Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The battle of the Canadian coaches went in Bill Peters’ favor, but his Avtomobilist team needed an overtime goal to defeat Bob Hartley’s Avangard. Dynamo Moscow enjoyed a 5-0 derby win over Spartak, with an unusual goal from Dmitrij Jaskin setting the home team on its way. Traktor beat Amur by the same scoreline and Ak Bars scored five on Sochi to keep up its strong start to the season. Torpedo gave SKA a surprise but a youthful Army team recovered to win 2-1 in Petersburg.

Avto sneaks overtime win

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 4 Avangard Omsk 3 OT (0-0, 2-1, 1-2, 1-0)

Two goals from summer signing Corban Knight saw the Canadian open his account for Avangard, but couldn’t save the Hawks from an overtime loss at Avtomobilist. This clash of two Canadian coaches went the way of Bill Peters thanks to a late tying goal from Stanislav Bocharov and a winner from Alexei Makeyev.

Photo: 20.09.20. KHL Championship 2020/2021. Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg) - Avangard (Omsk)

The first period was goalless, and both teams had grounds to claim the initiative at the first intermission. Avto’s Jakub Kovar was the busier of the goalies, but the home offense spent more time in enemy territory.

At the start of the second, Anatoly Golyshev took a double minor for high sticks and Knight opened the scoring when he converted an Jiri Sekac feed to the slot. Avtomobilist tied it up midway through the session thanks to Mikhail Mamkin and went ahead early in the third through Chay Genoway’s second of the season. The Canadian defenseman marked his 300th game in the KHL.

Midway through the third frame, Avangard looked to be closing on victory. Knight converted another power play to tie the game, then Alexei Emelin found the net for the second game running to make it 3-2 with eight to play.

However, Bocharov claimed an unusual equalizer with a shot that looped off Emil Garipov’s shoulder. The goalie made amends with a couple of big saves at the start of the extras, but had no answer when Pavel Datsyuk’s wonder pass sent Makeyev away for the winner.

Winning return for Gatiyatulin

Traktor Chelyabinsk 5 Amur Khabarovsk 0 (2-0, 2-0, 1-0)

Anvar Gatiyatulin returned to the Traktor bench after recovering from illness and his presence inspired the team to a 5-0 victory over struggling Amur. Alexei Byvaltsev found the net twice and Vitaly Kravtsov extended his scoring run to four games.

There was a new face behind the Tigers’ bench as well, with Sergei Svetlov taking charge of the team for the first time since being unveiled as head coach. Pavel Torgayev, who had served as interim chief for the opening games of the season, continues on the staff.

However, it wasn’t long before Svetlov had to plot a fightback. Byvaltsev opened the scoring in the first minute and, in truth, there were few signs that Traktor would be significantly troubled after that. Byvaltsev, once an Amur player, got the second of the game, shorthanded, in the 16th minute and the visitor had a mountain to climb.

The best goals came in the second period, with Lukas Sedlak conjuring up a fantastic spin and shot to plant a backhand over Marek Langhamer’s shoulder before Kravtsov rifled home a one-timer after Nick Bailen showed great vision to pick out the youngster at the back door. Bailen completed the scoring in the third, while Roman Will stopped 17 shots for his first KHL shut-out.

Battling Sochi falls short in Kazan

Ak Bars Kazan 5 HC Sochi 3 (1-0, 2-3, 2-0)

Sochi gave Ak Bars a real battle in Kazan, but eventually succumbed to goals in the closing minutes. The home team recorded its fifth straight victory but Sochi remains stuck at the foot of the Western Conference with just one win in six games.

