Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The Western Conference leaders both suffered losses in the build-up to Saturday’s stadium showdown in St. Petersburg. CSKA went down 4-1 at Jokerit while Linus Videll’s hat-trick led Dinamo Riga to an overtime win at SKA. Alexander Semin also scored three as Vityaz edged Severstal and Ilya Mikheyev made it a hat-trick of hat-tricks in Avangard’s 7-3 win over Severstal.

Dynamo recovers from 0-2

Kunlun Red Star 2 Dynamo Moscow 3 (2-0, 0-3, 0-0)

For the second time this month, Red Star led against Dynamo but ended up missing out. This time, the game turned on major penalty for Zach Yuen midway through the second period.

It was Yuen’s 100th appearance for the club, but it ended early when he was penalized for slew-footing on Andrei Pribylsky. Daniil Tarasov scored on the power play to tie the game at 2-2 and Dmitry Moiseyev potted the winner in the 39th minute. Wearied by its efforts on the PK, Red Star was unable to find a way back into the game in the third period and slipped to a seventh loss in eight games.

Earlier it all looked brighter for the host. After surviving some early pressure, Kunlun opened a 2-0 lead as Justin Fontaine crafted scoring chances for Wojtek Wolski and Patrik Lundh. But Vladimir Bryukvin got Dynamo back into the game in the 30th minute and Yuen’s foul ended up costing his team.

Second-period blitz gives Sibir the verdict

Sibir Novosibirsk 4 Amur Khabarovsk 3 (0-1, 4-1, 0-1)

Four goals in 10 second-period minutes set Sibir on the way to victory against its Chernyshev Division rival.

The opening frame saw Amur, buoyed by Tuesday’s win at Red Star, get ahead thanks to a Tomas Zohorna goal in the eighth minute. Sibir responded through Alexander Sharov at the start of the second period and went ahead when Nikita Mikhailov scored on the power play. Marek Hrbas got his first KHL goal to pull Amur back level but parity lasted just 11 seconds before Sharov’s second of the game made it 3-2. Vladimir Pervushin quickly added a fourth to complete a rapid home turnaround.

In the third period, the visitor battled hard to save itself. Late in the play an Amur goal was disallowed for kicking, and by the time Alexander Kuznetsov scored in the last seconds it was already too late to force overtime.

Loko snaps losing streak

Barys Astana 1 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 (0-1, 1-1, 0-0)

Lokomotiv snapped a three-game losing streak thanks to Yegor Averin’s second-period goal and some strong goaltending from Ilya Konovalov.

Photo: 20.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Barys (Astana) - Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)

Arriving in Kazakhstan to face a team with five wins in its previous six games, Lokomotiv made a fast start. In the fourth minute Andre Petersson took a tripping penalty and within 10 seconds Stepan Sannikov converted the power play for the visitor.

It wasn’t until the second period that Barys conjured an equalizer, with Roman Starchenko scoring during a passage of 4-on-4 play. But soon afterwards, Petersson took another penalty and Loko scored a second power play goal through Averin. The final frame produced a first opportunity for the home PP but Konovalov held firm. Petersson collected a misconduct penalty on the hooter to complete a frustrating day for the Swedish forward.

Semin’s treble sinks Sochi

Vityaz Moscow Region 3 HC Sochi 2 (1-0, 1-0, 1-2)

Alexander Semin played his 175th game in the KHL and celebrated with his first hat-trick in the competition as Vityaz moved level on points with its rival for a playoff place.

The 34-year-old returned to Russia’s top league this season after a campaign with Sokol Krasnoyarsk, his home-town team, in the second tier. After a relatively slow start, with just one goal and five points in his first 11 games, the winger has picked up pace recently and came into this game on a point-a-game run over his last six appearances to lift his tally to 28 (13+15). Then came his first triple blast in a competition where he has also represented Metallurg and Torpedo.

Semin scored a goal in each period and his 45th-minute tally looked to have ended the game as a contest with Vityaz leading 3-0. Sochi, though, had other ideas. Late goals from Robert Rosen and Vladislav Kaletnik set up a tense finish but Vityaz saw it out to take the points.

Shumakov’s debut goal and Mikheyev’s hat-trick

Avangard Omsk 7 Severstal Cherepovets 3 (2-0, 0-2, 5-1)

Struggling Severstal gave Avangard plenty to think about but a hat-trick from Ilya Mikheyev and two points for new signing Sergei Shumakov saw the Eastern Conference team to victory.

