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Vityaz delivered the shock of the day with a 2-0 victory over CSKA. The Army Men’s winning march – 18 games without defeat before today – ground to a halt in Podolsk. Western Conference rival SKA had no such problems at home to Slovan, easing to a 4-1 victory. The Slovak team slipped to the foot of the conference following Dinamo Minsk’s victory over Riga. Spartak enjoyed the biggest win of the day, 5-0 over Jokerit.

Shipachyov lifts Dynamo to victory

Admiral Vladivostok 1 Dynamo Moscow 2 (1-0, 0-1, 0-1)

Dynamo began its Far Eastern adventure with a comeback win that tightens its grip on a playoff place.

Admiral, currently at the foot of the KHL table, made the brighter start and got in front after nine minutes through Alexander Chernikov’s power play goal. However, the visitor could call upon Vadim Shipachyov to turn the game around. The former SKA forward tied it up in the second period off a Dmitry Kagarlitsky feed, then set up Daniil Tarasov for the winner six minutes before the end.

Shipachyov moves on to 41 (12+29) points for the season and now sits third in the KHL scoring race behind Nigel Dawes (Avtomobilist) and Nikita Gusev (SKA). Kagarlitsky is fourth on the list, two points further back.

Furch makes 55 saves but Barys gets the shut-out

Barys Astana 3 Severstal Cherepovets 0 (0-0, 1-0, 2-0)

Visiting goalie Dominik Furch found himself at the center of a Barys storm – but the Czech international ended on the losing side despite making 55 saves on the night.

The home team’s dominance was total: in the first period Furch made 24 stops to keep the game goalless as Severstal became too well-acquainted with the penalty box. In the second period, the pressure finally paid off when Nikita Mikhailis opened the scoring with a power play goal midway through the game.

Furch, though, was proving a formidable obstacle. Severstal was struggling to generate offense but the goalie kept his team in the game until the 58th minute when Patrice Cormier provided the comfort of a 2-0 scoreline. Mikhailis wrapped it up with an empty net goal; Henrik Karlsson made 13 saves for his shut-out.

Amur gets instant revenge

Kunlun Red Star 2 Amur Khabarovsk 3 (0-2, 0-1, 2-0)

Amur quickly avenged yesterday’s 1-3 loss at Red Star, collecting a 3-2 win in the second of the teams’ back-to-back encounters in Shanghai.

The visitor took control of the game in the first period thanks to goals from Pavel Dedunov and Igor Rudenkov. The middle frame saw a third goal for Amur when the Ushenin twins combined to add a power play marker.

At 0-3 down, Red Star raised its game. The Chinese team has pulled off some impressive ‘great escapes’ this season and got back to 2-3 with seven minutes left. Wojtek Wolski collected his 200th regular season point with an assist on a Ville Lajunen power play goal, then Michael Latta stuffed the puck home after a scramble in front of Marek Langhamer’s net. But the home momentum was snapped when Victor Bartley took a penalty and Amur held on for the win.

Debut goal for Milovzorov

Sibir Novosibirsk 4 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 (2-1, 1-1, 1-0)

Yegor Milovzorov marked his return to Sibir with a goal as the Novosibirsk team defeated Lokomotiv. A third win in four games moves the Siberians to within seven points of a playoff spot. That’s still a tall order, but after 12 consecutive defeats at the start of the season, Sibir has shown impressive form since to haul itself up the table.

Milovzorov, signed from Avtomobilist last week, needed less than two minutes to make an impact: he opened the scoring on 1:53, finding the net with his first shot of the game. Shortly afterwards, Jordan Caron doubled the lead as the host made a strong start. Loko responded through Brandon Kozun inside a whirlwind first 10 minutes before the game settled down somewhat.

Sibir extended its lead in the second period on a Vladimir Pervushin strike but Loko hit back once more when Staffan Kronwall made it 2-3 early in the third. Kronwall moves to 199 points in the KHL but could not help his team escape defeat. Danil Romantsev’s short-handed goal late on sealed the deal for Sibir.

Sensational defeat for CSKA

Vityaz Moscow Region 2 CSKA Moscow 0 (1-0, 1-0, 0-0)

CSKA’s imposing 18-match unbeaten run came shuddering to a halt thanks to an impressive goaltending display from Alexander Samonov. The 23-year-old, given the starting role while Joni Ortio rested, made 37 saves to spike the Army Men’s guns and set up a memorable victory.

