A home win over Dinamo Minsk ensured that Jokerit remains hard on the heels of Western Conference leaders SKA and CSKA. Elsewhere, young Ak Bars goalie Vladislav Podyapolsky got his first career shut-out to see off Severstal, while Dynamo Moscow beat Torpedo in a shoot-out. Vityaz also went the distance before winning at HC Sochi.
Jokerit closed the gap on Western Conference leaders SKA and CSKA as Dinamo Minsk continues to struggle at the foot of the table. Two goals from John Norman helped the Finns to victory as Dinamo slipped to a sixth loss in seven games.
The teams wasted no time in getting into action: Sakari Manninen opened the scoring in the second minute, Dmitry Buinitsky brought Minsk level exactly two minutes later then Tomi Maki potted his first of the season to restore Jokerit’s lead in the eighth minute. The first-period scoring wasn’t done yet: in the closing minutes the teams traded two more tallies to make it 3-2 at the first intermission.
Norman got his first late in the opening frame and his second, on the power play midway through the game, was something of a game-breaker. Jokerit took something of a stranglehold on the action in the second period and Norman’s was the only goal as the home team established a comfortable advantage.
Ak Bars settled this game with two quick goals in the first period – and goalie Vladislav Podyapolsky collected his first ever KHL shut-out.
It’s turning into a memorable season for the 23-year-old as he establishes himself as a significant part of Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s plans despite stiff competition from Emil Garipov and Alexander Sharychenkov between the piping. The former Metallurg Novokuznetsk prospect has not fluffed his lines, and today he made 33 saves to deny Severstal.
At the other end, Rob Klinkhammer opened the scoring with a 13th-minute power play goal, then Jiri Sekac doubled the advantage two minutes later. Severstal managed to challenge the defending champion’s dominance in the latter two periods, but there was no further scoring. For Ak Bars, it’s now four wins in five; for Severstal, five losses out of six.
Vadim Shipachyov’s shoot-out winner made it two victories in a row for Dynamo as incoming head coach Vladimir Krikunov’s new regime begins to take shape. For Torpedo, though, it’s a third straight loss after an entertaining game in Moscow.
Regulation time provided plenty of incident, with both sides having chances to win it before they tied at 3-3.
Some neat play from Dynamo’s youngsters ended with Dmitry Sidlyarov potting his first of the season midway through the first period, but Torpedo hit back with two quick goals to lead at the midway stage. Philip Holm struck on the power play before Kirill Urakov put the visitor ahead.
Dmitry Kagarlitsky made it 2-2, scoring his 99th KHL goal off an assist from Shipachyov. In the third period Shipachyov scored himself to cancel out a Vladimir Galuzin marker and take the game into the extras.
There was also a shoot-out required in Sochi after Vityaz held the host to a 2-2 tie. Miro Aaltonen claimed the decisive score after he and Alexander Semin were the only players to score in the post-game shots. Joni Ortio won all four of the duels he faced to help Vityaz to the win.
The outcome was just reward for Aaltonen, who impressed all night. His two goals in regulation twice saw his team in front. However, Sochi responded on both occasions with an Eric O’Dell power play goal followed by a Yohann Auvitu point shot.