Today’s game in Kazakhstan was something of a festival. Although the club’s 20th birthday fell during the week, Sunday was chosen as the hub of the celebrations for that anniversary. In front of a capacity crowd at the Barys Arena, various club legends were commemorated: the jerseys of Brandon Bochenski, Kevin Dallman, Nik Antropov, Vitaly Yeremeyev, Fyodor Polishchuk, Talgat Zhailauov and Alexander Koreshkov were raised to the rafters of the club’s home. The stars of yesteryear were out in force to watch the class of 2019/20 continue its push towards the top of the Eastern Conference.
And this season’s roster let nobody down as it cruised to a convincing win against a Dinamo team missing the suspended Francis Pare. After a goalless first period, in which Danny Taylor stopped 16 shots on the Minsk net, Barys got in front. Corban Knight and Roman Starchenko scored twice in 30 seconds at the start of the middle frame to get Barys in front. Dinamo responded with an Alexander Kogalev goal, but there was nothing to stop the home team here.
Atte Ohtamaa made it 3-1 late in the second period and the rout was completed in the final minutes when Knight scored his second of the game on the power play and Pavel Akolzin finished it off with an empty net goal. The win lifts Barys to third in the East, while Dinamo remains rooted to the foot of the Western table.
Dynamo’s impressive recent run came to an abrupt halt away to the league leader. Ak Bars demonstrated just why it is out in front this season when it dismantled a team lying third in the West with a first-period blitz.
It took just 12 minutes for the host to jump to a 3-0 lead and chase starting goalie Ivan Bocharov from the net. Viktor Tikhonov opened the scoring and Mikhail Glukhov added two more. Mikael Wikstrand had two assists in that initial flurry. That forced changes for Dynamo, with Alexander Yeryomenko coming to the crease. Initially, there was a boost: Ilya Kruglov pulled a goal back almost immediately, the 19-year-old potting his second KHL goal.
However, it was not to be the start of a revival. Artyom Galimov made it 4-1 before the first intermission. The second period brought one goal for each team, Maxim Afinogenov scoring for Dynamo before Stanislav Galiyev responded on the power play late in the session. The third period brought no further goals as Ak Bars closed out a convincing victory.
Avtomobilist moved up to fifth in the Eastern Conference after a hard-fought victory at Lokomotiv. The Motormen picked up a second victory of the season against Yaroslavl thanks to a solitary first period goal from Brooks Macek.
The German international struck on the power play in the 17th minute. Dan Sexton and Peter Holland engineered the opening and after a great feed Macek rifled home a one-timer to beat Ilya Konovalov and open the scoring.
But the visitor was also much indebted to goalie Jakub Kovar, who made 37 saves to bring home the win. Lokomotiv’s problems were compounded by the loss of veteran defenseman Staffan Kronwall midway through the second period after a high hit saw him ejected from the game. Avtomobilist was unable to convert the major penalty into a second goal but the incident dispelled some of the momentum that the Railwaymen were building early in the middle frame.
The host came close midway through the third period when Roman Savchenko dinged one against the piping. However, Avtomobilist survived that scare and closed out the game to secure a first win in three games.
Neftekhimik snapped a six-game losing streak thanks to a blistering start at home to Sochi. The visitor, struggling in the Western Conference, arrived on the back of a shock win at Ak Bars but there was no sign of a repeat performance here.
Instead, the home team raced to a 3-0 lead inside 12 minutes. Ildar Shiksatdarov and Jacob Berglund scored twice in two minutes, then a power play saw Stepan Zakharchuk make it three. Dmitry Shikin, the Sochi hero in Kazan, was called back to the bench in favour of Ivan Nalimov as the visitor looked to steady the ship.
Sean Collins got a goal back for Sochi and the visitor enjoyed a 5-on-3 advantage late in the first period, but there was no fight back on the way. Instead, late in the game, Berglund got his second of the night on the power play to wrap up a much-needed win for Neftekhimik.
Sibir built on a big win in Helsinki with another convincing success at Severstal. Both teams picked up victories in their previous game after long losing streaks and both began this game at a high tempo.
The teams traded goals in the first six minutes: Ilya Morozov put Sibir in front but within two minutes his namesake Yegor Morozov tied it up on the power play. However, Severstal soon ran into penalty trouble of its own and Sibir took control with goals from Yegor Milovzorov and Mikael Ruohomaa. Andrei Yermakov added a fourth late in the frame to give the visitor a commanding advantage.
Severstal did not give up. A power play goal from Vadim Kudako and Igor Geraskin got his second goal in successive games to make it 3-4 at the start of the third period. Suddenly there was pressure on the visitor, but a Jukka Peltola goal restored the two-goal cushion and kept Sibir in control. Late in the game, the teams traded further goals, with Kudako getting his second of the night – after a long review – before Evgeny Chesalin scored into an empty net to seal the win for Sibir.