Andy Potts Andy Potts
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It was a day of surprises in the KHL. If Avtomobilist’s convincing win over SKA raised eyebrows, there were bigger shocks elsewhere. Vityaz won at Metallurg for the first time since February 2014, Severstal went to Balashikha and handed Avangard a first defeat of the season while Lokomotiv again allowed four goals in the second period and a lost at home to Torpedo. CSKA Moscow was taken to overtime by Neftekhimik and across town the derby between Dynamo and Spartak also went to the extras. In both cases, the home team eventually prevailed. There was another high-scoring game in Sochi, where Dinamo Minsk suffered a 4-5 loss.

Macek double leads Motormen to victory

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 5 SKA St. Petersburg 2 (0-0, 3-1, 2-1)

Goals: 1-0 Macek (Gurkin 26:44 SH); 1-1 Ketov (Rukavishnikov, Zemchyonuk 34:11 SH); 2-1 Mozer (34:22 PP); 3-1 Obidin (Gareyev 37:46); 3-2 Zub (Dyblenko 47:42); 4-2 Vasilevsky (Dawes, Obidin 54:27 PP); 5-2 Macek (Tryamkin 59:29 empty net)

Goalies: Kovar – Kochetkov

Avtomobilist maintained its winning start to the season, ending SKA’s unbeaten run in an entertaining game in Yekaterinburg. Avto’s strong start to the campaign is even more impressive, given that Andrei Martemyanov has been unable to call on Anatoly Golyshev, one of last season’s leading scorers, and new signing Pavel Datsyuk.

Against Datsyuk’s former club, the home team moved ahead in the second period. Dan Sexton fluffed a chance with a penalty shot, but Brooks Macek grabbed the opening goal soon afterwards with his team short-handed. SKA answered that one in kind with Evgeny Ketov strengthening his position as the KHL’s leader scorer of goals on the PK, but it took just 11 seconds for Evgeny Mozer to convert the power play and restore Avtomobilist’s lead. Late in the middle frame a breakaway saw Andrei Obidin extend the advantage and Nigel Dawes was denied by Pyotr Kochetkov after a defensive error presented the forward with a great chance.

SKA still had hopes of getting back into the game, especially after Avtomobilist had a goal disallowed early in the third. Artyom Zub made it a one-goal game when his misplaced shot took a wild ricochet off a home skate and left Jakub Kovar stranded. But the Motormen were not about to be bounced out of the game: Alexei Vasilevsky fired home from the blue line before Macek put his second of the night into an empty net to seal a convincing win.

Vityaz gets rare win at Metallurg

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 0 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (0-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Goals: 0-1 Grebenshchikov (Nattinen, Jormakka 8:38); 0-2 Semin (57:57 empty net)

Goalies: Koshechkin – Samonov

It’s rare to see Vityaz get a win on the road in Magnitogorsk; the last time it happened was over five years ago, immediately after the Sochi Olympics. Today, Mikhail Kravets and his team snapped that streak, winning by the same 2-0 scoreline to send Magnitka to a second loss in three games. Goalie Alexander Samonov played a starring role with 38 saves.

Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov got his team on the board early in the game, showing great skills to get past Eric O’Dell before shooting past Vasily Koshechkin. The forward had another opportunity moments later, but this time the veteran goalie was ready for him and made the save.

Subsequently, Vityaz did rather more than just hold on. Metallurg had the better of the play, but wa unable to generate an overwhelming amount of offense. Only in the third period did the home team seriously outshoot its guest and by that stage nerves were fraying and Magnitka also took 32 minutes of penalties. Alexander Semin wrapped up the win with an empty net goal as Vityaz makes it two wins from three games on the road.

