Avangard had just two days to wait before avenging Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Amur. A long-awaited goal from Kirill Semyonov helped the Hawks to a 3-2 verdict in Khabarovsk.
However, it was Amur that made the better start with the Zohorna brothers combining to open the scoring after three minutes. Hynek made the pass, Tomas, scored the goal, the Tigers went ahead early in the game. But Avangard tied it up midway through the first period thanks to Sergei Tolchinsky.
Then came Semyonov’s moment. The Avangard forward last scored on Sep. 18 in a 2-1 win at Neftekhimik. Since then, he played 18 games without finding the net — although he did contribute six assists in that time. Today, he snapped that unhappy streak just as soon as his team killed a 3-on-5 penalty. Back at full strength, the Hawks launched a counterattack and, despite claims of offside from the home bench, Semyonov got a goal that, in his own words, lifted a weight from his shoulders.
Towards the end of the frame, Ville Pokka extended the visitor’s lead. His shot from a tight angle caught Evgeny Alikin by surprise and the goalie was unable to get close enough to the near post and keep it out. A two-goal advantage proved too much for Amur to recover. The home team pulled a power play goal back late in the game, with Alexander Gorshkov finding the net during a passage of 6-on-4 play, but there was no time to find an equalizer.
These two teams came into the game locked in a battle for a place in the top eight. Torpedo was eighth in the Eastern Conference, with Sibir one place and one point behind. By the end of the game, though, the home team had moved up the table, pushing Torpedo out of the playoff spots.
Mikael Ruohomaa was the main reason for that success. The Finnish forward scored two of his team’s goals as he celebrated his 32nd birthday in style. He opened the scoring in the 16th minute, finding Alexei Melnichuk’s net with a shot from mid-range. In the middle frame, Sibir doubled its lead when a defensive error helped Dmitry Sayustov get his sixth goal of the season.
Torpedo responded with an unusual goal. Damir Zhafyarov thudded the puck into the boards, hoping that the rebound would take it into the danger zone. But the forward got a lucky break as his effort got tangled in Harri Sateri’s shields and trickled past the goalie into the net.
In the third period, both teams had chances to score as the battle continued. However, it was Ruohomaa who ensured his birthday party would go with a swing when he made it 3-1 late in the game.
Neither of these teams came into the game in particularly impressive form. Barys has been uneven all season, hampered by the absence of fans at its home games and stretched by illness in the team. Metallurg, meanwhile, had just one win in its previous six games.
Against that background, then, it was perhaps no surprise that goals were in short supply in Kazakhstan. In a duel between two Finnish goalies, Joni Ortio of Barys was the busier, but he kept Magnitka at bay for two periods. His opposite number, Juho Olkinuora, was beaten by a power play goal from Filip Varone midway through the second period. That was the Canadian’s first goal in the KHL following his recent arrival from North America. Previously he was part of the Penguins organization but spent last season in the AHL.
Metallurg continued to create more chances — by the end of 60 minutes, the visitor would outshoot Barys 40-20. At the start of the third, Nikolai Prokhorkin finally found the way past Ortio to tie the scores. That was the forward’s second goal in successive games, and his evening got even better in the shoot-out when his attempt proved decisive as Metallurg claimed a much-needed win.