Amur left it late before securing its second successive victory. It was the first time the Tigers had celebrated back-to-back wins this season and lifted Sergei Svetlov’s team to ninth in the Eastern Conference.
The home team opened the scoring towards the end of the first period when Alexander Kuznetsov found the net. However, neither side was able to add the tally in a goalless middle frame and Severstal tied it up on a power play goal from Daniil Vovchenko at the start of the third.
It was beginning to look like the game was destined for overtime, but Amur rallied in the closing minutes to take the win. The Zohorna brothers combined on a game-breaker from Nikita Kamalov on 58:15, then Valentin Pyanov scored into an empty net. Amur avenged its opening day loss in Cherepovets.
Rodion Amirov was one of the big stories of the NHL draft, selected by Toronto at #15 earlier this week. Today, Leafs fans got a look at what makes this technically gifted forward such a hot property among this year’s prospects.
The teenager’s stock has risen in recent weeks. His first KHL goals came in a 6-5 win over Vityaz at the end of September and at a team when Ufa has been hit by illness, Amirov has shown flashes of the skills that can make him a genuine leader on the ice. Today, in his first game after the draft, he made the decisive contribution of the evening when he potted the only goal of the post-game shoot-out to give Salavat Yulaev a narrow win over Sibir. He showed plenty of confidence as he planted a wrister beyond Harri Sateri, unimpressed by the Finn’s terrific form in overtime.
Sibir will be frustrated not to leave Bashkortostan with both points. The visitor led 2-0 and 3-2 but could not see out the game. That was largely due to another rising star on the Salavat Yulaev team. Ilya Baranov hasn’t had many opportunities in the KHL, but today he grabbed two goals, including a 57th-minute equalizer to take the game to the extras. Sibir had to contend with absence of Eric O’Dell, expected to miss the next three months after an operation, but began strongly with first-period goals from Ilya Morozov and Juuso Puustinen.
Ak Bars got revenge for a heavy defeat at the hands of Vityaz early this season — but it needed a shoot-out to separate the teams in Podolsk.
There was an unfamiliar look to the Ak Bars team — and forward Ivan Yemets, 23, was one of the big beneficiaries of the club’s fitness worries. The former Metallurg Novokuznetsk prospect had 39 KHL appearances back in 2016-2017 but only made his return to the big league today after spending the subsequent campaigns in the VHL. However, Yemets made quite the impact, scoring his team’s second goal of the game on 33 minutes.
Earlier, 20-year-old Dmitry Voronkov gave Ak Bars a first-period lead when he reacted first after Stanislav Galiyev’s shot cannoned off the boards. That gave the visitor the edge at the intermission despite Vityaz enjoying rather more time on the attack. Yemets’ goal, assisted by another prospect, Maxim Marushev from behind the net, offered some valuable breathing space and within two minutes its importance was underlined by the Vityaz response. Justin Danforth, who is steadily growing into a force in this league, pulled a goal back for the home team.
It was starting to look like Ak Bars had done enough to get the win in regulation — and avenge a shock 0-4 loss at the start of the season — but Vityaz had other ideas. A power play late in the third enabled Alexander Dergachyov to tie the game with three minutes left. Former Ak bars man Fyodor Malykhin was among the assists on that goal. Overtime could not separate the teams and, on a day when Ak Bars’ rising stars made their presence felt, it was over to an old hand to win the shoot-out as Justin Azevedo got the decisive goal.
Lokomotiv began the season by thrashing Spartak 7-2. Just over one month later, the teams met again with the Red-and-Whites eager to show signs of progress. An improved performance from Spartak was all the more important following a 7-1 loss in Helsinki last time out left Oleg Znarok’s team adrift of the playoff places. Lokomotiv was looking to consolidate an upturn in form as the team shakes off the effects of illness in the camp.
Spartak also has health concerns and today’s roster featured several infrequent performers. Alexander Trushkov made his first appearance of the season in goal, Zakhar Shablovsky, 19, was promoted to the first line and Ruslan Novruzov, 20, also stepped up from Khimik.
For two periods, though, it was Lokomotiv that made the pace. The visitor was on top in shots (21-11) and spent more than twice as long on the attack. But there was no breakthrough. And, at the start of the third, Spartak punished those missed opportunities. Martin Bakos forced an error from Nikita Cherepanov and went on to beat Eddie Pasquale in the Loko net. The Canadian, who had a shut-out on his debut on Tuesday, was beaten for the first time in his new team’s colors after 101 minutes of action.
But it wasn’t enough to win the game. Midway through the third period Yegor Korshkov hauled Lokomotiv level after holding off the challenge of Emil Djuse. Spartak got a power play in the last minute of regulation but was unable to take advantage either side of the 60-minute mark. After surviving that scare, Loko went on to win it on an overtime tally from Atte Ohtamaa. But Spartak can take comfort from a much-improved performance compared with that first encounter of the season.