After seeing its 18-game winning streak end on Tuesday, Avtomobilist wasted little time in getting back on form with a 3-1 success at Severstal.
Avtomobilist bounced back from its defeat at home to Barys with a convincing road win at Severstal.
When these teams met earlier in the season, Nigel Dawes had a hand in all four Avtomobilist goals. Today, the team’s leading scorer was at it again as he picked up 1+1. For Severstal, the only consolation came with eight minutes left when a goal from Igor Geraskin at least ensured that Avto would not shut out the Steelmen for the second time this season.
With just 26 seconds played, Severstal took a penalty – and that proved to be a key theme in the game. The host survived that scare but fell behind in the ninth minute when it was short-handed once again. Avto needed just nine seconds to convert the opportunity; Dawes fed the puck to Stephane Da Costa and the French international shot home from the top of the left-hand circle.
Early in the second period, another Avtomobilist power play brought another winning combination from Dawes and Da Costa. This time the Frenchman was the architect, shaping to shoot from the point before pushing a pass out to his team-mate at the far post. Dawes wasted little time in snaffling up the chance and the visitor enjoyed a comfortable lead.
The final frame brought an early goal from Vitaly Popov. The 26-year-old’s second of the season gave Avtomobilist a 3-0 advantage. It was also the first time in either game against Severstal that the league leader had scored a goal that did not involve Dawes.
Like Avtomobilist, CSKA had seen a long winning run ended in its previous game. In Sochi, the Army Men managed to get a victory – but it was a tough battle before Anton Slepyshev settled a shoot-out.
The first period was goalless, although Dmitry Shikin was the busier of the two goalies as the Army Men looked to press from the start. Early in the second, that paid off. Konstantin Okulov opened the scoring for the visitor, getting his stick on Mat Robinson’s point shot and deflecting the puck past Shikin.
Towards the end of the middle session, Damir Rakhimullin and Andrei Svetlakov came to blows in front of the home net. The Sochi man got the better of the fight but both players were handed major penalties for their troubles.
The duo had barely served their time when Sochi tied the game early in the third. Sean Collins got the goal, capitalizing on some hesitant CSKA defense that enabled Jyrki Jokipakka to steal the puck from Alexei Marchenko in front of the visitor’s net and set up Collins for a close range finish. That was the last goal of the game, although Kirill Kaprizov failed with a penalty shot in the last second of overtime and saw his individual scoring run come to an end. That miss was no omen for the shoot-out, though; Shikin was beaten by Okulov, Linden Vey and finally Slepyshev as CSKA took the win.