The day got off to a lively start with World Junior bronze medallist Kirill Slepets getting his first ever KHL goal as Lokomotiv won in Vladivostok, while Drew Shore and Sakari Manninen both hit hat-tricks as Jokerit won 5-3 in Shanghai. The high-flyers all won: CSKA eased to a 3-0 verdict over Dinamo Minsk while SKA defeated Vityaz 3-1 in the West; Avangard downed Spartak by the same scoreline in the East before Avtomobilist completed the day’s action with a 6-3 verdict at Slovan.

A tale of two hat-tricks

Kunlun Red Star 3 Jokerit Helsinki 5 (1-2, 0-2, 2-1)

Red Star’s Drew Shore and Jokerit’s Sakari Manninen both hit hat-tricks in an entertaining game in Shanghai – but the Finn left on the winning team.

The two key protagonists introduced themselves early on: both scored in the first six minutes as the game got off to a fast start. Sami Lepisto’s 11th-minute goal restored the visitor’s lead In the second period, Manninen put Jokerit in control. The forward, who scored twice against Red Star when the teams met at the start of the season, added two more to his opener this evening and put the visitor into a commanding 4-1 lead.

The final frame saw Red Star respond. Shore scored twice more, taking his tally to four in four games for his new club, but John Norman’s effort for Jokerit ensured the visitor was always comfortable in the closing stages.

Severstal gets the better of its former coach

Amur Khabarovsk 2 Severstal Cherepovets 3 SO (1-1, 0-1, 1-0, 0-0, 0-1)

Alexander Gulyavtsev’s first game as head coach of Amur saw him take on his former club, Severstal. And it was the visitor that took the verdict thanks to Alexei Mikhnov’s shoot-out winner.

Mikhnov haunted his former boss throughout the game, cancelling out Vyacheslav Ushenin’s opening goal as the teams made a bright start to the first period. Ivan Lekomtsev put Severstal ahead late in the second period but Vladislav Ushenin tied it up midway through the third.

Gulyavtsev, who took Severstal to last season’s playoffs but was replaced by Andrei Razin in November, took over the Amur job this week after previous head coach Nikolai Borshchevsky was moved to a vice-president’s role following five successive losses. Severstal’s win maintains its unbeaten start to 2019 and gives Razin’s team five victories in its last six outings.

Slepets gets his first KHL goal

Admiral Vladivostok 2 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 (0-1, 1-2, 1-1)

Kirill Slepets got his first goal in the KHL to help Lokomotiv begin its Far East tour with victory in Vladivostok.

The 19-year-old hit a hat-trick against Switzerland as Russia won bronze at the World Juniors and followed that up with another milestone when he claimed the game-winner here. The youngster got to the net in front of Konstantin Glazachev to put away Denis Alexeyev’s pass from the left boards and open a 3-1 lead late in the second period.

Andrei Loktionov was Loko’s other big player in this game. He opened the scoring with a short-handed goal in the last minute of the first period but then took a penalty early in the second that led to Vladimir Butuzov tying the game. At the midway point, Loktionov set up Yegor Averin to make it 2-1 and after Slepets’ strike those two combined for Brandon Kozun to add a fourth. Glazachev got a late consolation for the home team, which now lies three points adrift at the foot of the Eastern Conference.

Streaks come to an end in Siberia

Sibir Novosibirsk 4 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2 (1-1, 0-0, 3-1)

Sibir snapped a four-game losing sequence and halted Ufa’s four-game winning streak after battling to victory in Novosibirsk.

The in-form visitor made a fast start and went in front after four minutes through Linus Omark. However, it didn’t take long for World Junior bronze medallist Nikita Shashkov to tie the game. Early action was followed by a long pause in the scoring, and it wasn’t until the 44th minute that fit-again Gilbert Brule gave Sibir the lead.

Vladimir Zharkov cancelled out that goal, but Sibir went on to win it thanks to a penalty shot from Yegor Milovzorov and a last-second empty net goal from Maxim Kazakov.

Dietz hands Barys a shoot-out win

Barys Astana 3 HC Sochi 2 SO (0-1, 1-0, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0)

Robert Rosen struck late in the game to salvage a point for Sochi, but Barys defenseman Darren Dietz got the shoot-out winner to see the host back to winning ways after losing to Red Star on Thursday.

Rosen’s goal came barely a minute from the end, with Sochi on the power play and using the extra skater in a bid to claw back a 1-2 deficit. But the home team dominated overtime and eventually secured the win when Dietz and Roman Starchenko were the only players to score in the shoot-out.

Earlier, Denis Mosalyov gave Sochi a first-period lead before Kevin Dallman tied it up in the 28th minute. Andre Petersson, once a Sochi player, gave Barys the lead with a power play goal in the third – Dietz picked up an assist – but Rosen’s tying goal denied the host a regulation time win.

Beck’s double downs Spartak

Avangard Omsk 3 Spartak Moscow 1 (0-1, 2-0, 1-0)

Taylor Beck scored twice as Avangard came from behind to win 3-1 at home to Spartak.

