Neftekhimik turned the form book upside down with an emphatic 6-2 win at table-topping Avtomobilist. The win snaps a four-game losing streak and puts Andrei Nazarov’s team back into a playoff place. Elsewhere, Sibir and Ak Bars enjoyed shut-out wins over Salavat Yulaev and Traktor.
Romantsev, 25 potted his seventh goal of the season – all of them coming in wins for Sibir. That came in the first period and proved to be enough to win the game. To Sibir’s credit, the home team did not try to sit back and hold on to its lead; instead the Siberians took the game to Salavat Yulaev in the second period, outshooting the visitor 16-8. But there was no more scoring: Krasikov made 29 saves for his first shut-out of the season and Juha Metsola stopped 27 attempts from Sibir.
The result snaps Salavat’s five-game winning streak against Sibir; the home team extends its best run of the season and is now just one point adrift of 11th-placed Amur in the Eastern Conference table.
Neftekhimik leapt back into the playoff places with an emphatic victory over league leader Avtomobilist.
The Yekaterinburg team has struggled for form since the international break, losing three out of four games since then after just one defeat in the previous 26 games. That stumble has coincided with the absence of injured goalie Jakub Kovar; his replacement, Vladimir Sokhatsky, was beaten six times in this game as Neftekhimik snapped its four-game losing streak in some style.
Andrej Nestrasil’s power play goal was the only score in the first period, but Neftekhimik took a firm grip on the game with two markers midway through the middle frame. Mikael Ruohomaa and Pavel Padakin scored two in three minutes to open a 3-0 lead. Francis Pare got one back for the host in the final minute of the session but there would be no fightback. Instead, Juuso Puustinen scored twice and Emil Galimov added a sixth before Nigel Dawes notched a late consolation goal for Avtomobilist.
Ak Bars moved out in front at the top of the Kharlamov Division thanks to a comfortable road win at Traktor.
Vladislav Podyapolsky made 30 saves to record his third shut-out of the season, while Alexei Potapov got the opening goal with a fine individual effort after intercepting the puck on his own blue line.
The second period saw the visitor put the game beyond Traktor’s reach with further goals from Justin Azevedo and Anton Lander; Azevedo assisted on Lander’s effort before scoring himself off a defense-splitting pass from Jiri Sekac.
Ak Bars moves on to 43 points, two clear of division rival Metallurg.