Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The big game of the day lived up to its billing as Spartak edged CSKA in overtime following a 3-3 tie. The win puts Oleg Znarok’s men back into the playoff places in the West. Elsewhere, there were plenty of goals — Lokomotiv scored 7 on Barys, while Neftekhimk won the basement battle against Kunlun Red Star 6-3. Ak Bars also hit six, beating Torpedo 6-2. Avangard snapped a three-game skid with a home win against Sochi, Dynamo edged Vityaz 2-1, Traktor defeated Metallurg in overtime and SKA had too much for an illness-afflicted Jokerit.

Traktor spoils Mozyakin’s moment

Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 Metallurg Magnitogosk 1 OT (1-1, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Sergei Mozyakin played his 500th game as captain of Metallurg — but that was not enough to inspire his club to victory in this South Ural derby. Instead, Traktor avenged a 4-1 loss in Magnitogorsk just before the international break and continued its push for a top-four place in the East.

Photo: 10.11.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Traktor (Chelyabinsk) - Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)

Metallurg’s day began well enough, with Artyom Zemchyonok finding Andrei Chibisov in the third minute. Chibisov easily evaded the attentions of Dmitry Ogurtsov to open the scoring. However, when Zemchyonok and Sergei Plotnikov were sent to the sin bin just 16 seconds apart, Traktor took its chance to tie the game. Lawrence Pilut squeezed a wrister inside the post as the first intermission approached and the home team went into the break buoyed by the goal.

Magnitka got a similar chance to play 5-on-3 midway through the second period but was unable to take advantage. Even though Metallurg dominated play in the second period — 24 shots, 12 on target, against 6 and 2 for Traktor — Ivan Fedotov and his colleagues repelled the danger.

The third period produced fewer chances, and the best of the bunch went to Traktor’s PK. Lukas Sedlak got a solo rush but Juho Olkinuora shut the door on the Czech forward.

In overtime, Metallurg dictated much of the play but Traktor bided its time and hit back on the counter attack. The host’s first meaningful foray forward ended with Ruslan Karlin firing home the winning goal.

Hudacek double lifts Neftekhimik clear of the basement

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 6 Kunlun Red Star 3 (2-1, 2-0, 2-2)

Neftekhimik picked up a second successive victory with in-form Libor Hudacek leading the way. The result takes Vyacheslav Butsayev’s team away from the foot of the Eastern Conference, where Red Star now languishes four points adrift.

However, the Dragons made a good start here, taking the lead in the third minute on a Ryan Sproul power play goal. That divided the teams until late in the first period, when Neftekhimik got a quick double to turn the game around. Andrei Kostitsyn scored on one of his former clubs to convert a power play in the 16th minute, then Daniel Butsayev made it 2-1 within 90 seconds.

Any hopes of a Red Star fightback were extinguished by Hudacek. The Slovak forward came into the game with four points in his previous five games. He also showed a liking for this opponent earlier in the season, claiming a hat-trick of assists in a 4-3 win in Mytishchi. Now he added two more goals to take the game away. A beleaguered visiting defense was indebted to Dmitry Shikin for keeping the scoreline respectable — on several occasions the goalie faced down one-on-one breaks and he got the better of Ildar Shiksatdarov’s penalty shot midway through the frame.

Rafael Bikmullin extended the home lead early in the third period, but home hopes of easing to a comfortable win were hit by two goals in 23 seconds as Red Star belatedly sought to save the game. Alexei Toropchenko got the first, Casey Wellman the second — the latter potting his second goal in successive appearances after an 11-game wait to hit the target. With 13 minutes to play, the atmosphere in the arena was tense. But Neftekhimik regained its composure and saw out the time to complete the win. Alexei Volgin had the final word, gleefully smashing home an empty net goal.

Petersson’s pair sinks former club

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 7 Barys Nur-Sultan 2 (3-1, 3-0, 1-1)

Andre Petersson scored twice against his former club to set Lokomotiv up for a convincing victory. Barys came to town with three straight wins behind it, but was hit by an express train against a team intent on pushing CSKA every inch of the way in the Tarasov Division.