In the early stages, things seemed straightforward for the home team. Viktor Tikhonov scored twice, one each side of the first intermission, to put Ak Bars 2-0 up. Sochi responded with a goal from its youngsters: German Rubtsov was the scorer, getting his first in the KHL, and there were assists from Amir Garayev (second KHL appearance) and Nikita Sedov (KHL debut) to put the visitor back in the game. Ak Bars responded fast with Danis Zaripov setting up Stanislav Galiyev to make it 3-1 30 seconds later. But the end of the middle frame saw Sochi roar back into the game. Ansel Galimov reduced the arrears and, barely a minute later, Malte Stromwall got his first goal since returning to the club, making the score 3-3 at the second break.

Rubtsov’s goal relied on a big deflection from Roman Rukavishnikov, and the Ak Bars defenseman atoned for that error with seven minutes left when he restored his team’s lead. Justin Azevedo sealed the win in the last minute.

Jaskin uses his head, Dynamo wins derby

Dynamo Moscow 5 Spartak Moscow 0 (2-0, 2-0, 1-0)

Commentators often talk of ‘stunning’ goals. Dmitrij Jaskin’s opener for Dynamo in this local derby was more literally stunning than most. The Czech international was waiting on the slot when a Michal Cajkovsky shot ricocheted off Andrei Zubarev and crashed into the forward’s vizor before dropping into the net. Jaskin looked slightly bemused as he took the congratulations of his team-mates, but after a quick application of an ice pack, he was good to continue the game.

Photo: 20.09.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Dynamo (Moscow) - Spartak (Moscow)

His team was also good to go: a minute later, Vladimir Bryukvin doubled the home lead and late in the first period Teemu Pulkkinen had an effort ruled out by the video. In the second period the Blue-and-Whites took the game away from Spartak. Mindful of how the previous game between these teams saw Spartak recover from 1-0 down to win 3-1, Dynamo kept up the pressure. Cajkovsky added a third midway through the action, then Oscar Lindberg got his first goal in the KHL when Dmitry Kagarlitsky released him into the Spartak zone.

That goal brought Julius Hudacek to the ice for the first time this season, but he was beaten midway through the final frame when Bryukvin got his second of the day.

Spartak slipped to a fourth straight loss and has just two wins from eight games this season. More worrying for Oleg Znarok’s team, it failed to score for the second game in a row and has just one goal in its last three outings.

Young SKA wins again

SKA St. Petersburg 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (0-1, 2-0, 0-0)

SKA continues to put faith in its youth system — and keeps getting results. Yaroslav Askarov, 18, got the start in goal, while 20-year-old defenseman Grigory Gryaznov and 19-year-old forward Yegor Spiridonov were added to a roster that already featured the fresh-faced likes of Arseny Brinkman, Nikita Zorkin and Vladislav Tsitsyura. This group of new prospects was added to the established youngsters on the roster, Kirill Marchenko, Ivan Morozov and Vasily Podkolzin.

A line-up like this illustrates why SKA was so keen to appoint Valery Bragin as head coach. His years of experience coaching Russia’s juniors makes him the ideal choice to nurture the country’s brightest talents at club level as well, and reinforces the Army Men’s unofficial status as a ‘base club’ for the national team.

Bragin’s KHL experience is relatively limited — a half season with CSKA, a handful of games with Atlant — but since taking over in Petersburg he has steered his team to the top of the table. SKA’s 13-point tally is matched only by Avtomobilist and Avangard in the East. Here, the young recruits won again, albeit after coming from behind. Torpedo took the lead late in the second period. Vadim Pereskokov, who only recently concluded a contract with the team, marked his first appearance of the season with the opening goal.

However, SKA turned it around in the middle frame. Vladimir Tkachyov tied the scores with a power play goal midway through the period. The forward followed up his game-winning double at Spartak with another clutch goal here, while Lucas Bengtsson collected his third assist in three games. The Swede was at it again five minutes later, helping Morozov fashion an opening for Marchenko to put the Army Men in front. For Marchenko, one of the most talked-about prospects in the league right now, that was a first goal of the season. Morozov’s assist was his second of the game and the season.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Amur (Khabarovsk) Amur (Khabarovsk)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
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