Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Despite trailing 3-0 and 4-1 in Ufa, Ak Bars rallied to tie it up late on and claim a shoot-out win in the ‘green derby’. Elsewhere, SKA edged Spartak despite falling behind early on, Neftekhimik left Sibir winless with two goals in the last five minutes and Barys beat Torpedo 4-1. Jokerit enjoyed a similar scoreline at Vityaz while Dinamo Minsk lost at home to Sochi.

Revenge win for Admiral

Amur Khabarovsk 0 Admiral Vladivostok 2 (0-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Two days after losing out in the first Far East derby of the season, Admiral took instant revenge with victory in Khabarovsk.

Photo: 12.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Amur (Khabarovsk) - Admiral (Vladivostok)

Fired up after that 1-3 reverse, Admiral made fast start: within half a minute of the opening face-off, Alexander Streltsov converted an Alexander Chernikov feed to open the scoring. The next goal, however, did not come until the closing moments. Amur got a power play and pulled its goalie to play six-on-four in search of an equalizer. The gamble backfired: Yegor Antropov won the puck on the boards in his own zone and his clearance went the full length of the ice and into the net to make it 2-0. Admiral snapped a four-game losing streak and goalie Nikita Serebryakov got his first KHL shut-out after stopping 37 shots.

Puustinen treble piles on the misery for Sibir

Sibir Novosibirsk 3 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 4 (1-0, 0-1, 2-3)

Sibir’s wait for a first victory of the season continues after going down to a narrow defeat at home to Neftekhimik. Vladimir Yurzinov’s team was five minutes away from a win but allowed two late goals to let the chance slip away.

For Neftekhimik, Finnish forward Juuso Puustinen was the key man. His hat-trick proved decisive, hauling his team level on three separate occasions before Damir Sharipzyanov potted the game winner on the power play with 98 seconds left to play.

The game’s frantic finish was a long way off in the opening exchanges. Nikolai Demidov’s 12th-minute goal was the only score of the first period; in the second Puustinen levelled on the power play. Then the scoring kicked up several notches. Demidov restored Sibir’s lead early in the third; Puustinen replied within 30 seconds. A home power play saw Demidov turn provider with an assist on Nikita Mikhailov’s third goal of the season and the Siberians had barely eight minutes to hang on for that sought-after win.

It wasn’t to be. Puustinen tied it up at 3-3 on 55:50, then Maxim Ignatovich was called for boarding to hand a last power play chance to Neftekhimik. Sharipzyanov’s one timer from the center point whipped past Alexei Krasikov to hand the visitor the victory.

Barys Astana 4 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (0-1, 1-0, 3-0)

In its first four games, Torpedo won after going behind. Here, David Nemirovsky’s team opened the scoring for the first time this season … and duly suffered its heaviest loss thus far.

Dmitry Markovin put the visitor 1-0 up in the first period, marking his second appearance for Torpedo with his first goal for the club. But it was all downhill from there for the visitor as Barys demonstrated its goal-hungry game once again to romp to victory.

Patrice Cormier tied the scores on a power play early in the second period and the host went on to spend much of the ensuing action in the Torpedo end without managing to add to the scoresheet. Another power play in the final frame saw Matt Frattin make it 2-1 and two empty-net goals – Brandon Bochenski and Andre Petersson doing the honors – wrapped up a comfortable winning margin for the Kazakh team. Barys now has 22 goals in five games, but has allowed 17.

Ak Bars roars back to win derby thriller

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 Ak Bars Kazan 5 SO (2-0, 2-1, 0-3, 0-0, 0-1)

The ‘Green derby’ is always a hard-fought affair – but the first meeting between Salavat Yulaev and Ak Bars this season managed to serve up something special. For two periods, the home side was rampant, powering to a 4-1 lead and delighting a capacity crowd in Ufa. In the third, Ak Bars demonstrated its own champion qualities to claw back that three-goal deficit and take the game to a shoot-out – and ultimately claim the victory.

