Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Hallowe’en night saw defending champion CSKA spooked in Novosibirsk, while Kunlun Red Star conjured up a club record fifth straight victory. Avtomobilist also found its touch of magic as Pavel Datsyuk’s first goal for the club helped to snap a seven-game losing streak. In Moscow, there were home wins for Dynamo and Spartak, although the latter needed a shoot-out to scrape past Severstal. Jokerit suffered at home to Lokomotiv with the Railwaymen claiming a 4-1 victory.

Hallowe’en theme inspires Sibir success

Sibir Novosibirsk 2 CSKA Moscow 1 (1-1, 1-0, 0-0)

Sibir adopted a Hallowe’en theme for today’s game against the defending champion – and succeeded in giving Igor Nikitin’s team a fright. With pumpkins festooning the arena and the Joker driving the Zamboni, the home team paid full attention to the date.

Photo: 31.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) - CSKA (Moscow)

On the ice, meanwhile, the drama started midway through the first period when Sibir got a 5-on-3 advantage. CSKA’s penalty kill coped with that one and the visitor went ahead late in the frame when it got its first power play of the game. Fit-again forward Kirill Kaprizov collected an assist as Linden Vey opened the scoring.

The lead was shortlived: just 19 seconds later Sibir was level when Juuso Puustinen slotted into a wide-open net after Nikita Mikhailov led a breakaway. The Army Men’s Ilya Sorokin was the busier of the two goalies and he was finally beaten midway through the second period when a seemingly innocuous shot from Vladimir Pervushin slipped through his defenses. The ‘Ghostbusters’ theme rang around the arena as the home crowd celebrated.

CSKA worked hard to find a way back into the game but the Sibir defense was too well-drilled to allow a lifeline. This would be one Hallowe’en narrative without a twist in the tail as the home team closed it out without any serious frights.

Avtomobilist wins at last

Barys Nur-Sultan 3 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 4 OT (0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 0-1)

After slipping to the foot of the Eastern Conference barely a month after leading the way, Avtomobilist recalled Pavel Datsyuk to the team – and finally snapped a seven-game losing streak. The veteran forward, now enjoying a swansong at his hometown club, potted his first goal of the season as Avto tied 3-3 with Barys in regulation. One-time Barys hero Nigel Dawes got the decider in overtime against his former club.

Barys came into the game on a sticky run of its own and the jitters were apparent early on as Geoff Platt needed just 13 seconds to convert the visitor’s first power play of the night. That was the only goal of the first period, and subsequently the teams would trade tallies. Yegor Shalapov tied the scores early in the second period only for Brooks Macek to get another power play goal, this time late in the second session.

Arkady Shestakov cancelled out that effort but Datsyuk made it 3-2 when he surged into Barys territory and wired a shot past Eddie Pasquale. The Magic Man is now the fifth oldest player to score in the KHL, but he couldn’t settle the outcome. Darren Dietz tied it up for a third time with five minutes left and that took us into overtime.

The extras lasted less than a minute, however, before Dawes reminded the Kazakh crowd of his talents. The KHL’s all-time top-scoring import potted the winner to snap Avtomobilist’s losing run.

Club record for Red Star

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 Kunlun Red Star 2 (0-1, 1-0, 0-1)

Kunlun Red Star won its fifth game in a row to set a new club record for consecutive victories. The sequence, which includes four road games, also lifts the team into the top eight in a hotly-contested Eastern Conference.

Red Star made its now-traditional fast start when Andrew Miller opened the scoring in the fifth minute. The American, who grabbed a hat-trick in the 4-2 win at Vityaz on Sunday, continued his rich vein of form when he arrived at the back door to tuck away Adam Cracknell’s beautifully-weighted pass. That goal came on the power play: Kunlun enforcer Garet Hunt got into a fight with Mikhail Orlov and, in the aftermath, Torpedo took a bench minor to give the Dragons a man advantage.

In the second period, the home team picked up the pace and fired in 20 shots at Jeremy Smith in the Red Star net. However, it was a short-handed that finally squeezed over the line. A Kunlun play broke down, Torpedo looked to attack and Stanislav Bocharov made a nuisance of himself on the slot to force the puck home via a deflection off Trevor Murphy. Bocharov thus marked his 400th regular season game with a goal.

