Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The story of the day came from Belarus, where Western Conference struggler Dinamo Minsk shocked defending champion Ak Bars with a 3-2 win. League leader CSKA also had a tough time of it before edging Neftekhimik in overtime. Lokomotiv needed the extras to clinch a lively encounter in Ufa, Avangard won the Siberian derby against Sibir and there were home triumphs for Barys and Sochi.

Two points for Dietz in Barys victory

Barys Astana 4 Admiral Vladivostok 3 (3-3, 0-0, 1-0)

Barys picked up its third win over Admiral this season – but it was far from plain sailing for the Kazakh team.

The early stages saw the host in dominant mood. Two power plays led to two Barys goals. Roman Starchenko and Dustin Boyd found the net as the home fans settled down for a comfortable evening. But a rude awakening soon followed. In the space of eight minutes, Admiral turned the scoreline upside down to lead 3-2 with Denis Vikharev, Karel Kubat and Yegor Yakovlev all on target. It took a goal from Andre Petersson right on the hooter to send the teams into the intermission tied at three.

The middle frame did not produce any further goals, despite intense home pressure. It wasn’t until the 48th minute that Barys regained the lead when Matthew Frattin potted the decisive goal. Darren Dietz, the most productive defenseman in the KHL this season, collected two assists in the game.

200 points for Kronwall, 50 goals for Kozun

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 OT (1-1, 0-1, 2-1, 0-1)

It was a day of landmarks in Ufa as Lokomotiv recorded its fourth successive victory over Salavat Yulaev.

Photo: 24.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) - Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)

The first period brought a power play goal for Swedish defenseman Staffan Kronwall, who collected his 200th KHL point in a career that has taken in spells at Severstal and Lokomotiv. In response, Zakhar Arzamastsev tied the game for the host, getting his 100th KHL point into the bargain.

In the second period Georgy Ivanov put Loko back in front and the start of the third saw Brandon Kozun on the mark to pot his 50thgoal for Lokomotiv. That wasn’t the end: Arzamastsev scored another and assisted as Dmitry Kugryshev tied the game and took us to overtime. The fightback was finally halted in the extras when Denis Alexeyev got the decider.

Minsk stuns the champion

Dinamo Minsk 3 Ak Bars Kazan 2 (2-0, 0-0, 1-2)

Dinamo head coach Andrei Sidorenko tore into his players for their slow starts to recent games – and his team responded perfectly at home to Ak Bars. Two unanswered goals in the opening frame set the Western Conference outsider on the way to a memorable victory over last season’s Gagarin Cup winner.

There was nothing slow about this start from Dinamo. Alexei Tereshchenko opened the scoring after 67 seconds, and the host continued to give as good as it got for the rest of the frame. A Sergei Kostitsyn power play goal was the reward and Minsk was 2-0 up at the first intermission.

Ak Bars did not take that lying down and dominated the second period without finding a way past Jhonas Enroth. Then, at the start of the third, Jiri Sekac got the visitor back in contention. Dinamo needed to dig deep and the home team found a quick response thanks to Dmitry Buinitsky. There was still time for Rob Klinkhammer to pot a power play goal against his former club and set up a tense finale. Dinamo, though, hung on to make it three wins in a row and keep alive its hopes of forcing a way back into playoff contention.

O’Dell double leads Sochi to victory

HC Sochi 5 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 (2-1, 1-0, 2-1)

Sochi shrugged off a two-game losing streak to overtake Vityaz and return to seventh place in the Western Conference.

Neither team came into the game in good form – Torpedo had lost its previous three – so Denis Parshin’s early goal for the visitor could have been just the lift David Nemirovsky’s men needed. However, the score sparked Sochi into life. Vadim Khomitsky quickly tied the scores and Andrei Altybarmakyan got his second KHL goal to give his team the lead in the 10th minute. So far, the youngster’s four points have all come in victories for Sochi.

Once in front, the host turned to Eric O’Dell to apply some gloss to the performance. The Canadian notched twice in Sochi’s previous victory and repeated that feat here either side of the second intermission. Martin Bakos added a fifth with 10 to play before Torpedo’s Damir Zhafyarov scored a penalty shot to provide a late consolation.

Avangard wins the Siberian derby

Avangard Omsk 3 Sibir Novosibirsk 1 (0-0, 2-0, 1-1)

Balashikha is an unlikely setting for a Siberian derby but Avangard was able to celebrate victory over Sibir when the teams met for the first time in the Omsk club’s temporary home.

Photo: 24.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Avangard (Omsk) - Sibir (Novosibirsk region)

Last time the teams met, back in September, Sibir was in the midst of a dreadful winless start to the campaign while Avangard was keeping pace with Avtomobilist at the top of the table. Since then, the host’s form has cooled a little – although it remains top of the Chernyshev Division – while a revitalized Sibir is refusing to give up on an unlikely push for the playoffs.

Closer on paper and closer on the ice, the teams waited until the 34th minute before producing a goal. Sergei Shumakov broke the deadlock, getting his second goal since joining Avangard and giving his current employer the lead against his first KHL club. Three minutes later, the host was two in front when Ansel Galimov found the net.

Sibir rallied to halve the deficit early in the third thanks to Alexander Loginov but Avangard made sure of the points with an empty net goal from Kirill Semyonov.

CSKA digs deep to down Neftekhimik

CSKA Moscow 4 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 3 OT (2-2, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0)

It took an overtime goal for table-topping CSKA to get the better of a Neftekhimik team that came to Moscow with just one win in six previous games. While the Army Men continue to march away at the top of the table, the bonus point for the visitor helps to keep it in touch with the playoff race in the East.

Photo: 24.12.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. CSKA (Moscow) - Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)

The teams traded four goals in a frantic five-minute spell in the first period. Marat Khairullin twice gave the visitor the lead, but Andrei Svetlakov and Pavel Karnaukhov responded for CSKA. In the second period the host went in front for the first time through Greg Scott, but was unable to build on that advantage.

Neftekhimik recovered to tie the game when Damir Sharipzyanov converted a power play in the 54th minute – CSKA had just three seconds left on the PK when Sharipzyanov got his eighth of the season. That took us to overtime, and Kirill Kaprizov finally settled the outcome with 49 seconds left to play.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Dinamo (Minsk) Dinamo (Minsk)
Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) Sibir (Novosibirsk Region)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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