Second-period slump dooms Loko

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 4 (1-0, 1-4, 1-0)

Goals: 1-0 Kayumov (Kovalenko 14:25); 2-0 Rattie (Averin, Cherepanov 23:07); 2-1 Goncharov (Urakov, Belevich 28:48); 2-2 Barantsev (Ilyin, Bocharov 31:52); 2-3 Alyayev (Howden, Varnakov 33:24); 2-4 Zhafyarov (Varnakov, Szczechura 39:51); 3-4 Kayumov (Nakladal, Lander 40:24)

Goalies: Konovalov (Lazushin 40:00) – Lindbak

Lokomotiv suffered another second period nightmare before slipping to defeat in dramatic circumstances at home to Torpedo. Craig MacTavish saw his team give up a 2-0 lead before having a 59th-minute goal disallowed as the visitor edged a 4-3 verdict.

After the disappointment of a heavy defeat in Wednesday’s opener against Spartak, Loko made a solid start here. Artur Kayumov got the only goal for the first period and Ty Rattie doubled the lead in the second. The former Oilers man potted his second goal in two KHL games since crossing the Atlantic with MacTavish in the summer.

It all added up to a promising situation for the Railwaymen – but for the second game running MacTavish’s men allowed four second period goals to turn the scoreline upside down. Maxim Goncharov started it on the breakaway, Denis Barantsev got the tying goal and Artyom Alyayev made it 3-2 as Torpedo fired home three goals in five minutes. A home time-out restored some sanity but the middle frame ended with Damir Zhafyarov converting a pass from behind the net. Loko suddenly seemed to have gone off the rails.

Ilya Konovalov did not return for the third period and stand-in goalie Alexander Lazushin saw Kayumov put Lokomotiv back in contention just 24 seconds after the restart. And there was late drama when Georgy Ivanov turned a Staffan Kronwall feed into the Torpedo net with less than two minutes to play. However, a video review ruled out the play and the visitor held on to secure its first win of the season.

Avangard swamped by Severstal blitz

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

Goals: 1-0 Semyonov (Beck, Shumakov 1:06); 1-1 Liska (Yakimov 22:09 PP); 1-2 Provolnev (Kodola 34:46); 1-3 Kudako (Yakovlev, Geraskin 36:08); 1-4 Morozov (Markovin 50:49); 1-5 Nikolishin (Galimov 52:21)

Goalies: Bobkov – Khakimov

Severstal came to Balashikha feeling that its results so far didn’t match the quality of the team’s performances – and duly proved its point with a win over last year’s beaten finalist. Bob Hartley’s team, unbeaten before today, was undone in the second period when the visitor scored three unanswered goals to take control of the fixture.

Photo: 06.09.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Avangard (Omsk) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

That flurry cancelled out a fine start for the home team, with Kirill Semyonov opening the scoring after just 66 seconds when he rounded off a slick passing move. Avangard pressed hard in the opening minutes but Severstal hung tough and refused to be overpowered. By the end of the first period the pattern of play was more even and after the intermission it tipped firmly in the Steelmen’s favor.

Adam Liska, who swapped Slovakia for Severstal to remain in the KHL after Slovan’s departure, potted his first goal for his new club to tie the game on the power play early in the middle frame. Then two goals in two minutes saw Vladislav Provolnev and Vadim Kudako take the game away from the home team.

At the start of the final stanza Avangard threw everything at the Severstal defense but struggled to seriously test goalie Rafael Khakimov. He made 30 saves to play his part in securing his team’s first win of the season. At the other end Yegor Morozov and Ivan Nikolishin fired in further goals to complete an emphatic road win.

D-men dominate in derby

Dynamo Moscow 3 Spartak Moscow 2 OT (1-1, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

Goals: 0-1 Rylov (Hersley 11:10); 1-1 Hietanen (Cajkovsky, Jaskin 16:43 PP); 2-1 Cajkovsky (Petersson 53:04 PP); 2-2 Hersley (Karsums, Hanzl 54:47 PP); 3-2 Hietanen (Shipachyov 61:33)

Goalies: Bocharov – Bespalov

It was a big day for defensemen at the first Moscow derby of the season. All four of the goals in regulation were scored by blue liners as the teams tied 2-2, then Juuso Hietanen got his second of the game to win it for Dynamo. That goal came seconds after Spartak killed a penalty and was the only marker of the game scored with the teams at equal strength.

