With 11 goals in Magnitogorsk and 10 more in Podolsk – plus five as Lokomotiv downed Severstal – it was a good day for forwards in the KHL.
There’s something about a local derby that often inspires thrills and spills – and the second instalment of the South Ural rivalry fully lived up to its billing.
Traktor, defeated by its neighbor in Chelyabinsk just a few days earlier, was eager to set the record straight. Twice it jumped into a two-goal lead; twice Magnitka tied it up. It was still level at 5-5 going into the last 10 minutes when Richard Gynge and Igor Polygalov won it for the visitor. With Traktor on the power play, Polygalov placed himself right in front of Vasily Koshechkin, taking away the goalie’s eyes as Gynge took Nick Bailen’s pass, advanced to the left-hand face-off spot and fired in a laser beam to the top corner. 6-5, and finally Magnitka was done.
That was Gynge’s second goal of the game; for Metallurg, Iiro Pakarinen also scored two. Other notable moments included Ryan Stoa getting his first goal for Traktor and Vitaly Kravtsov potting his first of the season as the visitor went 2-0 up in the first seven minutes. Pakarinen and Roman Lyubimov brought the host level, but Polygalov and Paul Szczechura restored Traktor’s lead early in the second.
Once again, Metallurg responded, with Alexei Bereglazov and Nikita Yazkov scoring a couple of minutes apart. Gynge’s first of the game made it 4-5, Pakarinen struck early in the third, but Gynge had the final say in an absorbing encounter.
Before the season started, many were concerned that Lokomotiv would struggle to be competitive. A string of high-profile departures left Dmitry Kvartlanov with a roster long on potential but light on proven experience. An opening 0-4 loss against Avangard reinforced those worries.
Since then, however, things could hardly have gone better. Today’s victory over Severstal was Loko’s fifth in a row. And those youngsters have stepped up impressively: today it was Artur Kayumov’s turn, opening the scoring in the third minute.
The senior players have also done their part. Andrei Loktionov finished this game with three points, getting a helper as Jakub Nakladal doubled the lead during a 5-on-3 power play early in the second period. Matej Stransky pulled one back for Severstal, and the visitor kept the game alive until the closing stages, but Petri Kontiola made it 3-1 in the 56th minute – assists from Loktionov and captain Daniil Apalkov, making his 400th appearance for Loko. Loktionov wrapped it up with an empty-netter; Loko is building up a head of steam.
For much of this game, Vityaz was impressive – yet Slovan still made it anxious in the closing stages.
Few would have anticipated a tight finish after the home team took control in the first period. Alexei Makeyev opened the scoring, then a power play goal from Borna Rendulic doubled the lead. Rudolf Cerveny got one back for Slovan after the intermission, but Vityaz added two more – Makeyev again, then Vojtech Mozik – to seemingly put the game out of reach.
The teams traded goals at the start of the third, with Chad Rau opening his account for Slovan before Miro Aaltonen got a fifth for Vityaz. Then came the rally. Young Adam Liska netted his second KHL goal, Cerveny got his second of the night. With six minutes to play, it was anyone’s game; home nerves were only settled in the last minute when Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi fired into the empty net.