Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Oleg Znarok went back to SKA with his Spartak team and left with an overtime victory thanks to a Martins Karsums goal. The other big game in the West saw Vityaz return to the top of the table, but only after a big battle to get past Dinamo Riga. In the East, there were emotional home wins for Admiral and Sibir as both clubs paid tribute to Samvel Mnatsyan. Avtomobilist and Metallurg enjoyed 3-0 victories over Traktor and Salavat Yulaev respectively.


Olkinuora impresses as Admiral remembers Mnatsyan

Admiral Vladivostok 2 Neftekhimik Nizhenkamsk 0 (1-0, 1-0, 0-0)

Goals: 1-0 Bakos (Lalonde, Almqvist 10:58 PP); 2-0 Petrov (Lisin, Konnov 23:47)

Goalies: Olkinuora – Sharychenkov

It was an emotional day in Vladivostok as Admiral paid tribute to its former defenseman Samvel Mnatsyan, who died over the weekend. On a somber occasion at the Fetisov Arena, the home team secured a 2-0 victory thanks to a second shut-out of the season for goalie Juho Olkinuora.

The host began strongly and went in front midway through the first period thanks to a well-worked power play move converted by Martin Bakos. Then Yury Petrov doubled the lead early in the second period with his first goal of the season.

The game was fiercely competitive and both teams were regular visitors to the penalty box in that middle stanza. Admiral defenseman Shawn Lalonde, who picked up an assist on the Bakos goal, left the game early late in the second period, ejected following an aggressive hit on Stepan Zakharchuk. However, Neftekhimik was unable to take advantage of the major penalty, with Olkinuora making 36 saves in total to keep the visiting offense at bay.

Sibir wins on emotional evening

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Dynamo Moscow 0 (1-0, 0-0, 0-0)

Goal: 1-0 Yakovlev (Romantsev 2:02)

Goalies: Krasikov – Bocharov

In Novosibirsk, as in Vladivostok, Monday’s game was overshadowed by the sad news of Mnatsyan’s passing. The 29-year-old defenseman signed for Sibir shortly before he was diagnosed with cancer and remained a part of the club until the end. The crowd observed a minute’s silence before the opening face-off and the home team took to the ice wearing patches in memory of their late team-mate.

Photo: 07.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) - Dynamo (Moscow)

Sibir began the game in the manner demanded by the occasion and grabbed an early lead when Alexei Yakovlev forced the puck past Ivan Bocharov at the second attempt. The home team might have extended that lead when Alexander Sharov set off on a solo move that would surely have graced his highlight reel if it wasn’t for a fine save from the visiting goalie.

Dynamo was missing two imports with Andre Petersson and Dmitrij Jaskin unable to play in this one. But the game was always close and both goalies performed strongly to limit the scoring to Yakovlev’s opener. Alexei Krasikov finished the game with 30 saves and his first shut-out of the season.

Avtomobilist returns to form

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 Traktor Chelyabinsk 0 (0-0, 0-0, 3-0)

Goals: 1-0 Sexton (Bodrov, Vasilevsky 45:05); 2-0 Dawes (45:59); 3-0 Gareyev (Macek, Litovchenko 59:19 empty net)

Goalies: Kovar – Demchenko

Avtomobilist’s bright start to the season was starting to become a distant memory, and Saturday’s heavy loss at home to Dynamo increased the sense that the Ural team was falling short of its high standards. At home to Traktor, the task was to put that right.

Photo: 07.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg) - Traktor (Chelyabinsk)

The Motormen sought to grab the initiative from the start. However, Traktor was prepared to play a defensive game and for long periods that action was sterile. Tactical considerations dominated, shots on goal were rare.

Things improved in the second period, with both teams showing more commitment to attack. Even so, there was no scoring until the start of the third when Avtomobilist finally broke the deadlock. Denis Bodrov’s shot from the blue line was redirected by Dan Sexton and the home team had the lead. Nigel Dawes quickly extended the advantage and Artyom Gareyev found the empty net to complete the scoring.

Reshaped Magnitka shows signs of revival

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 0 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 (0-1, 0-1, 0-1)

Goals: 0-1 Parshin (Mozyakin 15:14); 0-2 Lyubimov (Matushkin, Mozyakin 29:24 PP); 0-3 Potekhin (Antipin, Kozun 56:36)

Goalies: Metsola – Koshechkin

Metallurg made changes to its roster as it looks to recover from a slow start to the season. Canadian defenseman Paul Postma, signed from Ak Bars over the summer, has left the club while Czech forward Andrej Nestrasil arrives. The former Neftekhimik frontman made his debut here in Ufa, slotting into the second line alongside Sergei Mozyakin and Denis Parshin.

