Kunlun produced another shock result with a 3-0 home victory over Ak Bars in China. The big game in Ufa saw Salavat Yulaev edge past SKA thanks to an unusual goal from Teemu Hartikainen. There were wins for the bottom three in the Eastern Conference, but no respite for Dinamo Minsk after an overtime loss at Avangard.
Four goals in the third period saw Amur recover to defeat Neftekhimik and close the gap on the playoff pack.
The home team came into the game on a run of two straight losses, while the visitor was out to bounce back from a defeat at Admiral on Monday. Initially, Neftekhimik impressed: Adam Polasek put the visitor ahead midway through the first period, and Juuso Puustinen restored the advantage in the middle frame. Pavel Dedunov was Amur’s only scorer in the early part of the game.
But it all changed in the third period. A power play goal from Alexander Gorshkov brought Amur level seconds into the action. Igor Rudenkov and Vladislav Ushenin scored in quick succession to open a 4-2 lead. Polasek scored on the power play with five minutes to go, making a game of it until Valentin Pyanov found the empty net to seal Amur’s highest-scoring performance of the season.
Admiral hit a purple patch in the second period to sink Torpedo – and two players potted their first ever KHL goals.
After a goalless opening stanza, Alexander Chernikov opened the scoring in the 24th minute, collecting his fifth goal of the season. Next, it was Nikita Feoktistov’s turn: the 28-year-old from Grodno, Belarus, has spent the bulk of his career in his native country’s league. This season, he has found a place on Admiral’s team and today he celebrated his first KHL goal. Czech defenseman Karel Kubat followed a rather different path to Vladivostok, putting in several impressive seasons in the Extraliga, mostly with Litvinov before coming to Admiral early in the season. He too potted his first KHL goal as the host jumped to a 3-0 lead.
Torpedo attempted another of its trademark comebacks and Robert Sabolic, once an Admiral player, scored twice to make it a one-goal game. But it wasn’t enough for the overtime specialists to extend this game: Admiral makes it two wins in a row.
Alexander Lazushin produced a fine performance to record his 20th KHL shut-out and give Red Star a second victory of the season against the defending champion.
In Kazan, Kunlun grabbed a 4-3 win despite allowing three goals in a minute. Here, the Chinese team weathered a storm of Ak Bars pressure – in the third period, the visitor recorded a 13-1 shot count – to claim a notable victory and climb back to the playoff places.
After a goalless first period, Brayden Jaw got his first KHL goal early in the second to give Red Star a surprise lead. The home bench then made good use of a coach’s challenge to question an Ak Bars equalizer: the video confirmed an offside in the build-up, and the goal was chalked off. Lifted, Kunlun added two more in quick succession midway through the second period. Tomas Mertl scored on the power play, Michael Latta added a third. The host’s fourth line provided two of its three goals; the last line of defense provided the impregnable barrier required to preserve that lead.
Late last month, Sibir snapped its miserable losing streak with a 4-3 win at Vityaz. Today, in Novosibirsk, the teams met again and Sibir confirmed its recent progress with another victory.
Maxim Kazakov, one of the players who came to the club with incoming head coach Alexander Andrievsky, played a key role here. His two goals in the second period cancelled out Miro Aaltonen’s opener for Vityaz and set Sibir on the way to victory. Aaltonen assisted on Dmitry Semin’s tying goal, but the game was won by Alexander Sharov in the 37th minute. Danil Romantsev wrapped up in the final frame.
A glancing header in the last minute might seem more appropriate for Wednesday’s Champions League soccer action – but it was roughly how Salavat Yulaev earned its second victory over SKA this season.
Finnish forward Teemu Hartikainen was the man with the goalscoring helmet: with 19 seconds left to play and the game locked at 1-1, Linus Omark’s shot from out wide grazed Hartikainen’s visor and deflected into the net. A video review found nothing untoward and Salavat Yulaev had a dramatic winner.
Earlier, SKA had opened the scoring when the in-form Patrik Hersley picked out Nikita Gusev in space at the far post to make it 1-0. The Ufa reply came in the second period when Anton Burdasov, back from suspension, potted his 11th of the season, drawing level with Linus Videll on the KHL goalscoring charts.
A much-improved performance from Dinamo Minsk brought a recovery to force overtime – but could not avoid a 10th consecutive defeat.
The visitor showed little sign of being weighted down by its long losing streak and opened the scoring through Alexander Kogalev midway through the first period. Dinamo had to absorb plenty of pressure – and killed a 5-on-3 power play – but managed to restrict Avangard to just eight shots on goal in that opening frame.
However, there were few outlets for the visiting offense to relieve the pressure and that took its toll. The second period saw Avangard score three unanswered goals. Sergei Shirokov tied the game in the 25th minute, then Ville Pokka and Andrei Stas scored two in quick succession to open a convincing lead.
It wasn’t all over: Avangard ran into penalty trouble of its own early in the third and Andrei Kostitsyn made it a one-goal game after converting a 5-on-3 power play. Then came Kogalev again: the 24-year-old confirmed his reputation as one of the brighter prospects in Belarusian hockey with his second of the game to tie it up and take Dinamo to overtime.
The losing run continued, though. In the extras, Avangard emerged victorious thanks to Ilya Mikheyev’s goal on 64:01.