Photo: 20.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Avangard (Omsk) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

It seemed straightforward for the host early on. Highly-rated youngster Artyom Manukyan put Avangard in front and Shumakov assisted as Alexei Emelin made it 2-0 at the first intermission. But Severstal belied its lowly status in the second period as it hit back to tie the scores. Yury Trubachyov and Alexei Mikhnov did the damage to stun the home crowd.

Shumakov, who returned to Russia this week after a short spell with Herschey Bears in the AHL, celebrated his homecoming with the 3-2 goal before Kirill Semyonov added a fourth. Severstal still wasn’t done, but Vadim Kudako’s strike prompted a rousing finish from the host; in the last five minutes Mikheyev snatched a hasty hat-trick to apply some gloss to the final scoreline.

Videll sparks a sensation

SKA St. Petersburg 2 Dinamo Riga 3 OT (2-1, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1)

At the start of the season, Linus Videll was the man whose scoring form pushed Dinamo Riga high up the table. Since those heady days, both club and individual have struggled for consistency. The Latvians dropped out of the playoff places, while Videll himself was hampered by injury and played just three games in November.

Today’s game, though, served notice that Dinamo is back in business – with a shock victory at SKA to underline the point. Videll was the go-to man throughout, grabbing both goals in regulation before potting the overtime winner. There were just 71 seconds played when the Swede opened the scoring. True, SKA hit back and led 2-1 at the intermission, but Videll wasn’t finished. He tied the game early in the second frame before Timur Bilyalov took over.

The Dinamo goalie was in inspired form to keep SKA’s powerful offense at bay. The was progressively more dominant as the game went on but could not beat Bilyalov and found itself dragged into overtime. Two minutes ito the extras, Videll got one-on-one with SKA netminder Igor Shestyorkin and calmly converted the game-winning goal.

Jokerit impresses as CSKA hits penalty trouble

Jokerit Helsinki 4 CSKA Moscow 1 (2-1, 1-0, 1-0)

Jokerit gained revenge for its earlier 0-5 loss in Moscow as CSKA went spinning to a second successive defeat in advance of Saturday’s stadium showdown against SKA.

The home team got an early lead when Geoff Platt scored against one of his former clubs in the third minute. CSKA responded with a power play goal as Mikhail Grigorenko lasered a shot past Janis Kalnins, but the Army Men had nothing else to celebrate.

A 5-on-3 power play late in the first period handed Kristian Vesalainen the chance to make it 2-1; the 19-year-old now has four goals in nine games since arriving in Finland last month. CSKA’s problems got worse when Maxim Mamin got a game misconduct penalty and Niklas Jensen added another power play goal in the second period. John Norman finished it off with an empty net goal as Jokerit bounced back from Tuesday’s heavy defeat at Spartak.

Tsyplakov’s mixed evening

Spartak Moscow 2 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 1 SO (0-0, 0-1, 1-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Spartak kept its composure to claim a shoot-out win after a tight game in Moscow. The host took the verdict thanks to Artyom Fyodorov’s successful post-game attempt; goalie Julius Hudacek had three shoot-out saves.

Photo: 20.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Spartak (Moscow) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

It took 30 minutes for the teams to produce a goal and it was Salavat Yulaev that opened the scoring. Zakhar Arzamastsev took his chance to give the visitor a slender lead in a game of few chances.

The third period was a busy one for Spartak’s Maxim Tsyplakov. First, the 20-year-old tied the scores in the 48th minute. Then, three minutes later, he was removed from the game following a high hit on Anton Burdasov. The home team held its nerve, though, and took the points in the extras.

More misery for Slovan in Minsk

Dinamo Minsk 2 Slovan Bratislava 1 (0-1, 0-0, 2-0)

Dinamo picked up back-to-back wins for the first time since Nov. 19 to extend Slovan’s wretched run and deny the Slovaks a chance of climbing from the foot of the Western Conference.

The visitor arrived in Belarus on the back of a painful 11-game losing sequence but threatened to change that when Chad Rau’s power play goal opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Dinamo had the better of the play after that and dominated the second period but could not find a way past Jakub Stepanek in the Slovan goal.

That all changed in the third. Slovan created a flurry of chances around Jhonas Enroth’s net, only to see Minsk go to the other end and tie the game through Evgeny Lisovets. Then, in the 53rd minute, Teemu Pulkkinen put Dinamo in front and set up a second successive victory.

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