Admiral’s encouraging start to the season continued with a come-from-behind victory over Severstal to keep Sergei Svetlov’s team riding high in the Eastern Conference. The Sailors made a fast start in Saturday’s game but had to claw back a 1-3 deficit before winning it on goals in the closing stages.
Denis Vikharev opened the scoring in the third minute with a power play goal but Severstal replied soon after through Yury Trubachyov. Then the visitor jumped to a big lead with two quick goals before the middle of the second period. Ilya Khokhlov and Adam Liska claimed the scores and the visitor had hopes of following victory in China with another success in the Far East.
Crucially, though, a penalty late in the middle frame enabled Martin Bakos to reduce the arrears and that paved the way for a revival in the final session. Vikharev tied the scores with his second of the game, Alexander Konnov got the winner with five minutes to play and Markus Ljungh struck on the power play to end any prospect of a reply from Severstal.
Dynamo continued its winning streak against Red Star with victory in Beijing. The Muscovites have prevailed in all seven meetings between the teams since the Dragons joined the league in 2016.
Red Star, concerned about defensive lapses, called up two new faces from the VHL. Bobby Shea and Arturs Salija made their KHL debuts but any changes to the game plan were hampered by a string of penalties early in the game. Vadim Shipachyov took advantage, collecting his 22nd point of the season to open the scoring in the eighth minute. That goal took him to 200 in the KHL, a landmark achieved in 655 games. However, the home power play wasn’t too shabby either and Adam Cracknell tied the game after the penalty on Dynamo.
After a first period littered with minor penalties, the second was calmer. Red Star shaded the play but was unable to extend its lead; the home press made it hard for Dynamo to get forward but generated few clear chances.
Early in the third, Vyacheslav Kulyomin restored the visitor’s lead. The home team responded by piling the pressure on Alexander Yeryomenko’s net, but the veteran goalie held firm, stopping 15 shots in the final frame to backstop the win for his team.
Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars travelled to Ufa for the latest instalment of the ‘Green Derby’ and suffered a loss that tightens the pack among the leading teams in the section. The visitor could have moved three points clear at the top of the table; instead the top seven are separated by just six points and Avangard could hit the front with a win at Metallurg tomorrow.
The build-up to this renowned local derby featured the unveiling of a new trophy – the ‘Green Derby’ Cup, also dubbed the ‘Chak-Chak Cup’ in honor of the sweet fried corn snack beloved in both Tatarstan and Bashkiria. Saturday’s winner would be the first team to claim that prize, as well as the points on offer.
In the first period neither team was willing to give an inch and both sides tested the tolerance of the officials in a no-holds-barred battle. Goals arrived in the middle frame: Linus Omark’s wrister from the right channel deceived Adam Reideborn to give Salavat Yulaev the lead, Albert Yarullin responded with a powerful effort moments after a fight that saw Omark and Danis Zaripov getting involved after Maxim Mayorov and Dmitry Voronkov came to blows.
The scores weren’t level for long. Belarusian defenseman Evgeny Lisovets got his first goal for Salavat Yulaev to put the home team back in front in the 33rd minute. That put one hand on the Chak-Chak Cup but the outcome remained in doubt until the last minute when Alexander Kadeikin’s empty-netter sealed the deal for the host.
CSKA began its latest home stand buoyed by a run of five straight wins and looking comfortable at the top of the KHL table. By contrast, Traktor had lost its last three and was looking anxiously at the chasing pack in the race for the Eastern Conference playoffs. In recent times, this match-up was one-sided: the Army Men won their last five home games against Traktor with an aggregate score of 17-1.
By the end of Saturday’s game, it was 20-1 in six meetings. Although the first period was competitive, CSKA went in front at the start of the second when Andrei Svetlakov’s line needed just three touches to slice through the Traktor defense and set up Ivan Telegin for the opening goal. Telegin turned provider in the third as Jiri Sekac made it 2-0, then Mikhail Grigorenko added a third late in the game.
Jokerit blew a 3-1 lead and succumbed to an overtime loss at home to Torpedo, with Quinton Howden getting the decider in Finland. The game looked to be straightforward for the host until the 55th minute, but a late rally from the visitor changed everything.
The teams began by trading goals in the first five minutes. Anton Shenfeld gave the visitor a third-minute lead, 12 seconds into the first power play of the night. But Veli-Matti Savinainen cancelled that one out and Brian O’Neill’s deke produced a highlight reel contender to make it 2-1 midway through the opening frame.
With Jokerit dominating the play and John Norman going five-hole on Andrei Tikhomirov to make it 3-1 early in the third, there was little reason to expect turbulence ahead for Lauri Marjamaki’s men. But as the game wore on, Torpedo woke up and it took a string of saves from Antti Niemi to keep the Finns lead intact.
The pressure told late in the game. Sami Lepisto took only the third penalty of the night in the 54th minute and Mikhail Varnakov converted the power play to put his team right back in contention. Two minutes later, the scores were level through Georgy Misharin and the game was heading to overtime. Once it got there, Howden potted the winner with the clock reading 63:55. Torpedo defeated the Finns for the second time this season and recorded its first regular-season victory in Helsinki.