Ak Bars made it seven wins in a row with a 5-3 victory over Lokomotiv – but the visitor was left frustrated by Emil Garipov’s goaltending in a game that was closer than the scoreline might suggest. Vityaz and Slovan met for the second time in a week, and once again Vityaz recovered from 0-2 to win it.
Ak Bars extended its winning run to seven games – but this convincing scoreline against Lokomotiv owed much to some solid goaltending from Emil Garipov, especially in the early stages of the game.
Over the first two periods, Loko outshot its host 27-13 but trailed 2-1. Artur Kayumov’s goal late in the second session gave the visitor hope of turning its pressure into a more tangible reward but Ak Bars had shown greater composure in front of the net and made more of the chances it created. Roman Manukhov’s early goal for the host was the only tally in the first period; Artyom Mikheyev doubled the lead early in the second.
The third period did not see any big changes in the pattern of play. Lokomotiv continued to have the lion’s share of the chances but Garipov continued to frustrate the visitor. And, when opportunities came at the other end, the home forwards had the measure of Ilya Konovalov. Vladimir Tkachyov extended the lead midway through the frame, then Justin Azevedo scored the pick of the bunch a couple of minutes later.
Belatedly, Lokomotiv found its shooting range. Artyom Ilyenko reduced the deficit, Andrei Loktionov made it a one-goal game to make six goals in six games for him. But the last minute brought an empty net goal from Rob Klinkhammer to make it safe for the home team.
A week ago, Vityaz trailed 0-2 against Slovan and rallied to win. Fast forward seven days, and the exact same thing happened.
This time, the Moscow Region team needed overtime to secure the verdict and record its third victory over the Slovaks this season. But the game followed a similar pattern to last week’s encounter in Bratislava. Slovan made the brighter start and led 2-0 at the midway point thanks to two goals from Rudolf Cerveny.
But once again, Vityaz recovered in the third period. Alexei Makeyev got the home team on the scoreboard early in the session then Alexander Semin tied the game with 10 minutes to play. Overtime saw a penalty on Eric Gelinas and Semin converted that power play to give his team the win and help Vityaz close on the playoff places.