East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
Wojtek Wolski got his first goal since returning to Kunlun Red Star – and it fully deserved to win his team’s game at Vityaz. Slovan suffered another scoreless loss, going down 0-3 against Lokomotiv. The Tatarstan derby went to Neftekhimik, while Salavat Yulaev’s poor form continued with defeat at Torpedo. Avangard and Barys remain out in front in the Chernyshev Division after both won on Saturday.
Neftekhimik celebrates 50 years of ruffling the feathers of Russian hockey’s big names this season – and the Tatarstan derby games take on that little extra significance for the men from Nizhnekamsk. On Saturday, the club staged a retro-game to mark its big anniversary and Andrei Nazarov’s team rose to the occasion, battling back to win in a shoot-out.
The defending champion made a fast start in the first two periods, opening a 2-0 lead on goals from Albert Yarullin and Vladimir Tkachyov. But, as the game moved into the latter half of the second stanza, Neftekhimik struck back. Juuso Puustinen halved the deficit and, three minutes later, Pavel Zdunov tied the game.
The Ak Bars defense controlled the game in the third frame, but neither side could find a winner until the shoot-out. Andrej Nestrasil claimed the vital goal as Neftekhimik avenged its defeat in September.
There was little to choose between these Eastern Conference rivals in the championship standings – but the recent form table pointed to Torpedo moving in the right direction. The host had won four of its last five; Salavat Yulaev suffered four losses in six.
That proved to be a reliable guide, with Denis Parshin potting a double for the second game in a row. Torpedo moved into an early 2-0 lead when Parshin got his first a minute after Mikhail Varnakov opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Vladimir Zharkov pulled one back for Salavat Yulaev, and the visitor went on to enjoy more of the attacking play in the second period. By the 40-minute mark, Salavat was up 23-13 on the shot count but could not find an equalizer.
Dispirited, the visitor faded in the final frame and added just two more attempts to its tally. Parshin made it 3-1 in the closing stages to complete that ‘double’ double and the game was done. Salavat loses three in a row for the first time this season.
The teams met for the second time in three days and Avangard produced the same result – a home win. After edging Admiral by the odd goal in seven on Thursday, Saturday’s match-up was more comfortable for the host, which again took an early stranglehold but did not relinquish its control of the game this time.
Kirill Semyonov potted the opener in the third minute before Maxim Berezin doubled the lead in the first period. Ilya Mikheyev stretched the advantage in the middle frame, and the home team was in command.
Konstantin Glazachev got a goal back for Admiral with 10 minutes to play, but there were no heroics as the clock ran down in Balashikha. Avangard remains three points clear of Barys at the top of the Chernyshev Division.
Dinamo failed to build on Thursday’s win over Red Star. The Belarusians’ 12-game losing streak may have ended there, but the team’s problems may take longer to fix.
At home to a Barys team looking to keep up the pace at the top of the Chernyshev Division, Dinamo fell to three first-period goals. The home team enjoyed the better of the play, but everything went wrong in the 12th minute. First, Roman Starchenko put Barys up with a power play goal, then Nikita Mikhailis doubled the lead. Andre Petersson added a third – after a video review – to compound the host’s problems.
After a goalless second frame, Dinamo went for broke in the third. It almost worked. Ivan Drozdov reduced the deficit and, in the last minute, Quinton Howden made it a one-goal game. Barys held on, though, and Dinamo remains adrift at the foot of the Western Conference.
Two points from Wojtek Wolski – his first since returning to Red Star – settled this game in the visitor’s favor and snapped a three-game losing run. However, Vityaz will point to two chances that hit the frame of Barry Brust’s net as evidence that it could have collected two valuable points in its Western Conference playoff push.
The first period saw Alexander Semin hit the post early on for Vityaz, but did not generate a goal. The middle session saw the teams trade markers: Wolski fed Brandon Yip for Red Star’s opener before Alexander Nikulin tied it up for the host. Kunlun’s Tomas Mertl then saw a shot clip the top of the crossbar but the teams were deadlocked at the second intermission.
The third period began with a fine goal from Wolski. Johan Sundstrom won an attacking face off and Wolski delivered a devastating one-timer that left Joni Ortio with no chance. Miro Aaltonen was a whisker away from a second tying goal but the post once again came to Brust’s rescue.
Two goals in 20 seconds in the second period decided the outcome of this game, while Alexander Salak enjoyed his second shut-out in four games for Lokomotiv.
The game-breaking action came in the 39th minute. Andrei Loktionov opened the scoring and, on the next shift, Stepan Sannikov made it 2-0 for the visitor. For Slovan, looking to build on a midweek victory over Sibir, it was a hammer blow and the host never recovered.
Daniil Apalkov wrapped up the scoring midway through the third period; Salak turned away 18 shots for his shut-out.