Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The festivities weren’t confined to Petersburg. In Moscow, Spartak staged a retro day to recall its Spengler Cup win of 1990 and celebrated by edging Sochi in overtime. Jokerit also needed the extras to get past Dinamo Riga after trailing twice in Helsinki. Loko goalie Ilya Konovalov impressed once again, making 42 saves to deny Avangard. Dynamo Moscow’s Ivan Bocharov also had a shut-out as his team picked up a fourth straight win.

Fourth straight win for Dynamo

Amur Khabarovsk 0 Dynamo Moscow 2 (0-0, 0-1, 0-1)

Dynamo’s strong finish to 2018 continued with a road win in Khabarovsk, with Ivan Bocharov collecting his second shut-out of the season.

Early on, Amur had the visitor under pressure. The first period saw the home team top the shot count 10-3 but there was no way past Bocharov. Then, Dynamo got its game going and Dmitry Kagarlitsky emerged as the architect of the victory. First, he broke the deadlock midway through the second period, assisted by his ever-reliable partner in crime Vadim Shipachyov. Then, late in the game Kagarlitsky set up Daniil Tarasov for an empty net goal to seal the deal.

This winning run has tightened Dynamo’s grip on a playoff place in the Western Conference; the Blue-and-Whites are now fairly secure in sixth place and hold an eight-point advantage over ninth-placed Dinamo Riga.

Bottom club grabs a win

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Admiral Vladivostok 4 (0-2, 1-1, 0-1)

Sibir’s recent upswing in form hit a bump when it went down to a heavy loss at home to bottom club Admiral.

The damage was done in the first period when Nikita Feoktistov and Konstantin Glazachev opened a 2-0 lead for the visitor. Nikolai Demidov’s short-handed goal gave Sibir a glimmer of hope in the middle stanza but Denis Vikharev scored on the power play seconds before the intermission to restore that two-goal advantage.

Sergei Konkov added a fourth in the final session to give Admiral a rare win to celebrate. The Sailors remain at the foot of the table but are now within one point of Severstal, the Western Conference back marker.

Salavat hits back to sink Severstal

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 Severstal Cherepovets 2 (0-1, 1-1, 2-0)

Salavat Yulaev got a much-needed win but had to work hard to get past the Western Conference’s bottom club in Ufa. Severstal led twice before finally succumbing, Salavat goes to sixth in the East.

The first period produced a solitary goal, scored by the visitor’s Sergei Monakhov in the 17th minute. Ufa tied it up through Zakhar Arzamastsev midway through the second period but Severstal regained the initiative when Alexei Mikhnov converted a power play chance late in the middle frame.

It all turned around in the third. Dmitry Kugryshev scored on a home power play early in the session and Artyom Sergeyev got the winner in the 52nd minute.

Konovalov halts Avangard

Avangard Omsk 0 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 (0-2, 0-0, 0-0)

Lokomotiv is showing signs of building up a head of steam with a second successive victory on the road. The Railwaymen made a fast start to roll over Avangard, snapping the host’s three-game winning streak.

Photo: 22.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Avangard (Omsk) - Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)

All the scoring came in the first period. Georgy Ivanov put Lokomotiv ahead after 10 minutes and Daniil Apalkov doubled the advantage in the 17th minute. Loko’s two goals came from just four shots on target – a statistic that underlines the way the game went.

Avangard was even more dominant going forward in the remaining 40 minutes. However, it hit an immovable object in the form of young goalie Ilya Konovalov. The 20-year-old, increasingly widely tipped to be Russia’s next top-class netminder, produced 42 saves for his fifth shut-out of the season, defying the home offense and claiming an impressive win.

Spartak wins a retro-special

Spartak Moscow 3 HC Sochi 2 OT (0-0, 1-0, 1-2, 1-0)

The record attendance in Petersburg was not the only hockey festival of the day. Spartak, as is now traditional, staged its retro game in Moscow – and was rewarded with a hard-fought win over Sochi.

Photo: 22.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Spartak (Moscow) - HC Sochi (Sochi)

This year’s theme was the 1990s, a decade noted for its ups and downs in Russia. And the game itself produced mixed emotions: anticipation, as the opening goal took 38 minutes to arrive; delight, when Martins Karsums put the host 1-0 in front.

Then came frustration as Sean Collins tied it up, reassurance when Andrei Kuteikin restored the Spartak lead and anxiety when Sochi refused to yield and forced overtime thanks to Ziyat Paigin’s power play tally. In the end, the narrative concluded with triumph when Ben Maxwell scored an overtime winner against his former club. Spartak made it three wins in a row in the lurid orange uniforms with which the club won the Spengler Cup back in 1990.

It’s a Loov-ertime win for Jokerit

Jokerit Helsinki 3 Dinamo Riga 2 OT (0-1, 2-1, 0-0, 1-0)

Dinamo, triumphant over SKA in midweek, took another Western Conference high-flyer to overtime but could not find the knock-out blow to despatch Jokerit.

The Latvians led twice in Helsinki after an early reprieve when a Jesse Joensuu goal was ruled out following a coach’s challenge for offside. Linus Videll, a hat-trick hero in Petersburg, opened the scoring early on but Brian O’Neill tied it up at the start of the second period with a power play goal.

Dinamo’s own PP delivered in the 35th minute as Lauris Darzins restored the visitor’s lead but Max Warn potted another tying goal with seconds to play in the period. The visitor might have snatched it in the third – Gints Meija hit the post, and Jokerit had to survive a late PK – but there was no further scoring until overtime. The Finns killed off the rest of that penalty and settled the outcome thanks to a Viktor Loov strike on 61:01.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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