The second game of Jokerit’s Tallinn Hockey Weekend brought another tight victory with the host edging past Severstal in the closing seconds of the game. In Yekaterinburg, Avtomobilist’s latest victory was a big moment for Nigel Dawes: in his 400th KHL game, he picked up his 400th point. Ak Bars cruised to victory at Admiral, Avangard stumbled at home to Torpedo and Salavat Yulaev edged Vityaz despite Anton Burdasov’s second ejection in three outings.
Ak Bars wrapped up its Far East tour with a comfortable win at Admiral – but only after the host took the lead in the first period.
Buoyed by two successive victories, the Vladivostok team was happy to go toe-to-toe with the defending champion in the early stages and its enterprise was rewarded when Czech defenseman Karel Kubat tucked away a rebound to open the scoring. That lead endured until the first intermission, but a penalty on Nikita Feoktistov at the end of the frame proved crucial.
Ak Bars took its chance on the power play with Jiri Sekac getting his first of the game to tie the scores. The visitor ramped up the pressure but found home goalie Nikita Serebryakov in fine form. However, towards the end of the second period Rafael Batyrshin found a way past him to put Ak Bars in front and there was no way back for Admiral.
Darren Dietz made it 10 successive games among the points when he completed the scoring in this comfortable win for Barys. The defenseman has four goals and seven assists across that time and his run has helped his team to a five-game winning streak.
Barys jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to goals from Brandon Bochenski and Patrice Cormier. The second period, though, saw two pairs of quick goals. First, Sibir tied it up when Alexander Sharov and Gleb Zyryanov found the net just 97 seconds apart. The host was undaunted: Roman Starchenko and Curtis Valk restored a two-goal lead for Barys with two markers in 87 seconds.
That set Andrei Skabelka’s team on the way to victory against one of his former clubs – and there was still time for Dietz to maintain his own streak before the hooter.
Anton Burdasov was only two games into his return from suspension when he picked up another ejection, this time for a high hit on Evgeny Katichev early in the second period. For Salavat Yulaev, though, life without the captain was not too challenging. The Ufa team killed that major penalty and then went in front with its next power play chance. Vyacheslav Osnovin’s shot from a tight angle found its way through a crowd of players and in at the near post.
Vityaz responded with the prettiest goal of the game. Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi judged a looping puck to perfection and produced a forehand stroke that would not have disgraced a tennis champ to tie the game late in the middle frame.
It wasn’t enough for the visitor, though. Another home power play saw Joonas Kemppainen get the winner for Salavat Yulaev early in the third period and the host did a good job at limiting opportunities for Vityaz to test Juha Metsola thereafter.
Nigel Dawes made his 400th appearance in the KHL and maintained his impressive ‘point-a-game’ record over that time thanks to an assist on Avtomobilist’s opening goal.
It didn’t take long for Dawes to have an impact on this game. The teams had played just 50 seconds when the Canadian-born, naturalized Kazakh forward fed Stephane Da Costa for the opening goal. For the rest of the first period, Avtomobilist demonstrated why it has made such a strong start to the season. The host dominated play, limited Spartak to just three shots on goal … but could not extend its lead.
Spartak improved, growing into the game as it progressed, and when Anatoly Nikontsev’s magnificent pass set up Enver Lisin for a tying goal the league leader was left to rue its failure to press home its early advantage. The third period brought a goaltending masterclass from Jakub Kovar and Julius Hudacek to keep the score locked at 1-1 and force overtime. There, at last, Avtomobilist got the winner. Alexei Vasilevsky delivered the decisive blow.
Hockey fans in Tallinn have had much to enjoy this weekend as Jokerit came to town. After a thrilling comeback win over Spartak on Friday, the Finns were at it again with a lively battle against Severstal.
This time, it all happened in the last minutes. Jokerit was up 2-1 and looking to close out the game. Severstal pulled its goalie and went for broke. The visitor’s gambit got its reward: a Denis Kulyash thunderbolt tied the scores. Parity lasted just 40 seconds, however. Jokerit went back up the ice and snatched a last-gasp winner when Niklas Jensen fired home from a narrow angle to end Severstal’s hopes of overtime.
That was Jensen’s second of the game: he had given Jokerit a 2-1 lead midway through the third period moments after Stanislav Kalashnikov tied the scores with his first goal in two seasons in the KHL. If Kalashnikov’s goals are rare, Brian O’Neill’s are commonplace at the moment. The Jokerit forward opened the scoring in the 18th minute, finding the net for the third game in a row.
Torpedo recorded a third victory in four games to put some daylight between itself and chasing pack in the Eastern Conference playoff race, while defeat for Avangard leaves it level on points with third-placed Ak Bars.
After two periods of evenly-matched but goalless hockey it was increasingly clear that the opening marker would be huge. So when Torpedo grabbed the lead in the 45th minute, it was a crucial moment in the game. Damir Zhafyarov was the scorer, reacting fastest as the puck bounced clear of the slot.
Shortly afterwards, Torpedo’s PK came to the fore and after surviving that storm the visitor extended its lead. Robert Sabolic got the shoot-out winner in his last game and scored twice at Admiral before that; here he continued his vein of form by making it 2-0.
Kirill Petrov got Avangard back in the game but the home team’s efforts to save itself were frustrated when Mikhail Varnakov scored into the empty net late on. Mikhail Orlov picked up his third assist of the game on that play.