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Sergei Mozyakin and Matt Ellison led the way as Metallurg demolished Spartak 7-3 in the day’s highest scoring game. Elsewhere, Dynamo Moscow suffered its first loss in seven with a 1-2 reverse at Vityaz, Slovan slumped to a ninth straight reverse when it lost by the same margin at home to Ak Bars, and Avangard’s lead in the Chernyshev Division was cut to just one point after Barys won at Admiral and the Hawks lost in Sochi.

Cormier double sinks Admiral

Admiral Vladivostok 1 Barys Astana 3 (1-1, 0-1, 0-1)

Barys made it three wins from three as Patrice Cormier scored twice to sink Admiral.

The home team, back in familiar waters after a three-game road trip, got off to a flying start. Barely two minutes had been played when Konstantin Glazachev opened the scoring. Unfortunately for the Sailors, that was as good as it got.

Cormier’s first of the game tied the scores in the 16th minute. It remained level until late in the middle frame when a passage of 4-on-4 play saw Barys put together a slick combination and Darren Dietz fired home the eventual game-winner. Cormier sealed the verdict with an empty net goal late on, Barys consolidated its grip on fifth place in the East.

Demchenko denies Sibir

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 OT (0-1, 1-0, 0-0, 0-1)

Traktor goalie Vasily Demchenko produced a game-winning performance to boost his team’s playoff prospects. He made 53 saves to frustrate Sibir as the Chelyabinsk team moved level on points with eighth-placed Kunlun Red Star.

Vladimir Pervushin was the only Sibir player to solve the visiting netminder, firing home a slap shot in the 36th minute. That cancelled out Yegor Dugin’s first-period opener, when the Traktor man forced home the rebound after Alexei Krasikov’s save. Sibir had a goal disallowed in the opening frame, compounding home frustrations.

The game remained deadlocked at 1-1 until five seconds from the end of overtime. Paul Szczechura finally broke that deadlock, converting a power play chance to snatch both points for the visitor. Traktor now has four wins in five, Sibir’s loss follows a run of just one defeat in eight games.

Marvellous Mozyakin scuppers Spartak

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 7 Spartak Moscow 3 (4-2, 2-1, 1-0)

Five points from Sergei Mozyakin helped Magnitka to a high-scoring victory over a Spartak team still looking for its first KHL victory in Magnitogorsk.

The visitor was determined to end that unhappy record and made an impressive start. Robin Hanzl’s first-minute goal gave Spartak the lead and even after Nick Shore tied it up, Yaroslav Dyblenko restored the Red-and-White advantage in the sixth minute.

But then came Mozyakin. An assist for Dennis Rasmussen helped to tie the scores once more, Grigory Dronov put the host up for the first time in the game, then captain Mozyakin was the provider as Matt Ellison got the first of his three goals to make it 4-2 at the first intermission.

Mozyakin scored himself early in the second frame, Ilya Zubov pulled one back for Spartak but the game ended with Ellison adding two more to complete his hat-trick, assisted on each occasion by Mozyakin. Metallurg’s talismanic forward moves to 35 points for the season and enters the top five scorers in the KHL this term.

Dynamo’s winning run ends

Vityaz Moscow Region 2 Dynamo Moscow 1

Vityaz snapped Dynamo’s six-game winning streak and picked up a valuable win against one of its closest playoff rivals. The Moscow Region team remains in eighth place in the West, but has a three-point cushion over Dinamo Riga while moving within two points of the Muscovites.

Photo: 08.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Vityaz (Moscow Region) - Dynamo (Moscow)

Early on, though, the visitor looked set to maintain its winning run. Ivan Igumnov put Dynamo ahead in the second minute and that lead endured until the first intermission. Dynamo looked comfortable enough, topping the shot count and displaying the kind of form that has seen its season revive under Vladimir Krikunov.

The second period changed all that. Alexander Semin tied the scores on the power play 66 seconds after the restart. Two minutes later, Miro Aaltonen put Vityaz ahead. The home team held onto that slender advantage until the end, collecting yet another tight victory. Three of Vityaz’ last four wins have been one-goal margins after coming from behind.

Avangard slips to third straight loss

HC Sochi 3 Avangard Omsk 2 (2-1, 1-0, 0-1)

Avangard’s position on top of the Chernyshev Division is coming under threat after a third straight loss. The Omsk team, playing in exile in Balashikha this season, is now just one point ahead of Barys amid a stuttering run of form.

Photo: 08.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. HC Sochi (Sochi) - Avangard (Omsk)

This trip to Sochi provided no respite. Bob Hartley’s men were 2-0 down inside five minutes after Robert Rosen and Nikita Tochitsky found the net early on. Denis Zernov got one back late in the frame, potting his 10th goal of the season and getting among the points for the fourth time in the last five games.

However, there was no recovery. Artyom Tomilin added a third for Sochi and Avangard’s response was restricted to a goal from Nikita Pivtsakin in the third period.

Galuzin reaches landmark in Torpedo triumph

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 5 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 3 (1-0, 3-2, 1-1)

Torpedo bagged a welcome victory to begin its latest home stand, consolidating its position in seventh while denying Neftekhimik the chance to close on the playoff places.

After snapping a four-game losing streak thanks to a strong third period in Minsk, Torpedo began where it left off. Mathew Bodie scored after 19 seconds and the host jumped to a 4-0 lead by the 30-minute mark. Admittedly, that came despite a strong Neftekhimik showing in the first period; Bodie’s goal separated the teams at the intermission. The middle frame, though, saw three home goals from just nine shots. Dmitry Korobov, Danil Veryayev and Philip Holm got the goals, Vladimir Galuzin recorded his 100th assist on the fourth.

Then came a wobble. Late in the second period, Pavel Padakin and Joonas Nattinen scored in quick succession to make it 2-4 and bring the game back to life. Andy Miele’s third-period goal restored Torpedo’s comfort zone and when Andrej Nestrasil potted a third for the visitor it was mere consolation.

Ninth straight loss for Slovan

Slovan Bratislava 1 Ak Bars Kazan 2 (0-1, 1-0, 0-1)

Defending champion Ak Bars bounced back from its heavy defeat at SKA to pile on more misery for Slovan. The Slovak team has now lost nine straight and is in danger of being left behind in the race for the playoffs. With 23 points from 38 games, Slovan has played more than anyone else in the West but lies 12 points adrift of eighth-placed Vityaz.

Ak Bars has no concerns about making the playoffs once again, though. With seven minutes gone, the visitor opened the scoring through Justin Azevedo, assisted by Jiri Sekac. Slovan tied it up in the middle session when Patrik Lamper scored, but a power play early in the third period saw Albert Yarullin claim the winner.

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