East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
There was no happy housewarming for CSKA as it played its first game at its new home – former head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov led Lokomotiv to a 3-1 victory at the Park of Legends Arena. Elsewhere, Avtomobilist’s 4-1 win at Sibir made it five wins from five. Metallurg won the South Ural derby thanks to two Matt Ellison goals, Dinamo Riga added to Dynamo Moscow’s problems and Slovan got its first win of the season.
Anatoly Golyshev was the main man once again for Avtomobilist as the Ural team became the first to record five successive victories this season. For Sibir, meanwhile, the home campaign started with a defeat to follow its four road losses.
Golyshev had the first chance to open the scoring early in the game, bursting through on the counter-attack only to hit the goal frame. Four minutes later, though, he made no mistake from a similar situation and Avto was on its way. A fraction of a second before the intermission, Alexander Kucheryavenko made it 2-0, and collected his 200th KHL point into the bargain.
Sibir sought to regain the initiative in the second period but, despite an improved performance, could not find a way to reduce the deficit as Jakub Kovar held the home team at bay. Vitaly Popov stretched Avto’s lead early in the third and not even a power play goal from Nikita Mikhailov could spark a recovery. Golyshev added an empty-netter to wrap up the scoring and make it five goals from five games for his personal account.
Two goals from Matt Ellison gave Magnitka the edge in this South Ural derby – and offered some signs that Metallurg’s game is coming together under new head coach Josef Jandac.
For a team always expected to compete for honors, a mixed start of two wins and two losses from four home games was underwhelming. Victory in an always-awkward game in Chelyabinsk made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season and gives some encouragement for the visitor.
It was far from easy, though. The first period was gritty and goalless. Ellison broke the deadlock in the second, scoring on the power play when he put away the rebound from Sergei Mozyakin’s shot. However, Traktor refused to give – the host was defending a five-game unbeaten run against its neighbor, if we include the summer pre-season encounters between the two – and got a reward late in the game when Artyom Penkovsky tied it up after good work from Ryan Stoa.
Metallurg found the strength to go again, and that man Ellison potted the winner 75 seconds into the extras to give the visitor the local bragging rights – and a third victory of the season.
CSKA played its first game in its new home, the Park of Legends Arena in Moscow. The building is familiar: built for the 2016 IIHF World Championship, it hosted Dynamo and Spartak games in the past three seasons. But for the Army Men, this is the first campaign away from the club’s traditional home on Leningradsky Prospekt and tonight was opening night. A five-figure crowd came along – in a single attendance, CSKA demonstrated why its historic 5,500-capacity home was no longer suitable – and the stage was set for a new era.
Unfortunately, the team fluffed its lines. A 1-3 loss to Lokomotiv was sweet for ex-CSKA head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov as he returned to his former club behind Loko’s bench. But it was a disappointing performance from the host.
The first period was a great chance for CSKA to seize control. Two early power plays came and went without a goal, but with plenty of pressure on Alexander Salak in the visitor’s net. But in the 14th minute Petri Kontiola got to the goal line and fed a pass back to the slot where defenseman Alexander Yelesin was on hand to rifle home his second goal of the season.
Early in the middle frame, Loko added two quick goals. Jakub Nakladal scored from long range in the 26th minute, then Brandon Kozun added a third on the power play a couple of minutes later. CSKA replaced starting goalie Lars Johansson with Ilya Sorokin and the Russian international kept Loko at bay for the rest of the game, but the damage was already done. Kirill Kaprizov got a goal back in the 45th minute but Lokomotiv was assured of the points.
This season is going well for Riga so far, while its near namesake from Russia is having a tough time of things. And Tuesday’s game in the Latvian capital brought no reversal of fortune for either club: Riga made it three wins from five, Moscow has four losses.
That was despite a perfect start for the visitor, going ahead on a power play goal from Daniil Tarasov after just 54 seconds. Tarasov’s line with summer signings Dmitry Kagarlitsky and Vadim Shipachyov has shown moments of promise already this season, but it is yet to become the all-conquering offensive force the Blue-and-Whites hoped for.
Dinamo, meanwhile, has looked far more effective in front of goal. Matias Myttynen tied it up in the first period – and forced a break in play as the host’s goal horn sounded for several minutes due to a technical problem. Neither team managed to test the fix in the rest of the opening frame, but Mathew Maione made it 2-1 midway through the second and Andris Dzerins gave the host some breathing space just before the second intermission. That cushion came in handy when Ilya Nikulin made it 101 KHL goals as the Muscovites began the final frame with a 5-on-3 power play. However, once Riga was back to full strength, Linus Videll made it 4-2 and that’s how it finished.
Two goals in the second period were good enough to give Slovan its first win of the season and see Vladimir Orszagh get his first KHL victory as head coach.
The first goal came seconds before the end of a Slovan power play. Patrik Virta’s pass took a big deflection and dropped perfectly for Matus Sukel to snaffle his first goal of the season five minutes into the second period. Teen prospect Adam Liska doubled the lead seconds before the intermission, getting his first ever KHL goal at the tender age of 18.
Severstal made a game of it in the third after Zach Boychuk pulled one back in the 41st minute, but Slovan held on to secure a confidence-boosting victory. At the foot of the table, just three teams – Sibir, Dinamo Minsk and Amur – are still awaiting a first success of the season.