the boards. Torpedo makes it four wins from four despite trailing in every game so far.

Zakharchuk halts Riga rally

Dinamo Riga 2 Severstal Cherepovets 3 OT (0-0, 1-2, 1-0, 0-1)

Dinamo rallied from 0-2 down but came up short in its bid to make it two wins in two days. Severstal’s Ivan Zakharchuk got the overtime winner to claim his third goal of the season, and his second GWG.

Photo: 09.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Dinamo (Riga) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

After a scoreless opening session, Severstal took control with two quick goals early in the third. Arturs Kulda celebrated a visit to his native Latvia with the opening goal and Zach Boychuk added a second in the 27th minute.

But Dinamo replied 31 seconds later as Kevin Clark got his first competitive goal for the club. Clark, a summer signing from Swedish club Brynas, was prolific in pre-season and put his team back in contention here. Another summer arrival, Linus Videll, tied it up on the power play in the third period but Zakharchuk delivered the decisive blow in the extras.

Debut goal for Denisenko

Slovan Bratislava 1 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 (0-1, 1-0, 0-3)

Lokomotiv put this game to bed in the third period with three unanswered goals as Slovan began its home campaign with a defeat.

And top-rated youngster Grigory Denisenko showed his mettle with his first KHL goal in his third appearance in the regular season. The Florida Panthers prospect, drafted #15 this summer, arrived on the back doorstep to turn home Denis Alexeyev’s pass in the 57th minute and stretch his team’s lead to 3-1.

That finally broke Slovan’s resistance – Brandon Kozun’s empty net goal added some glitter to the scoreline – after the host battled hard for much of the game. Yegor Averin put Lokomotiv in front in the 11th minute, but the Railwaymen could not build on that advantage and Michal Sersen – already emerging as a key player for Slovan this season – tied it up midway through the game as the defenseman claimed his third point in four games. Andrei Loktionov’s power play goal early in the third put Lokomotiv back in front, and this time the visitor was able to see it through, helped by Denisenko’s big moment.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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