Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The day’s big news came from Moscow. Spartak’s 4-2 win over Jokerit came one week after the Red-and-Whites triumphed in Finland and took Oleg Znarok’s team to five successive victories. Across town, Dynamo edged Avangard 1-0 to give Vladimir Krikunov his 300th win as a head coach in the KHL. Kunlun Red Star won its fourth game in a row, defeating Dinamo Riga, while Avtomobilist slipped to a seventh successive loss when it went down 0-3 at high-flying Sibir.

No respite for Avto’s woes

Sibir Novosibirsk 3 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)

This was a clash between two teams undergoing very different fortunes. Sibir, upwardly mobile, was looking to move up to third in the Eastern Conference. Avtomobilist, once a proud pacesetter, was looking to avoid a seventh successive loss against a bigger picture of just six points from 13 games after its eight-game winning start came to an end.

The game went according to the form guide. Avtomobilist, goalshy in recent weeks, failed to score on Harri Sateri. Sibir potted a goal in each period to make it four wins in a row. The visitor’s head coach, Andrei Martemyanov, made some big calls in his selection for the game, scratching Pavel Datsyuk and leading defenseman Nikita Tryamkin, but the shake-up did not pay off. The Motormen failed to convert either of their two early power plays and Sibir wasted little time taking advantage of that reprieve when Nikita Mikhailov opened the scoring in the 11th minute.

Early in the second period Jukka Peltola doubled the lead, with Nikolai Timashov getting an assist to record his first point for Sibir at the expense of his former club. Sibir had a great chance to extend its lead early in the third period with a long spell of 5-on-3 hockey, but Jakub Kovar came up big in the visitor’s net. But by the time Danil Romantsev fired into an empty net the outcome was already more or less clear.

Magnitka stifles Barys

Barys Astana 1 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 (0-1, 1-1, 0-0)

Metallurg posted its fifth win in six games and moved up to sixth in the Eastern Conference after getting the better of Barys in Kazakhstan. The home team, looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses at Lokomotiv and Ak Bars, slips to fourth in the table behind Sibir.

The visitor got up early on, with Denis Parshin collecting the loose puck after a face-off and firing past Eddie Pasquale in the sixth minute. Once in front, Metallurg was content to protect its advantage, playing a cautious defensive game that only lapsed midway through the second period when Darren Dietz scored on the power play. Roman Starchenko’s assist extended his productive run to six games and brought up his 300th point in the KHL.

However, it took just four minutes for Maksim Matushkin to restore Magnitka’s lead and despite some dominant stats for Barys in the middle frame there was no way back for the home team. In the third, Metallurg locked down the play and allowed just four shots at Stanislav Galimov’s net. Not even a late penalty on Evgeny Timkin and a subsequent spell of 6-on-4 play could unpick the visiting D.

Torpedo keeps up its hex over Loko

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 (0-0, 2-0, 0-1)

Torpedo is becoming something of a bogey team for Lokomotiv and went into this game having won the four previous meetings between the sides. The most recent of those came in early September with a 4-3 verdict in Yaroslavl. There might have been extra spice in this meeting if Ty Rattie had made the Torpedo roster: the Canadian forward signed a contract in Nizhny Novgorod just days after quitting Loko but was not available in time for this game. Lokomotiv handed a debut to veteran defenseman Andrei Markov, who completed his transfer this week.

Photo: 29.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) - Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)

For much of the early stages, there was little incident to report. But things livened up in the second period when home head coach David Nemirovsky took a stray puck in the face. Within a couple of minutes, though, there was a smile on that face as Danil Veryayev rocketed to the slot to convert Stanislav Bocharov’s pass. Bocharov got his second assist of the night with a beautifully timed pass to set up Chay Genoway for the second goal just before the second intermission.

The third frame began with Markov quarterbacking the attack that saw Stephane Da Costa halve the deficit. This season, Torpedo’s games have been characterized by late drama and tight finishes but today Andrei Tikhomirov stepped up in the home goal to ensure there were no unpleasant surprises as the host closed out the win.