Photo: 13.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Avangard (Omsk) - Spartak (Moscow)

The Canadian forward, a deadline day signing from Kunlun Red Star, now has 7 (5+2) points in 6 games since joining the Chernyshev Division leader. Bob Hartley’s team maintains its one-point advantage over Barys in the race to top the division and secured a seeded spot in the playoff bracket.

However, Spartak made it tough for the host in a blistering first period. The visitor led 20-6 on the shot count and only some assured goaltending from Ivan Nalimov kept the scoreline to 1-0. That goal came from Kaspars Daugavins on the first power play of the game. Avangard improved after the intermission, with Beck tying the scores before Ilya Mikheyev stepped out of the box in time to give his team a 2-1 lead. Spartak again dominated in the third but could not beat Nalimov; Beck delivered the coup de grace with five minutes to play.

Dynamo’s top line makes the difference

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 Dynamo Moscow 3 (0-0, 0-2, 1-1)

Dynamo’s run of good form continued with the Blue-and-Whites making it four wins from five in 2019 and tightening their grip on fifth place in the Western Conference.

Once again, the Shipachyov-Kagarlitsky partnership made a big contribution to this game, supplying two of the three goals. However, the opener came from Evgeny Mozer in the 24th minute to break the deadlock after a goalless first period.

Kagarlitsky doubled the lead midway through the game but Dynamo faced a tough start to the final frame when Dmitry Rodionychev halved the deficit then Michal Cajkovsky took a double major for boarding and fighting with Kirill Urakov. The visitor killed that power play before Shipachyov made the game safe with a third goal. Kagarlitsky and Miks Indrasis got the assists; the Latvian finished 0+2 for the game.

SKA sees off Vityaz

SKA St. Petersburg 3 Vityaz Moscow Region 1 (2-1, 0-0, 1-0)

In recent weeks, playoff chasing Vityaz has provided a stern test for the KHL’s high flyers. Today, though, SKA had enough to see off Valery Belov’s team, helped by a fast start in Petersburg.

The host jumped to a 2-0 lead with five minutes played thanks to goals from Sergei Plotnikov and Nikolai Prokhorkin. Those two forwards are hitting form right now: Prokhorkin has 7 (4+3) points in his last five games, Plotnikov scored three over the same run.

Vityaz responded quickly through Ilya Mikheyev and the game remained in the balance until late on. However, looks at the home net were few and far between even before Nikita Gusev restored SKA’s two-goal advantage with five minutes left. That strike confirmed the home team’s eighth win on the spin and Ilya Vorobyov’s team remains four points behind league leader CSKA in the race for the regular season title.

Army Men too strong for Minsk

CSKA Moscow 3 Dinamo Minsk 0 (1-0, 2-0, 0-0)

Lars Johansson recorded his eighth shut-out of the season as CSKA eased to victory against Dinamo Minsk.

Photo: 13.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. CSKA (Moscow) - Dinamo (Minsk)

The league leader was dominant throughout the game and there was little doubt about the outcome once Maxim Shalunov opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Artyom Chmykhov, a 21-year-old defenseman, got his first KHL assist on Shalunov’s opening goal.

In the second period, CSKA put the game beyond Dinamo’s reach with goals from Andrei Svetlakov and Anton Slepyshev. After a narrow loss at Lokomotiv, the Army Men have responded with two shut-out victories; Johansson made 14 saves as Dinamo went down to a fourth loss in five.

Vital road win for Traktor

Dinamo Riga 1 Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 OT (1-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1)

It needed just 14 seconds of overtime to settle this clash between two playoff-chasing teams – and Jonas Enlund got the vital goal for Traktor to give it a four-point cushion over ninth-placed Red Star in the Eastern Conference.

Enlund snapped a 1-1 tie as Traktor bounced back from a 0-6 mauling at CSKA and recorded its second narrow victory over Riga this season. On December 1, the Chelyabinsk men won 1-0 on home ice.

This time around, Dinamo wasted little time getting on the scoresheet, with Brandon McMillan finding the net after just 55 seconds. Ryan Stoa cancelled that out in the second period but neither side could force a winner in regulation. Enlund’s decider leaves Riga on a run of three losses, and three points adrift of eighth-placed Vityaz.

… and a tale of two doubles

Slovan Bratislava 3 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 6 (1-3, 1-1 1-2)

A day that started with two opposing players scoring hat-tricks in China, finished with two opponents poaching doubles in Slovakia. Avtomobilist bounced back from back-to-back losses to blitz Slovan early on and held on to claim a victory that reinforces its position at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Ilya Krikunov, who scored twice against Torpedo last time out, picked up where he left off with the opening goal after 77 seconds. Alexander Kucheryavenko and Nigel Dawes stretched that lead to 3-0 by the eighth minute, prompting Slovan to replace Marek Ciliak with Jakub Stepanek.

Patrik Lamper got Slovan on the board before the intermission and potted his second of the night midway through the game. By then, though, Dan Sexton had found the net for Avtomobilist and the American got his second at the start of the final frame to make it 5-2. Matus Sukel kept Slovan in contention, but Sexton’s assist gave Stephane Da Costa an empty net goal to seal the win.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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