Andy Potts Andy Potts
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SKA was the big scorer of the day, powering to an 8-1 win over Vityaz. But it could not make any ground on table-topping CSKA, which had two goals from Maxim Mamin to thank for a 5-3 win over Salavat Yulaev. Danis Zaripov returned to action but his Ak Bars team lost at Traktor, while Kunlun Red Star’s Stephanie Klein became the first ever female equipment manager in the KHL as her team lost 0-2 at Torpedo. Barys won at Neftekhimik, Sochi defeated Dinamo Riga, Severstal edged Dynamo in a shoot-out and Avtomobilist got the better of Lokomotiv.

Traktor spoils Zaripov’s return

Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 Ak Bars Kazan 1 (0-0, 2-1, 0-0)

The pre-game talk was all about Danis Zaripov’s long-awaited return to action, with Ak Bars’ veteran forward getting back on the ice for the first time since Sep. 27. However, Traktor was in no mood to give the old master an easy ride and snapped the Eastern Conference leader’s four-game winning streak thanks to a pair of goals early in the second period.

In the first period, Ak Bars had the bulk of the possession — helped by four Traktor penalties — but failed to break down the home defense. Then, late in the opening frame, Stephane Da Costa took a penalty and the host used the power play to open the scoring at the start of the second. Lawrence Pilut’s shot was blocked by Adam Reideborn but Tomas Hyka was on hand to put away the rebound.

Dmitry Kvartalnov called for a review, claiming Reideborn was impeded, but the video upheld the on-ice decision and cost Ak Bars its time-out. Soon after, Viktor Tikhonov took a minor penalty and Alexei Byvaltsev scored to double the home lead.

The visitor’s hopes for a fightback were hampered by a string of penalties in the second period. However, during a rare period of 5-on-5 hockey Kristian Khenkel got Ak Bars back into the game. That wasn’t enough, though, as Traktor held on. A notable victory for a fast-improving team.

Barys wins at Neftekhimik once again

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 Barys Nur-Sultan 2 (1-1, 0-1, 0-0)

Barys bounced back from a 2-7 mauling in Yaroslavl by picking up its latest victory in Nizhnekamsk. This win was the fifth in a row at Neftekhimik for the Kazakh team, which clearly enjoys its trips here.

The visitor got off to a great start with a Linus Videll power play goal in the third minute. That was a third goal in four games for the Swede and Barys continues its record of taking at least a point from any game in which Videll finds the net.

Neftkehimik tied it up soon enough, though, thanks to Marat Khairullin. Libor Hudacek’s assist moves him to six points in his last three games. But Barys responded by picking the locks at the start of the second, with Darren Dietz conjuring up a great feed for Jakob Lilja to convert a simple chance from close range. And that proved enough to win it, stalling Neftekhimik’s mini-revival of late and keeping Barys in the top eight.

Klein makes history for KRS

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Kunlun Red Star 0 (1-0, 1-0, 0-0)

Today’s game made a small piece of hockey history when Stephanie Klein stepped up to replace Red Star’s equipment manager Dmitry Safonov. Klein, 28, became the first woman in KHL history — it’s believed, in the history of top-level men’s hockey — to serve on the bench as an equipment manager.

The decision made perfect sense. Klein has spent the past three seasons with the KRS Vanke Rays, Kunlun’s Russian title-winning women’s team. Prior to that, she spent six seasons as equipment manager for the men and women of the University of Waterloo.

While the Dragons made history off the ice, the team continued to struggle on it. A shut-out from Nikita Serebryakov frustrated the visiting offense (when Tyler Wong beat the goalie in the third period, the effort was whistled off for a high stick). At the other end, a power play goal from Damir Zhafyarov and a second-period tally for Kirill Urakov gave the home team the victory.

SKA routs Vityaz

Vityaz Moscow Region 1 SKA St. Petersburg 8 (1-2, 0-4, 0-2)

SKA is enjoying its games with Vityaz this season. After winning 5-1 at home, the Army Men came to Podolsk and powered to an emphatic 8-1 success. The visitor had eight different scorers on the night on its way to its biggest win under the coaching of Valery Bragin.

The home team might have known what to expect for the opening goal. Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi and Miro Aaltonen were both popular performers here. Today, though, Shvets-Rogovoi got an assist as Aaltonen opened the scoring after 75 seconds. Next came a power play goal from Lukas Bengtsson as SKA took control early on. Vityaz pulled one back on its own PP thanks to Alexander Dergachyov and, for the rest of the first period the game was very much alive.

That second changed all that. Another power play saw Igor Ozhiganov stretch the lead, then three goals in five minutes took the game away. Rising star Vasily Podkolzin had an assist on Danila Galenyuk’s strike and then added a goal of his own. In between, Vasily Tokranov was also on target.

