Andy Potts Andy Potts
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A powerful performance from SKA put the Army Men on top of the Western Conference after a convincing win over Jokerit. There was also a boost for Dynamo Moscow as Vladimir Krikunov got his first win as head coach of the Blue-and-Whites. Lokomotiv defeated Ak Bars with a pair of power play goals at the start of the third period, Vityaz and Sochi won in overtime and Severstal edged past Torpedo.

SKA powers to the top of the West

Jokerit Helsinki 2 SKA St. Petersburg 6 (0-2, 1-3, 1-1)

Saturday’s clash in Helsinki was set to decide the leader of the Western Conference – but it turned into a procession for SKA.

Shortly after the midway stage the visitor led 5-0, with Patrik Hersley, Nail Yakupov, Nikita Gusev and Pavel Datsyuk leading the way as SKA ran riot. Just 25 seconds into the game, Alexander Dergachyov opened the scoring. Then, in the sixth minute, Hersley picked up his first assist of the afternoon when Alexei Kruchinin made it 2-0.

It stayed that way until the second period, then a flurry of Jokerit penalties helped SKA take complete control. Gusev and Datsyuk combined to set up Nail Yakupov for the 3-0 goal and in the subsequent skirmish between the two teams, Oliver Lauridsen was ejected from the game. SKA capitalized on that major penalty with two goals. Hersley scored off assists from Gusev and Datsyuk, then Yakupov potted his second as Hersley got his third point and Gusev his third helper. A short-handed goal from Marko Anttila finally got Jokerit on the scoresheet.

In the third period Sami Lepisto got another goal back for Jokerit, but Hersley had the final say with a power play goal in the last minute.

Bocharov shut-out helps Krikunov to first win

Dynamo Moscow 3 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)

Vladimir Krikunov celebrated his first win as Dynamo head coach thanks to Ivan Bocharov’s first shut-out of the season. The home goalie made 29 saves to frustrate Neftekhimik and end Dynamo’s five-game losing streak.

Photo: 06.10.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Dynamo (Moscow) - Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)

At the other end, a goal in each period made all the difference. In an opening frame light on scoring chances, Miks Indrasis broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when he was released one-on-one with Ilya Ezhov and duly smashed the puck home.

Midway through the game, Dmitry Kagarlitsky’s power play goal doubled Dynamo’s lead and Indrasis added an empty net goal for his second of the game and sixth of the season.

Klinkhammer’s penalty costs Ak Bars dear

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 Ak Bars Kazan 1 (0-1, 0-0, 2-0)

Two goals in 80 seconds at the start of the third period turned this game around and gave Lokomotiv a win over the defending champion.

Photo: 06.10.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) - Ak Bars (Kazan)

Ak Bars came to Yaroslavl buoyed by a run of six wins in seven games and the early play highlighted the confidence derived from that sequence. Anton Lander opened the scoring for the visitor in the fourth minute after a mistake by Denis Alexeyev gifted the puck to Jiri Sekac and the Czech forward picked out Lander for the opening goal. Minutes later, another error almost provided Lander with a second goal and the Swede got a third opportunity late in the opening frame as Lokomotiv looked nervous in its own zone.

Gradually, though, the host got back into the game. Lokomotiv had much the better of the second period, aided by a major penalty against Rob Klinkhammer after the Canadian slammed Nikolai Kovalenko into the boards.

And that power play delivered early in the final frame. First, Petri Kontiola smashed home a powerful effort to tie the scores. Next, Brandon Kozun put away the rebound after Daniil Apalkov’s close-range effort was blocked. Loko only managed one more shot on the Ak Bars net in the third period, but at the other end Ilya Konovalov held the visitor at bay to secure the home win.

Three points for Semin to sink Spartak

Spartak Moscow 2 Vityaz Moscow Region 3 OT (0-0, 0-1, 2-1, 0-1)

Alexander Semin had a hand in all three goals as Vityaz edged past Spartak in overtime.

Photo: 06.10.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Spartak (Moscow) - Vityaz (Moscow Region)

Semin, a summer arrival in Podolsk after two seasons with Metallurg, scored two and assisted on the other to take the points for Valery Belov’s team. But despite the lively finish to this game, it was a slow starter. It took 38 minutes for Semin to open the scoring, emerging from the penalty box in time to catch a breakaway and beat Julius Hudacek.

Vladislav Provolnev tied the scores midway through the second period, with the young defenseman getting his first of the season and only the third in 119 KHL appearances. However, when Borna Rendulic restored Vityaz’s lead in the 57th minute, assisted by Semin, it seemed that Vityaz had done enough to win it.

Spartak had other ideas: goalie Hudacek went to the bench and Ben Maxwell forced a late tying goal to take us to overtime. But the extras were over in seconds as Semin’s second of the game gave Vityaz the verdict.

Severstal edges past Torpedo

Severstal Cherepovets 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (1-0, 0-1, 1-0)

Severstal snapped a four-game losing streak to defeat Torpedo in Cherepovets.

Sergei Lapin gave the home team a second-minute lead and Severstal continued to create more opportunities in the opening frame. However, Torpedo hit back in the second period when Yury Sergiyenko tied the scores during a passage of four-on-four play.

By the end of the middle session, Torpedo was looking the more dangerous team. But it was Severstal that scored next thanks to Oleg Yashin’s goal 41 seconds into the final stanza. Then came a string of penalties for both teams – at one point we even saw a spell of three-on-three action – which disrupted the flow of the game and slowed the visitor’s efforts to find a way back to level terms.

Late rally defeats Dinamo

HC Sochi 4 Dinamo Minsk 3 OT (1-1, 0-2, 2-0, 1-0)

Sochi scored three goals in nine minutes late in this game to snatch an overtime victory after trailing 1-3.

With four minutes played, Alexander Akmaldinov put Sochi ahead with his first goal of the season. But Quinton Howden quickly cancelled out that lead and the scores were level at the first break.

At the start of the second period, Dinamo took control. Andrei Kostitsyn on the wraparound made it 2-1 in the 24th minute. Then Patrick Wiercioch added a third after a turnover in center ice set Dinamo’s counter attack in motion.

That dominance looked poised to provide Dinamo with the win until the closing stages. Vadim Khlopotov reduced the arrears with seven minutes to play then a penalty on Kostitsyn led to Robert Rosen’s wrister tying the game. Kirill Kapustin then got the overtime winner after 1:49 of the extras.

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Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
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Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
HC Dynamo (Moscow) HC Dynamo (Moscow)
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