Photo: 14.09.18. KHL Championship 2017-2019. Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) - Ak Bars (Kazan)

Salavat Yulaev took the lead in the 10th minute when Alexander Kadeikin managed to cope with the attentions of Andrei Markov and flip the puck over Alexander Sharychenkov’s shoulder even as he fell to the ice. Vladimir Tkachyov took matters into his own hands late in the first, claiming an impressive power play goal with a lovely deke that Sharychenkov could not read.

Midway through the second period Linus Omark got his first of the season, again on the power play, before Artyom Lukoyanov got Ak Bars on the board in the 35th minute. That looked like mere consolation for the visitor when Anton Burdasov potted Salavat’s third power play goal of the game seconds before the intermission. Burdasov, the leading goalscorer so far this season, moves to six.

The third period changed everything. Rob Klinkhammer’s close-range finish off a Vladislav Kara feed served notice that Ak Bars wasn’t giving up. Anton Lander made it a one-goal game, then Danis Zaripov potted his first of the season to tie it up in the 56th minute. Paul Postma’s defense-splitting pass sent the veteran forward one-on-one with Andrei Kareyev, and Zaripov rarely misses chances like that. Ak Bars still had to kill a late penalty but the game duly went to a shoot-out where Alexander Burmistrov claimed the winner.

Jokerit eases past Vityaz

Vityaz Moscow Region 1 Jokerit Helsinki 4 (0-2, 0-2, 1-0)

A potentially tricky road trip turned into a straightforward victory as Jokerit overpowered Vityaz in the first two periods.

Photo: 14.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019 Vityaz (Moscow Region) - Jokerit (Helsinki)

Brian O’Neill’s goal after 74 seconds set the tone for this game. Home goalie Joni Ortio got a glove to an Alex Grant shot but the defense was nowhere to be seen as O’Neill went round the back and fired in another effort that Ortio could only push into his own net with the blocker. Sami Lepisto doubled the lead late in the opening frame with a power play strike and Jokerit was already well on its way to victory.

The second period followed a similar pattern, Marko Anttila scoring early and Oliver Lauridsen adding a fourth late on. Vityaz gained some consolation through Marek Hrivik’s third-period goal – the Slovak forward moves to five for the season – but this was Jokerit’s day.

Quick strikes sink Spartak

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

Two quick goals midway through this game spared SKA’s blushes and earned Ilya Vorobyov’s team victory.

Photo: 14.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. SKA (St.Petersburg) - Spartak (Moscow)

Spartak, a rank outsider ahead of this game, stunned the home crowd in Petersburg when it took the lead in the third minute. Andrei Kuteikin’s point shot was deflected past Magnus Hellberg by Gleb Shashkov for the 22-year-old’s first KHL goal.

SKA looked for an immediate response but struggled to take control of the game in the first period, with Spartak always looking dangerous on the counter. The middle frame was more familiar: now the home offense was beginning to click and create genuine scoring chances. Shortly after the midway point, Pavel Datsyuk stripped Maxim Trunyov of the puck on the red line and advanced down the right before switching a pass for the on-rushing Nikita Gusev. Needing no second invitation, Gusev despatched the chance to the top shelf.

Within two minutes the host was ahead. Vasily Tokranov’s long pass released Sergei Plotnikov into Spartak territory and the forward teased and tormented Ruslan Pedan on his way to beating Julius Hudacek. That proved to be the winner: Spartak fought bravely in the third but could not create a good look at Hellberg’s net.

No respite for Dinamo

Dinamo Minsk 1 HC Sochi 3 (0-1, 1-0, 0-2)

After beating Spartak on Wednesday, Dinamo hoped it had turned a corner. Against Sochi, though, it was more of the same in Minsk.

The game was fairly even, but the visitor took the verdict with two goals in the last five minutes to leave another big home crowd frustrated. A Stanislav Bocharov power play goal for the visitor separated the teams at the first intermission as Dinamo mustered just two shots at Konstantin Barulin, but Teemu Pulkkinen tied it up in the 35th minute to give Dinamo hope of making it two wins in a row and giving its season a belated bump start.

Those hopes were extinguished late on, though. Another shot-shy Dinamo display – just four attempts in the third period – was punished by Sean Collins and an empty-net goal from Eric O’Dell.

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