It was a big day for Nigel Dawes as he picked up four points in Avtomobilist’s 4-2 win over Sibir to move to the top of the KHL scoring charts. CSKA also moved to the summit, beating Jokerit 5-0 to take over top spot in the Western Conference. Metallurg blanked Amur 3-0 in the Eastern Conference, while Sochi won 4-2 at Traktor.
There was no doubt about the star man in this game – Avto’s leading scorer, Nigel Dawes, had a hand in all four goals to secure another victory for the league leader. Dawes finished with 1+3, moving him to 33 (11+22) points for the season and putting him three points clear of Nikita Gusev in the scoring race.
That set up a 25th win of the season for the Yekaterinburg team, but Eastern Conference back-marker Sibir gave the host something to think about in the early part of the game. Alexander Sharov scored in the fourth minute, with Gilbert Brule’s assist giving him his first point since moving to Novosibirsk last week. That lead last until the first intermission, but Anatoly Golyshev tied it up on a power play early in the second.
Sibir responded with a goal from Roman Savchenko. The defenseman was a team-mate of Dawes at Barys last season, but unlike his prolific colleague this was his first goal of the season. Savchenko emulated his team-mate Alexander Loginov with a goal from center ice, aided by a deflection. Dawes tied it up with #11 of the campaign then supplied the feed as Alexei Vasilevsky made it 3-2 in the 37th minute. Early in the final frame, Stephane Da Costa completed the turnaround with another power play goal; Dawes supplied the assist yet again to complete a hat-trick of helpers.
It was a better day for a new Metallurg man. Defenseman Vadim Antipin, younger brother of Viktor, dressed for the Steelmen for the first time, although in the event he did not get off the bench in this one. The opening goal came early: a swift counter-attack ended with an emphatic Roman Lyubimov finish in the fifth minute.
Amur remained competitive until midway through the second period when the home team finally put the game beyond reach. Michal Bulir potted his third goal since joining the club; the Czech center now has five points from six games since his arrival in the KHL. Late in the frame, Nikolai Kulemin added a third on the power play, extending his productive streak to four games.
Sochi, struggling with six injuries and embarked on a gruelling road trip, battled back to win at Traktor despite going 0-2 down in the first period.
The home team made the better start, and turned its superiority into two goals when Nick Bailen and Semyon Kokuyov struck twice in three minutes. However, a power play goal from Jyrki Jokipakka, Sochi’s most productive D-man, reduced the arrears before the first intermission.
In the middle frame, the visitor took control. Kirill Vorobyov’s first ever goal for Sochi tied the scores and Damir Rakhimullin punished Traktor for a mistake when exit its zone to make it 3-2. The host responded by laying siege to the Sochi net in the third period but despite leading the shot count 18-6, the only goal came at the other end when Robert Rosen scored into an empty net. The Swede moves to 18 (8+10) points for the season.
The Army Men marched back to the top of the Western Conference with a commanding victory over Jokerit. The visitor, missing suspended defenseman Alex Grant, slumped to its worst loss of the season and missed the chance to close on the conference leaders.
It didn’t take long for CSKA to get in front. Inside five minutes, Alexander Popov opened the scoring. That was a notable moment for the forward, who was making his 1,000th appearance in Russian Championship play and celebrated with his second goal of the season. Maxim Shalunov added a second and Jokerit spent the first period behind the eight-ball, managing a mere four shots on Ilya Sorokin’s net.
The second period was more even in terms of the play, but the only goal went to the home team. Anton Slepyshev extended CSKA’s advantage late in the session, and that tally seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Finns. The visitor was a muted threat in the third as Sergei Andronov added a goal and an assist to complete the scoring. CSKA goes back to the top – and tomorrow it faces SKA in a leadership battle.