Yet another SKA youngster, Ivan Morozov, got the seventh at the start of the third period before Aaltonen added an assist to his opening as Joonas Kemppainen wrapped it up. Four of the eight SKA goals came on the power play, with Vityaz struggling to keep its discipline as well as its defensive shape.

Golyshev sets up Avtomobilist win

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 (0-0, 0-2, 1-0)

Two pretenders for the lead of the conferences clashed in Yaroslavl, and Avtomobilist got the verdict in a tight game. Both teams arrived on the back on winning streaks — Loko won its last three, while Avto was victorious in its last two fixtures.

When the teams met in late October, a solitary goal scored in overtime separated the teams. On that occasion, Avtomobilist got the verdict and snapped Loko’s 10-game winning run. Today, once again, goals were hard to come by. The first period did not produce one, although the home team came close before a video review ruled that the puck did not cross the line after an incident in which visiting goalie Jakub Kovar inadvertently knocked it towards his own net.

At the start of the second, though, the puck did make it over the line. Anatoly Golyshev won a battle on the boards and found Brooks Macek in the center. The German international’s wrist shot did the rest and Avtomobilist had the lead. Golyshev extended the advantage in the 33rd minute, holding off an opponent as he bore down on Eddie Pasquale’s goal to make it 2-0.

Lokomotiv huffed and puffed but struggled to find a way past Kovar. Pasquale was already on the bench when Alexei Marchenko pulled a late goal back, but the visitor held on to secure the win and close to within one point of Ak Bars.

Shoot-out success for Severstal

Dynamo Moscow 2 Severstal Cherepovets 3 SO (1-1, 1-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Dynamo suffered its first loss in three games, going down to Severstal in a shoot-out. The result moves the Steelmen level on points with Thursday’s host; the two clubs lie fourth and fifth in the West.

Photo: 12.11.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Dynamo (Moscow) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

Andrei Alexeyev put the Blue-and-Whites in front in the second minute, but that early blow did little to discourage Severstal. Vladislav Provolnev responded midway through the first period and the game was deadlocked until the 32nd minute. Then a home power play saw Andrei Sergeyev restore Dynamo’s lead.

Again, though, Severstal would not yield. Igor Geraskin tied it up midway through the third — he now has three goals in five games — and the game was headed for overtime. The decisive blow came in a shoot-out, with the visitor converting its first three attempts to leave Dynamo with too much to do.

Mamin leads CSKA to win

CSKA Moscow 5 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 (2-1, 1-1, 2-1)

Two goals from Maxim Mamin steered CSKA to victory in an entertaining game at home to Salavat Yulaev. The home team decided to rest Nikolai Goldobin and Alexander Popov after losing to Spartak on Tuesday and drafted in a couple of youngsters to replace them. Kirill Maximov and Maxim Sorkin returned to the team for the first time this month.

Photo: 12.11.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. CSKA (Moscow) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

But it was Mamin who made the early impact, scoring twice in the first period. Both goals came on the power play and the first saw Maxim Shalunov collect his 100th KHL assist. In between, Sakari Manninen put Salavat Yulaev level.

The first period ended with a fight between Pavel Karnaukhov and Alexei Semenov. Karnaukhov got 5+20 for his efforts. CSKA escaped further punishment from the Ufa power play, but it took a video review to chalk off a possible goal for the visitor. However, back at full strength Salavat Yulaev tied the game when Grigory Panin’s pass took an unlikely deflection and flew past Alexander Sharychenkov. However, a defensive error late in the frame let in Anton Slepyshev and his swift stick-handling restored the home lead.

The third period began with Salavat pushing for another equalizer but gradually CSKA got back in control of the play. Konstantin Okulov made it 4-2 midway through the frame before Brendan Leipsic added a fifth. Ufa finished the game with a 5-on-3 power play and in the last second Teemu Hartikainen reduced the deficit, but it was too late to change the outcome.

Riga can’t snap losing streak

Dinamo Riga 1 HC Sochi 3 (0-0, 0-0, 1-3)

Dinamo’s 10-game losing streak was extended to 12 in the build-up to this game. The Latvians were forced to forfeit two games cancelled in October after it proved impossible to agree a date for a replay against Metallurg or Vityaz.

Then, on the ice, Riga fell to an 11th successive defeat, this time at the hands of HC Sochi. The visitor had lost its last three after a 3-0 victory over Barys and for a long time it was two nervous teams struggling to create scoring chances.

The game was goalless at the second intermission — Riga shading the play — but the deadlock was broken early in the third when Jere Karjalainen put Sochi in front. Karjalainen turned provider with an assist as Igor Rudenkov made it 2-0, then a power play goal from Malte Stromwall put the result beyond doubt. Visiting goalie Maxim Tretyak got the win against his former club but was denied his second shut-out of the season by a last-minute consolation goal for Evgeny Grachyov.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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