Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Miro Aaltonen scored the first hat-trick of the new KHL season to inspire SKA to a 5-2 win over Neftekhimik. Salavat Yulaev defeated Avangard to end the last remaining unbeaten run this season, with Teemu Hartikainen scoring twice. Andre Petersson matched that in Lokomotiv’s win over Traktor, and Shane Prince did likewise as Dinamo Minsk won in overtime at Spartak. Ak Bars was too strong for goalshy HC Sochi, winning 4-0 on the Black Sea coast, Metallurg had too much for Traktor and Vityaz shaded Severstal in a shoot-out.

Avangard’s winning streak ends

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 Avangard Omsk 2 (2-1, 1-0, 0-1)

The last unbeaten record of the season is gone. Avangard came into its game at Salavat Yulaev with a 100% record, but the team that beat the Hawks in last year’s playoffs did it again. The game attracted one of the biggest crowds of the season so far — 3,612 — boosted by news that Ufa Arena can now operate at 50% of its capacity.

Photo: 13.09.20. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) - Avangard (Omsk)

Most of them had something to cheer straight away, with Evgeny Biryukov opening the scoring after 23 seconds. Alexei Semenov created a great chance for Teemu Hartikainen soon afterwards, but the Finn had to wait until midway through the frame before he found the net. Avangard’s problems didn’t improve: Bob Hartley’s team had to kill a 3-on-5 penalty. But once the teams were back to equal strength, with no further damage on the scoreboard, the visitor pulled a goal back thanks to Alexander Khokhlachyov.

Early the in the second, Hartikainen got his second of the game. After that, Avangard’s discipline slipped and the middle frame saw the visitor sit for 10 minutes of penalties. However, Salavat could not take full advantage and after that power play goal in the 23rd minute, the home team mifailed to extend its lead further.

Thus, when Sergei Shumakov pulled one back midway through the third period, it ushered in an anxious finale for the home team. Juha Metsola faced a testing few minutes in the home net before Ufa could celebrate victory in its first home game of the season.

Metallurg wins on Mozyakin’s return

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (1-0, 2-1, 0-0)

Metallurg recovered from Friday’s 0-4 loss at home to Avangard. Magnitka got a big boost before the game, with captain Sergei Mozyakin available to play for the first time this season. He joined the third line alongside Andrej Nestrasil and Bogdan Potekhin.

It wasn’t long before the master marksman was involved in the attack. A second-minute attack presented a shooting chance for Mozyakin, but on this occasion he couldn’t find the net. It wasn’t long before his team was in front, though. A Torpedo penalty was just coming to an end when Nestrasil’s shot was blocked and Nikolai Prokhorkin tucked away the rebound.

Torpedo had its own power play chances in the first but could not get back on level terms, and a third Metallurg penalty, early in the middle frame, saw the visitor fall further behind. The first attempt to test Juho Olkinuora in the home net broke down and Maxim Karpov raced clear to test Andrei Tikhomirov. This de facto penalty shot became a de jure one when the goalie brought Karpov down; given a second chance, the forward beat the goalie to make it 2-0. A third goal followed when Nestrasil scored on the power play midway through the game.

The visitor got on the scoreboard at last after 35 minutes when Kirill Urakov’s redirect gave his team a power play goal. But there was no way back despite a lively third period display from Torpedo.

Petersson at the double

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 Traktor Chelyabinsk 1 (2-0, 0-1, 0-0)

Andre Petersson got his first goals for Lokomotiv to set the Railwaymen on the way to victory at home to Traktor. The Swede, who arrived from Dynamo Moscow in the summer, had two assists in his first four games, but added two goals in the first period here.

The first came in the 11th minute, finishing off a well-worked move with a wrist shot beyond Roman Will in the Traktor net. Five minutes later, it was 2-0 as the Swedish international added a power play goal.

Vitaly Kravtsov was the man who was penalized ahead of that goal and the Rangers prospect made amends in the second period when he added a power play goal of his own. Traktor looked dangerous with the extra man, Lukas Sedlak going close before Ilya Konovalov lost track of a rebound and Kravtsov was there to convert the chance.

However, Konovalov would not be beaten again, making 14 saves in the third period to preserve his team’s slender lead. Loko makes it four wins from five games, Traktor begins its first road trip with a loss.

