Ak Bars went into the game with young goalie Artur Akhtyamov getting his first KHL start. The 18-year-old made his first appearance on Saturday when he came off the bench to replace the injured Timur Bilyalov during the 2-3 loss at Neftekhimik. The home team was also without head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov and Sergei Dushkin stood in for him. Traktor had hopes of bringing back Vitaly Kravtsov but the young forward wasn’t quite ready to return here.
The opening goal came midway through the first period — and it went to Traktor’s penalty kill. Sergei Kalinin’s rush through the center was halted, but the puck fell to Alexei Byvaltsev and the forward did not waste the opportunity. Ak Bars thought it had tied the game in the 14th minute when Mikhail Glukhov found the net, but the video review showed an offside in the build-up and the visitor went to the intermission with a one-goal lead.
The second period began with a rash of penalties. When Vyacheslav Osnovin returned to the box for a second time, the Ak Bars power play took advantage. Artyom Galimov won the face-off, Stanislav Galiyev fed Albert Yarullin on the blue line and the defenseman’s mighty point shot was too good for Ivan Fedotov.
It was still late as the third period entered its closing stages — but then the pace picked up again as the teams traded quick goals. A penalty on Patrice Cormier gave Traktor its chance, and with Ak Bars unable to clear its lines, Pontus Aberg put the visitor in front again in the 53rd minute. But the lead was shortlived. Kamil Fazylzyanov tied it up a couple of minutes later, skating into the left-hand circle and unleashing a lethal wrister that gave Fedotov no chance. Fazylzyanov’s first goal of the season was awarded after a bench challenge from Traktor claimed interference on the goalie.
That took the action to a shoot-out. Ivan Yemets converted the first attempt for Ak Bars, but subsequently nobody from the home team found the net. Byvaltsev tied it up immediately, then further successful attempts from Aberg and Nick Bailen gave Traktor the win. The visitor remains sixth in the east, but Ak Bars has cause for concern after losing five of its last seven games.