Petersson was not the only former Barys man to contribute to this win. Home goalie Eddie Pasquale and head coach Andrei Skabelka was both in Nur-Sultan last season. And the first goalscorer, Atte Ohtamaa, moved from Kazakhstan to Yaroslavl in the summer. He opened the scoring after 11 seconds with a much-deflected shot from the first attack of the game. Yegor Averin quickly doubled the lead and it was already looking like a long road back for the visitor. True, Viktor Svedberg reduced the arrears, but Petersson’s first of the night — following good work behind the net from Yegor Korshkov — kept Lokomotiv well in control.

The second period was goalless until the midway point, but when Barys gave Loko a 5-on-3 advantage, the host needing no second invitation. Petersson got his second, then Denis Alexeyev made it 5-1 a mere 90 seconds later. Fast forward another minute and the Railwaymen were celebrating yet again as Korshov extended the lead. Shell-shocked goalie Henrik Karlsson returned to the bench in favor of Joni Ortio.

Early in the third, Vladimir Tkachyov added a seventh with the teams playing 4-on-4. Barys defenseman Dillon Heatherington scored his first goal in the KHL to give the visitor a modicum of satisfaction, but this game very much belonged to the Barys old boys.

Ak Bars outlasts Torpedo

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Ak Bars Kazan 6 (1-2, 1-1, 0-3)

Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars rolled out a fourth straight win to extend its advantage over Avtomobilist at the top of the Kharlamov Division. Torpedo, meanwhile, remains in eighth and will hope for a Sibir loss tomorrow to maintain its grip on a playoff spot.

The home team got the opener here when Sergei Goncharuk opened the scoring in the fifth minute. However, it was behind midway through the frame after Mikhail Glukhov tied it up and youngster Daniil Zhuravlyov got the go-ahead goal. That was a first of the season for the 20-year-old defenseman.

Dmitry Yudin extended the Ak Bars lead at the start of the middle stanza, but when Torpedo got a 5-on-3 power play the home side reduced the deficit. Ivan Chekhovich got his third goal of the season in only a sixth KHL appearance for the 21-year-old forward.

In the third, though, Ak Bars took control. Glukhov potted his second of the game to give some breathing space. Then late goals from Nigel Dawes and Alexander Burmistrov sealed a convincing road win for Dmitry Kvartalnov’s team.

Makeshift Jokerit is no match for SKA

Jokerit Helsinki 1 SKA St. Petersburg 4 (1-2, 0-1, 0-1)

In different circumstances, this might have been Valery Bragin’s fourth game of the week at the Hartwall Arena. Instead, of course, SKA’s head coach temporarily handed over the national team role to Igor Larionov for the Karjala Cup. But for Bragin, the outcome proved similar — an impressive win over Finnish opposition, powered by a fast start to the game.

Vladimir Tkachyov put SKA ahead in the third minute of the game, collecting Ivan Morozov’s pass from behind the net and elegantly outwitting Anders Lindback for the opening goal. However, Jokerit found a tying goal soon afterwards. The home team has once again been hampered by illness and called up several players from the Finnish leagues to fill the gaps on the roster. One of them, Mika Partanen, made the jump from Finland’s third tier to the KHL and produced a power play goal after five minutes to make it 1-1.

However, there was no fairytale unfolding for the hastily assembled Jokerit roster. Evgeny Ketov restored SKA’s lead when he burst through the home defense and scored on the second attempt. After 20 minutes, SKA led 2-1 but a shot count of 18-6 painted a clearer picture of how the game was going.

It took some time for another goal to come. Jokerit tightened up the game in the second period but was eventually undone by Miro Aaltonen, who wired a wrister to the top corner in the 35th minute. Then Evgeny Timkin added a fourth midway through the final session, beating Lindback from close range off a Ketov feed from the boards. At the other end, Eeli Tolvanen went close for Jokerit, only to be denied by Mikhail Berdin in the SKA net.