Toothless Leopards fail to test Ak Bars

HC Sochi 0 Ak Bars Kazan 4 (0-0, 0-2, 0-2)

Goal shy Sochi failed to score for the second time in four games as Ak Bars eased to a comfortable victory by the Black Sea. The home team had its chances in the first period, outshooting Ak Bars 14-6 and forcing Timur Bilyalov into several big saves. After the intermission, though, everything changed.

Ak Bars dominated the second period. The home team was limited to just three shots at Bilyalov, while the visitor was able to turn its superiority into goals — something Sochi failed to do early in the game. Kirill Petrov broke the deadlock in the 26th minute, scoring on debutant goalie Maxim Tretyak. The newcomer had a busy time of it in the middle frame and was beaten once again when Alexander Burmistrov produced an unstoppable shot to double the lead.

The third period continued in similar vein to the second, with Ak Bars effortlessly controlling the play. The visitor was rewarded with two more goals — Justin Azevedo and Nigel Dawes extending the lead — as it romped to a convincing victory.

Prince delivers Dinamo victory

Spartak Moscow 3 Dinamo Minsk 4 OT (1-0, 2-3, 0-0, 0-1)

Dinamo got a win from its first road game of the season thanks to Shane Prince’s overtime goal at Spartak. It was the Canadian forward’s second of the evening and it came almost four minutes into the extras.

Photo: 13.09.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Spartak (Moscow) - Dinamo (Minsk)

Earlier, Prince put Dinamo ahead for the first time in the game as the visitor turned things around at the start of the second period. An Artyom Fyodorov power play goal separated the teams at the end of an even first frame, but the Belarusians responded strongly after the intermission. Artyom Demkov tied it up and Prince made it 2-1 inside four minutes of the session. Ivan Lodnia, a 21-year-old American forward playing in his second KHL game, got the assist on that one.

Spartak responded. Sergei Shirokov tied the game and Martin Bakos put the home team back on top with a power play effort in the 35th minute. But Spartak could not stay out of the penalty box and Brandon Kozun made it 3-3 before the break.

After six goals in 40 minutes, the game seemed poised for a high-scoring finale. Instead, though, the two defenses got to grips with proceedings and the third period was goalless. Minsk thought it had a winner 30 seconds into overtime, but Rob Klinkhammer’s effort was ruled out for use of a hand. However, the winning goal was not long in coming and Prince’s second of the game gave Dinamo its first victory on the ice this season (the team’s previous win was a walkover after Jokerit failed to travel to Belarus).

Tkachyov impresses on return to fitness

SKA St. Petersburg 5 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 (1-0, 2-2, 2-0)

Miro Aaltonen’s hat-trick — the first in the KHL this season — led the way for SKA as it joins CSKA on nine points at the top of the fledgling table.

The Finn’s performance got the headlines here, but there was also a goal from Anton Burdasov to stretch his scoring streak to five games. For Neftekhimik, meanwhile, forced to postpone its game in Riga on Friday due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests, this was a tough return to action. The team had to return home and only returned to Petersburg on Sunday morning, a few hours before the game.

It looked like fatigue might sink Neftekhimik without trace. Burdasov opened the scoring in the seventh minute, tucking away a gift of a pass from Vladimir Tkachyov — fit again and back on the roster — with Aaltonen also among the assists. But the visitor proved more resilient than expected, and recovered to take the lead in the second period thanks to goals from Pavel Poryadin and Alexander Osipov.

Unfortunately for Neftekhimik, penalty trouble presented Aaltonen with the chance to take control of the game. Two power plays in quick succession saw the former Vityaz man grab two goals and give SKA the edge going into the final frame.

Tkachyov extended the lead, completing a satisfying return to action for him, and Aaltonen completed his treble in the 50th minute to ensure a comfortable win for the Army Men.

Goalies on top in Podolsk

Vityaz Moscow Region 2 Severstal Cherepovets 1 OT (1-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

This game began with two goals in the third minute ... but then went scoreless until a shoot-out. Vityaz eventually claimed the win, its second of the season in its first home game.

Photo: 13.09.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Vityaz (Moscow Region) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

There was an explosive start to the action, with the home team going in front on a Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov goal after 2:09. However, the lead did not last and Anton Sizov responded for Severstal on 2:50.

And that was the end of the scoring. Ilya Ezhov and Vladislav Podyapolsky made 75 saves between them to keep the game locked at 1-1 until a shoot-out. Even then, Ezhov was invincible, winning every duel. Pavel Varfolomeyev and Mattias Tedenby both succeeded for the home team, giving Vityaz the verdict.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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