300 wins for Krikunov

Dynamo Moscow 1 Avangard Omsk 0 (0-0, 1-0, 0-0)

Veteran head coach Vladimir Krikunov claimed his 300th KHL victory as Dynamo edged a tight affair against Avangard. The result improves the Blue-and-Whites to six wins from their last seven games and returns the team to second place in the Western Conference as it tops the Bobrov Division.

Photo: 29.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Dynamo (Moscow) - Avangard (Omsk)

Dynamo came into the game on the back of a three-game winning streak on the road, a contrast with Avangard’s run of three losses from four, but there was little to choose between the teams in a hard-fought game. The only goal came late in the second period when Vadim Shipachyov scored on the wraparound. The KHL’s leading scorer extended his productive streak to five games; assistants Dmitry Jaskin and Daniil Tarasov moved their sequences to four.

Avangard’s chances of saving the game were hampered by three penalties in the third period. That helped Dynamo limit the visitor just eight shots as Bocharov made 29 saves for his first shut-out of the season.

Andrievsky starts with a win for Sochi

HC Sochi 3 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 1 (0-1, 0-0, 3-0)

Alexander Andrievsky took charge of HC Sochi for the first time in Tuesday’s game at home to Ufa – and after a slow start he delivered a victory at the first time of asking. The Leopards, lifted by a win in Vladivostok that ended a seven-game losing streak, recovered from allowing an early goal to take the verdict thanks to a strong third period.

The early indications were not promising, though. Ufa, with Linus Omark back in the team, went in front in the fourth minute when Alexander Kadeikin was first to the rebound from Artyom Sergeyev’s point shot.

After that early goal, neither team was really able to take control of the game until early in the third frame when Sochi began to turn it around. Ilya Krikunov tied the game early in the session and Stepan Starkov got the go-ahead goal midway through. Salavat’s hopes of salvaging the game took a hit when Pavel Koledov went to the box late in the game and Denis Mosalyov scored an empty-net goal to wrap it up for Sochi.

Five in a row for Spartak

Spartak Moscow 4 Jokerit Helsinki 2 (2-2, 1-0, 1-0)

A week after earning a rare victory in Finland, Spartak followed up by defeating Jokerit on home ice. Oleg Znarok’s team is currently enjoying a five-game winning streak – precisely the kind of consistency the star coach was brought in to achieve.

Photo: 29.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Spartak (Moscow) - Jokerit (Helsinki)

The first period was full of incident as the teams traded four goals. Spartak scored twice in the ninth minute, with 22-year-old Mikhail Kotlyarevsky getting his first ever KHL goal to make it 1-0 before Alexander Khokhlachyov made it two. Jokerit hit back late in the frame though, scoring two quick goals of its own to tie the scores. Ahti Oksanen got his second of the season to reduce the deficit before World Championship hero Marko Anttila levelled it up before the intermission. Anttila’s goal was a rarity: Jokerit scored while killing a 3-on-5 situation, Andrei Kuteikin’s loose pass created the opportunity.

The home locker room may well have been a lively place in that first intermission; whatever was said had the right effect as Spartak emerged to take greater control of the game. A Patrik Hersley thunderbolt restored the lead midway through the second period and the host was able to close out the game calmly before adding an empty-net goal from Martins Karsums.

Red Star continues to rise

Dinamo Riga 1 Kunlun Red Star 3 (1-2, 0-0, 0-1)

Kunlun won its fourth game in a row – matching the club’s best ever sequence in the KHL – and moved to within one point of the playoff places in the East. For Dinamo, though, life remains difficult with the team rooted to the foot of the KHL table, a point adrift of Dinamo Minsk.

The Dragons made a quick start in this game as Ryan Sproul launched a counterattack that ended with Ethan Werek opening the scoring. Midway through the first period, Adam Cracknell doubled the lead after pressuring the home defense into an error. Kristaps Sotnieks pulled a goal back late in the first period but there was no way back for the Latvians.

The home team had the better of the second period but found Simon Hrubec in fine form in the Red Star net. And in the third, the visitor did a good job of closing out the game, adding a third through Lucas Lockhart with 10 minutes to play after an error from goalie Alexander Salak.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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