However, he wasn’t able to celebrate a victory. The third period saw both Smith and home goalie Andrei Tikhomirov produce some big saves to keep the scores level until another power play for the visitor tipped the game in Kunlun’s favor. Curt Fraser, recognizing the importance of the moment, called a time-out to settle his team down; his players responded by grabbing the winning goal. Cory Kane scored it, sweeping the puck home after Olli Palola battled off the boards to get it to the danger zone. That was enough to clinch the game and set a new record for the Chinese team.

Five straight wins for Dynamo

Dynamo Moscow 4 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 1 (1-0, 3-0, 0-1)

Dynamo made it five wins of the spin to keep up the pressure on the Western Conference leaders. The Blue-and-Whites’ victory here lifts the team to 33 points; currently only CSKA and Ak Bars have more. Salavat Yulaev suffered a second successive loss and missed the chance to move clear of Barys into fourth place in the East.

Photo: 31.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Dynamo (Moscow) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

There wasn’t much between the teams in the first period, but a goal from Vyacheslav Kulyomin in the 17th minute gave Dynamo a small advantage. And that grew in the middle session with the Blue-and-Whites’ powerful first line coming to the fore. Daniil Tarasov assisted as Dmitrij Jaskin got the second, and those two reversed their roles to make it 3-0. Vadim Shipachyov, the KHL’s leading scorer, also collected a helper on that one. Igor Polygalov made it four with a power play marker late in the session.

Salavat Yulaev knew that only an early goal in the third period would give it hope of recovering anything from the game. Captain Grigory Panin obliged in the 42nd minute when he converted a power play that carried over from the previous session. However, that was the end of the scoring as Dynamo eased to a comfortable victory.

Lokomotiv gets revenge on Jokerit

Jokerit Helsinki 1 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 (0-1, 0-1, 1-2)

Lokomotiv made it three wins from four as it avenged a 1-4 loss at home to the Finns. The result keeps the Railwaymen in eighth place in the Western Conference, while Jokerit missed the chance to draw level on points with sixth-placed Torpedo.

The Finns took to the ice in an unusually dark jersey, perhaps with a hint of Hallowe’en about it, and it was lights out for the home team on Loko’s first meaningful attack. Artyom Ilyenko opened the scoring after 77 seconds as the visitor made a flying start and that pressure continued after Henrik Haapala took a penalty in the sixth minute. As the first period drew on, Jokerit came into the game more strongly but could not find a way past Ilya Konovalov.

Early in the second period, Loko doubled its lead. At first, the on-ice officials seemed to miss a clear goal from Nikita Cherepanov but a video review confirmed that the visiting forward had got the puck over the line and the goal was awarded. And at the start of the third period, Yaroslavl was close to a third goal when Artur Kayumov dinged one against the crossbar. For Jokerit, it was only a temporary reprieve; Pavel Kudryavtsev put the game beyond reach in the 46th minute and the only remaining question was whether Konovalov could secure his shut-out.

Jokerit pulled out Janis Kalnins with four minutes still to play and the man advantage helped Jesse Joensuu get the puck in the Loko net with more than two minutes to go. But Stephane Da Costa had the final word, scoring into the empty net to wrap up a win with a scoreline that mirrors the teams’ first meeting of the season.

Spartak celebrates six straight wins

Spartak Moscow 3 Severstal Cherepovets 2 SO (0-0, 1-1, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0)

These two teams came into the game with diametrically opposing recent records. Spartak had won its last five, Severstal had lost its most recent quintet. But the action was anything but one-sided, as the two teams battled each other to a standstill before Kaspars Daugavins secured a shoot-out win for the host to maintain both those streaks.

Photo: 31.10.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Spartak (Moscow) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

After a goalless first period, this turned into a game of quickfire goal exchanges. Spartak broke the deadlock in the 34th minute through Dmitry Vishnevsky, with the goal awarded after a video review. However, after just 18 seconds of game time, Daniil Vovchenko put Severstal level.

It was a similar story late in the third period. Vladislav Provolnev made it 2-1 in the 58th minute, late enough to dream of clinching victory against his former club. However, Alexander Khokhlachyov had other ideas and he tied it 100 seconds later to take us to overtime. The extra five minutes could not produce a winner.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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