Andy Potts Andy Potts
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CSKA goalie Ilya Sorokin posted his fourth successive shut-out as CSKA beat Sochi 2-0 in Moscow. The day’s top-scoring game was in Helsinki, where Jokerit shot down Avangard 7-4 on a night for goalies to forget; much earlier, forwards suffered lean pickings in Khabarovsk as Amur won a shoot-out after a 0-0 tie. The playoff picture changed, with Kunlun Red Star moving into eighth place in the East and Vityaz edging ahead of Dynamo Moscow in the Western Conference.

Amur goalies frustrate Spartak

Amur Khabarovsk 1 Spartak Moscow 0 SO (0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Goalies were well on top in this encounter, with neither team managing to score in open play. But while Spartak had a shut-out from Nikita Bespalov, Amur had two netminders in unbeatable form.

Photo: 21.11.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Amur (Khabarovsk) - Spartak (Moscow)

Alexei Murygin took the starting role and stopped 17 shots over the 65 minutes of the game. In the shoot-out, he stepped aside for Evgeny Alikin, and the understudy rose to the occasion to stop all four attempts from Spartak. In reply, Amur’s Tomas Zohorna and Vladislav Ushenin beat Bespalov to secure the victory.

Spartak’s problems were not limited to the scoreline. Kaspars Daugavins was ejected from the game in the 49th minute for slashing at Denis Kuzmin.

Kunlun returns to playoff zone

Kunlun Red Star 4 Dinamo Minsk 1 (2-0, 1-0, 1-1)

Red Star enjoyed a relaxed schedule for much of this month, playing just one game between November 5 and today’s game. The rest paid off, with the home team powering to victory at home to Dinamo Minsk and avenging a 1-4 loss in Belarus on Nov. 1.

It didn’t take long for Jussi Tapola’s team to assert itself. Olli Palola opened the scoring in the third minute and Cory Kane doubled the lead in the ninth minute. Midway through the second period, Justin Fontain scored against his former club to put Kunlun in complete control.

Dinamo raised its game later on with Denis Kazionov pulling a goal back, but Ondrej Vitasek’s empty-net strike wrapped up a convincing win. Red Star moves back into the playoff places, level on points with Neftekhimik having played two games fewer.

Landmark for Sorokin

CSKA Moscow 2 HC Sochi 0 (1-0, 0-0, 1-0)

CSKA goalie Ilya Sorokin secured his fourth successive shut-out and set a new mark for the longest streak this season. The 23-year-old has not allowed a goal in 240:30, moving ahead of Igor Shestyorkin’s total of 208:30 for SKA earlier in the campaign.

Photo: 21.11.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. CSKA (Moscow) - HC Sochi (Sochi)

Sorokin maintained his shut-out streak with 21 saves as CSKA made it 11 wins in a row and moved to within a single point of Avtomobilist at the top of the regular season table. In the Western Conference, the Army Men lead SKA by five.

Not that Sochi, looking to tighten its grip on a playoff place, made it easy for the high-powered home team. CSKA took the lead in the 15th minute through Greg ScottLinden Vey’s assist makes four games in a row among the points for him – but Sochi did not roll over. The visitor battled throughout and prevented CSKA from romping away with the victory. Only in the last minute did Anton Slepyshev’s empty net goal secure the win for the host; Dmitry Shikin had 35 saves in the visitor’s net.

Fun times in Finland

Jokerit Helsinki 7 Avangard Omsk 4 (1-0, 4-1, 2-3)

Jokerit romped to a high-scoring victory in this clash of two teams near the top of their respective conferences.

The game turned out to be a feast of goals, but there was little evidence of what would come in a first period that the visitor dominated for significant spells. Only towards the end of the frame did the opening goal arrive – and it went to Jokerit, somewhat against the run of play, when Alex Grant shot home barely a minute before the hooter.

The second period began with Avangard tying the scores through Viktor Stalberg and the shock of allowing a goal seemed to spark Jokerit into life. Stalberg’s shot hit the net so hard it bounced out before the officials could confirm the goal and the delay caused by the video review worked in the home team’s favor. Steve Moses quickly restored Jokerit’s lead, then Brian O’Neill fed Viktor Loov for the 3-1 goal. O’Neill enjoyed his role as provider, collecting assists as Sami Lepisto and John Norman took the lead out to 5-1 before the second intermission. Pekka Jormakka added a sixth early in the final frame.

Despite the one-sided scoring, Avangard continued to create chances but found it hard to get the better of Ryan Zapolski in the home net. That changed in the third period: Denis Zernov pulled one back, Ilya Mikheyev converted a 5-on-3 power play. Geoff Platt’s short-handed goal steadied home nerves but Avangard still had the final say thanks to Evgeny Medvedev’s last-minute goal.

Riga loses to playoff rival

Dinamo Riga 1 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (0-1, 0-1, 1-0)

Vityaz returned to the playoff places thanks to this victory in Latvia, with Dinamo missing the chance to consolidate its grip on seventh place. Riga has a slender two-point advantage over today’s opponent, although Vityaz has played two more games this season.

The first period saw Vityaz strike early then defend. Marek Hrivik got the opening goal in the third minute; the visitor spent less than two minutes on the attack as Dinamo tried to keep Joni Ortio busy in the away net. The middle frame began with another early Vityaz goal. Miro Aaltonen collected his second assist of the night as Alexander Semin doubled the lead. This time, though, the visitor posed more offensive threats throughout the session although neither side could change the 0-2 scoreline.

Dinamo gave itself a chance with 10 minutes left when Mathew Maione let fly with a trademark slapshot to halve the deficit. That was the defenseman’s seventh goal and 28th point of a highly productive season in Riga. However, it was not enough to save his team from defeat in this one.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Jokerit (Helsinki) Jokerit (Helsinki)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
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CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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