Photo: 07.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) - Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)

That was the combination on the ice when Magnitka to the lead in the 16th minute. Mozyakin had the helper as Parshin scored against one of his former clubs. Metallurg’s captain extended his productive streak to four games and was involved again as Roman Lyubimov extended the lead on the power play midway through the second period and a late goal from Bogdan Potekhin sealed the win. Vasily Koshechkin claimed his first shut-out of the season and his team moved off the foot of the Eastern Conference.

After a tough start to the season, Metallurg now has five points from its last three games and is showing signs of returning to the form expected of one of the traditional powerhouses of the east.

Znarok victorious on return to SKA

SKA St. Petersburg 2 Spartak Moscow 3 OT (0-2, 1-0, 1-0, 0-1)

Goals: 0-1 Vishnevsky (Khokhlachyov, Hanzl 7:35 PP); 0-2 Hanzl (Rylov, Khokhlachyov 18:23 PP); 1-2 Burdasov (Kemppainen 36:06); 2-2 Tkachyov (Rundblad, Plotnikov 40:19); 2-3 Karsums (Khokhlyachov 60:28)

Goalies: Melnichuk – Hudacek

Oleg Znarok made his first return to SKA since stepping down as head coach – and left with both points after his Spartak team snatched an overtime win. Martins Karsums, who played for Znarok’s Latvian national teams and was part of the coach’s final season at Dynamo, grabbed the winner 28 seconds into the extras.

However, it was former SKA man Alexander Khokhlachyov who picked up the plaudits with an assist on all three Spartak goals. The forward learned his hockey at Spartak, went to SKA but was something of a bit-part player as Znarok won the Gagarin Cup in Petersburg. Now back home in Red and White, he produced a game-winning display against his former club.

The opening frame saw Spartak produce a characteristic Znarok performance. Hard-working and well-drilled, it limited SKA’s opportunities and turned the screw when it got the chances on the power play. Admittedly, things might have been different if the host had taken advantage of an early 5-on-3 situation; instead Spartak killed the penalty and went in front on its first PP of the night. Dmitry Vishnevsky’s shot from the blue line opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Another opportunity came late in the frame and Robin Hanzl doubled the lead thanks to a measured feed from Alexander Khokhlachyov.

In the second session, though, SKA began to build up the pressure. Spartak found it hard to get a look at Alexei Melnichuk’s net and ultimately paid the price. Late in the period, Joonas Kemppainen won an attacking face-off and slipped the puck behind him for debutant Burdasov to fire home a one-timer from the top of the circle. And at the start of the third, the game was tied. David Rundblad’s fierce shot was parried by Julius Hudacek; as Spartak struggled to clear its lines, Vladimir Tkachyov made it 2-2. However, Alexei Kudashov’s team could not find a way to finish off the job and the overtime goal sent the win back to Moscow.

Improved performance from Dinamo but Vityaz goes back to the top

Dinamo Riga 1 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (1-0, 0-0, 0-2)

Goals: 1-0 Pavlovs (Sotnieks, Lipsbergs 7:38); 1-1 Artyukhin (42:01); 1-2 Chernov (Jerabek, Yevseyenkov 55:19)

Goalies: Makarov – Ezhov

Dinamo Riga put in a big performance – with recent signing Andrei Makarov huge in goal – to test this season’s surprise package Vityaz. The visitor knew that it could return to the top of the KHL table with a result here but found itself trailing the bottom club for much of the game. Dinamo, without a win in seven, had allowed 20 goals in its last four games and scored just once but produced a much more competitive display here before losing out late in the game.

Grabbing the opening goal was crucial for the Latvians – and Vitalijs Pavlovs did just that in the eighth minute. Roberts Lipsbergs went on the charge down the right and his pass picked out Pavlovs at the top of the left-hand circle. The forward took two touches and fizzed an unstoppable shot past Ilya Ezhov.

Dinamo continued to enjoy the better of the first period but in the second Vityaz raised the tempo dramatically. Makarov pulled off 22 stops in that middle frame alone as the high-flyer looked to get back into the game. Then, at the start of the third period, came the equalizer. Evgeny Artyukhin claimed the goal, but Riga could feel hard done by after Evgeny Katichev’s point shot deflected into his path. Artyukhin’s shot also took a deflection on its way to goal, slowing the puck but not allowing a defenseman time to hook it off the line.

Makarov continued to impress in the home net and he was at his best to deny Jakub Jerabek midway through the period, despite losing his stick in a scramble in front of his net. But he had no answer when Pavel Chernov found space in a central position and fired his shot through a screen to give Vityaz the lead with four minutes to play.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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