Photo: 06.09.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Dynamo (Moscow) - Spartak (Moscow)

The opener went to Spartak when Yakov Rylov fired home on a delayed penalty midway through the first period. But, on a day when both teams’ power plays were crucial, Dynamo levelled with its next chance to play with an extra man. Michal Cajkovsky’s shot was blocked, Dmitrij Jaskin fed the puck for Hietanen, and the Finn tied the scores. It was Jaskin’s first point in the KHL, and Hietanen’s 200th.

The second period was goalless, but when Dynamo got back on the power play Cajkovsky blasted his team ahead. The celebrations were cut short, though. A too many men call put the home team on the back foot and Patrik Hersley delivered a trademark blow which took a deflection as it flew past Ivan Bocharov in the home net.

In overtime, Dynamo set up camp around Nikita Bespalov’s net, determined to finish the game on its power play. That didn’t quite happen, but two seconds after Maxim Goncharov left the box Hietanen converted a Vadim Shipachyov feed to give the home team its third win of the season.

Minsk still waits for victory

HC Sochi 5 Dinamo Minsk 4 (1-1, 2-2, 2-1)

Goals: 0-1 Stepanov (Martynov, Shore 3:28 PP); 1-1 Shmelyov (Alexandrov, Stromvall 8:32 PP); 2-1 Shmelyov (Gordeyev, Stromvall 24:21); 2-2 Yevenko (Pulkkinen, Martynov 24:42); 2-3 Pare (Yevenko, Kostitsyn 27:18); 3-3 Ellis (Rosen 35:55 PP); 4-3 Kaletnik (Nazarevich, Tomilin 45:39 PP); 4-4 Pulkkinen Martynov, Shore 46:56 PP); 5-4 Arkhipov (Tochitsky, Stromvall 50:44 PP)

Goalies: Shikin – Enroth

Despite a spirited performance, Dinamo Minsk slipped to another defeat in a wild game at HC Sochi. The teams traded nine goals – six of them on the power play – in a game full of incident.

Dinamo led twice, opening the scoring in the fourth minute through Alexander Stepanov and taking a 3-2 lead midway through the game thanks to Francis Pare. Teemu Pulkkinen kept up his bright start to the season with a goal and an assist while Drew Shore had two helpers.

But it was another import, Swedish forward Malte Stromvall, who picked up the most points. He had three assists, helping Sergei Shmelyov to two goals, as Sochi edged the verdict. Dmitry Arkhipov claimed the decisive tally midway through the third period.

CSKA battles past Neftekhimik

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

Goals: 1-0 Slepyshev (Chmykov, Svetlakov 7:28); 1-1 Poryadin (23:03); 2-1 Vey (Grigorenko, Kaprizov 35:55 PP); 2-2 Poryadin (White 38:20); 3-2 Kalinin (Popov 64:17)

Goalies: Sorokin – Sharychenkov

Defending champion CSKA needed overtime to see off a spirited Neftekhimik team that produced perhaps its best performance of the season to force a 2-2 tie in regulation time.

Photo: 06.09.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. CSKA (Moscow) - Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)

The form book suggested that this encounter would be one-sided. Neftekhimik struggled through pre-season and its only win against KHL opposition came against a Dinamo Minsk team that had similar problems getting a new team to gel. CSKA, meanwhile, despite losing out to Avangard in the Opening Cup, retains the nucleus of last season’s Gagarin Cup winning roster and looks a class above most of the competition this season.

An early goal from Anton Slepyshev reinforced the sense that CSKA would post a routine victory, but Pavel Poryadin had other ideas. He twice tied the game in the second period, scoring either side of Linden Vey’s power play marker.

The teams remained deadlocked in the third period, but this was no backs-to-the-wall effort from Neftekhimik. True, CSKA dominated the final session but over the course of the game the teams had an equal number of shots. Even in overtime there was little to choose between the teams until the last minute of play when Alexander Popov found Sergei Kalinin unmarked in front of Alexander Sharychenkov’s net for the decisive goal.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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