Photo: 18.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019 Vityaz (Moscow Region) - CSKA (Moscow)

Many observers had seen this game as a formality for CSKA and were speculating about the possibility of Igor Nikitin’s team setting a new KHL record of 21 successive wins at the weekend. Vityaz, however, had other ideas. From Samonov’s heroics in only his seventh appearance of the season to a rigorously disciplined display that allowed CSKA just two minutes on the PP, this was a big night for the host.

The opening goal came on a power play, amid a flurry of misplaced sticks. At one stage in the build-up, two CSKA skaters and goalie Lars Johansson all found themselves without a stick; goalscorer Alexander Semin snapped his when attempting one shot but had time to collect a new weapon and put it to immediate goalscoring effect. Alexei Makeyev then doubled the lead in the second period and Vityaz hung on to claim a memorable triumph.

SKA sends Slovan to the bottom

SKA St. Petersburg 4 Slovan Bratislava 1 (1-1, 2-0, 1-0)

While CSKA stumbled, its closest rival for top spot made no mistake. SKA recovered from an early surprise to roll over Slovan in convincing fashion.

The visitor briefly threatened to upset the Petersburg powerhouse: nine minutes into the game, Matus Sukel gave Slovan a surprise lead. The joy was short-lived, though. Nail Yakupov tied the scores barely 30 seconds later and after that it was all about the home team.

Second-period tallies from Sergei Plotnikov and Nikolai Prokhorkin took the game away from Slovan before Nikita Gusev wrapped it up with 10 minutes to play. The visitor ran out of steam in the final period, managing just three shots on Magnus Hellberg’s net in the last 20 minutes. The defeat saw Slovan drop to the foot of the Western Conference.

Clinical Spartak thumps Jokerit

Spartak Moscow 5 Jokerit Helsinki 0 (2-0, 1-0, 2-0)

Spartak produced an impressive display to sweep aside Jokerit – and goalie Julius Hudacek posted his first shut-out of the season.

Photo: 18.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Spartak (Moscow) - Jokerit (Helsinki)

Alexander Khokhlachyov was the difference in the first period. He opened the scoring in the third minute and returned late in the frame to double the lead. With the game shaping up to be short on clear cut chances, the signs were already ominous for Jokerit.

In the second period, the visitor livened up its offense but could not beat Hudacek. Instead, Ben Maxwell added the only score of the session to give Spartak a more comfortable advantage. The third frame saw Khokhlachyov add an assist on Yaroslav Dyblenko’s power play goal before Maxim Tsyplakov completed the scoring in the 54th minute. Hudacek finished with 22 saves, Spartak scored five off 19 shots on target.

Minsk moves off the foot of the table

Dinamo Minsk 2 Dinamo Riga 1 (0-0, 0-1, 2-0)

A third-period fightback between these two namesakes saw Minsk claim its first win in four thanks to two goals from Quinton Howden.

The Latvians took the lead at the start of the second period when Martins Dzierkals converted a power play chance but there was little more for Riga to enjoy. Howden’s first of the night came in the 47th minute and from that moment on Minsk ramped up the pressure on Timur Bilyalov’s net. It all paid off with less than two minutes to go when Howden scored again.

The win lifts Minsk over Slovan and Severstal into 10th place in the Western Conference. Riga is one place and 10 points better off.

O’Dell delivers

HC Sochi 5 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2 (1-0, 2-0, 2-2)

Eric O’Dell was the key man for Sochi, scoring twice and adding an assist in this 5-2 win over Salavat Yulaev.

The host got the only goal of the first period when Robert Rosen set up Ziyat Paigin for a power play goal in the 13th minute. But the middle frame saw O’Dell get to work. Another power play and another Rosen feed saw the Canadian double the lead on the half-hour. Four minutes later, an error on the Salavat Yulaev power play presented O’Dell and Stanislav Bocharov with an odd-man rush and O’Dell added a short-handed tally to his collection.

Anton Burdasov gave Ufa hope with a power play goal at the start of the third, but Andrei Altybarmakyan got his first KHL marker to restore Sochi’s three-goal advantage. Linus Omark snapped his goalles streak to make it 2-4 but O’Dell & Co would have the last word when the Canadian turned provider to give Rosen an empty net goal at the death.

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