Dynamo capitalizes on fast start

Vityaz Moscow Region 1 Dynamo Moscow 2 (0-2, 1-0, 0-0)

Vityaz saw its three-game winning streak come to an end after allowing two early goals to Tuesday’s visitor. The victory tightens Dynamo’s grip on fourth place in the West, but defeat sees Vityaz drop out of the playoff spots after Spartak won its derby clash with CSKA.

The game was won and lost in the first 10 minutes. First, Vadim Shipachyov and Dmitry Kagarlitsky combined to set up Michal Cajkovsky for the opening goal in the seventh minute. Then Cajkovsky turned provider as Teemu Pulkkinen made it 2-0. Up to that point, Dynamo looked untroubled, but when Vityaz got a power play soon after, the balance of play changed.

The home team could not turn its strong finish to the first period into goals, but succeeded in pulling one back in the 27th minute when Mikhail Smolin found the net. However, the remainder of the game saw Dynamo steadily reasserting its authority. The Blue-and-Whites could not find another goal to make the closing stages more comfortable, but they took the game to their host and made it hard for Vityaz to get on level terms.

CSKA slips up in capital city showdown

CSKA Moscow 3 Spartak Moscow 4 OT (1-1, 1-1, 1-1, 0-1)

The big game of the day needed overtime to separate these Moscow rivals — and ended with Martin Bakos delivering a shock result as Spartak got some revenge after two losses against the Army Men earlier in the season.

Photo: 10.11.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. CSKA (Moscow) - Spartak (Moscow)

Bakos produced the overtime winner after CSKA had killed a penalty that carried over to the extras. The Army Men were beginning to flex their muscles back at full strength, but a poke check in center ice sent the Slovak international through on Alexander Sharychenkov’s net and he calmly wrapped up the game.

That was a second of the evening for Bakos. Earlier, his first-period effort cancelled out Nikolai Goldobin’s 10th-minute opener and left CSKA frustrated to go to the intermission with the scores tied despite a dominant performance. In the second period, the teams were more evenly-matched but the outcome was the same — CSKA went in front through a Maxim Mamin power play goal, and Spartak levelled when Sergei Shirokov steered a Evgeny Kulik shot into the net.

Bakos isn’t the only Spartak player who will likely remember this game for some time. Midway through the third period, 19-year-old defenseman Artyom Serikov got his first goal in the KHL — and it put Spartak up for the first time in the game. The youngster fired home a Maxim Tsyplakov feed into the right-hand channel.

It wasn’t enough to win it, though. Anton Slepyshev’s one-timer tied the scores a couple of minutes later. A point from the tie was good enough to lift Spartak back into the playoff places after Vityaz lost to Dynamo, but Bakos made sure that his team got to celebrate the victory with his decisive play in overtime.

Winning debut for Hrubec

Avangard Omsk 3 HC Sochi 2 (2-1, 1-1, 0-0)

Sergei Tolchinsky scored twice to help Avangard to victory over Sochi. The Hawks handed a debut to Czech goalie Simon Hrubec, signed from Kunlun Red Star during the international break, and he got the win as his team snapped a three-game losing run. The result puts Bob Hartley’s team back on top of the Chernyshev Division, a point clear of Salavat Yulaev but four behind Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars.

Photo: 10.11.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Avangard (Omsk) - HC Sochi (Sochi)

It was shaping up to be a routine day at the office for the home team. Alexander Khokhlachyov opened the scoring after seven minutes and Tolchinsky got his first of the game on the power play soon afterwards. Sochi, though, had not read the script. Jere Karjalainen pulled a goal back in the first period before Malte Stromwall tied it up on the power play early in the second.

However, there are signs that Reid Boucher is forming a handy power play combination with Tolchinsky. The two were involved in the first period and reprised their duet in the second as Tolchinsky made it 3-2 midway through the game. That was the end of the scoring, and gives Avangard hope that its recent sticky form might be coming to an end.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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