Andy Potts Andy Potts
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There was no shortage of scoring in Thursday’s KHL action, with the goals raining in across the championship. Viktor Tikhonov’s hat-trick for Ak Bars decided the highest-scorer of the evening as Kazan beat Torpedo 7-5. Dmitrij Jaskin also had a treble in Dynamo Moscow’s 6-1 thrashing of Dinamo Riga. There were also seven goals in Kazakhstan, where Avangard beat Barys 5-2. Jokerit won 4-1 at Lokomotiv, CSKA got a 4-2 verdict at Neftekhimik and there were overtime wins for Amur and Dinamo Minsk.

Zohorna double downs Metallurg

Amur Khabarovsk 2 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1 OT (1-0, 0-1, 0-0, 1-0)

Amur has had a busy schedule of late and today was the team’s fourth in the space of seven days. But that didn’t prevent Sergei Svetlov’s men from getting an overtime victory against Metallurg, avenging a 1-3 loss in Magnitogorsk in September.

Throughout its current home stand, the Tigers have made a fast start and Thursday’s game was no exception. Just three minutes into the action, Hynek Zohorna put the home team in front when Dmitry Lugin’s pass found him clear of the Metallurg defense.

Metallurg responded by raising its game but was unable to get back on level terms before the intermission. In the second period, though, the visitor converted the first power play of the game to make it 1-1. Sergei Mozyakin’s shot was put into the net by Andrei Chibisov and the visitor continued to dictate the play for most of the session.

The third period saw both teams play cautious hockey, although Dennis Rasmussen had the best chance to settle matters in regulation. Late the game, Chibisov took a penalty and that proved decisive after it carried into overtime. Zohorna’s one-timer brought him a second goal of the game and gave Amur the verdict.

Zernov and Boucher inspire Avangard win

Barys Nur-Sultan 2 Avangard Omsk 5 (1-3, 0-1, 1-1)

Avangard added to the misery for Barys, inflicting a third successive home loss on the Kazakh team. Barys remains in the playoff places, but only thanks to Torpedo’s defeat at Ak Bars.

Photo: 19.11.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Barys (Nur-Sultan) - Avangard (Omsk)

Denis Zernov and Reid Boucher were the key players for the visitor. Zernov got the first and last goals for Avangard, while Boucher had three assists to move to 20 points in his rookie KHL campaign. Meanwhile, it could have been even worse for Barys had two further Hawks goals not been whistled off for infringements.

Zernov opened the scoring in the fifth minute, and it wasn’t long before Nail Yakupov doubled the lead. That ended a six-game wait for a goal from the mercurial forward and moves him to three goals for Avangard this season. Jakob Lilja pulled one back for the host, but to little avail. Alexei Emelin got a third goal before the break.

In the second period Kirill Semyonov scored the only goal, late in the session. After 18 games without a goal, Semyonov now has two in two. Barys tried to make a game of it when Dmitry Gurkov made it 2-4 early in the third, but Boucher set up Zernov to complete the scoring with six minutes left.

Jokerit proves too strong for Loko

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 Jokerit Helsinki 4 (0-2, 1-2, 0-0)

Lokomotiv’s surge up the table looks to have hit the buffers. The Railwaymen suffered a third successive loss as Jokerit came to town and took the points. The Finns got an unexpected day off yesterday when their scheduled home game against Kunlun Red Star was cancelled at the 11th hour when a member of the Dragons’ party tested positive for coronavirus on arrival in Helsinki.

At first it seemed that Wednesday’s rapid change of plan had distracted Jokerit’s players. Lokomotiv made the better start to the game and was on top of most of the first period stats. However, the Finns improved late in the frame and took control of the most important numbers with two unanswered goals. Jonathan Pudas opened the scoring in the 16th minute and a power play goal from Eeli Tolvanen soon extended that advantage.

Those late goals prompted Andrei Skabelka to replace starting goalie Ilya Konovalov with Eddie Pasquale. Initially, that seemed to give the team the required jolt into action and Atte Ohtamaa scored against his former club to put Loko back in the game. But Brian O’Neill burst forward to get a short-handed goal and give Jokerit breathing space again before Jesse Joensuu added a fourth late in the middle frame.

There was no further scoring in the final session as Jokerit ensured that, for the third time this season, the visitor would get the verdict in meetings between these teams. This time, however, the 4-1 margin was more convincing than the one-goal games seen previously.

Tikhonov’s treble decides a thriller

Ak Bars Kazan 7 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 5 (2-1, 2-1, 3-3)

A hat-trick from Viktor Tikhonov gave Ak Bars the edge in a thrilling game in Kazan. Up against a Torpedo team looking for a win that would return it to the playoff places, the host edged the verdict in a 12-goal thriller — but might have been tied at the end of 60 minutes were it not for a disallowed tally for the visitor with two minutes left.

Torpedo made a great start with a goal from Andy Miele in the third minute. However, Tikhonov kept up his recent run of form with two goals before the intermission to turn the game around. Early in the second period, Danis Zaripov got his first points since Sep. 20. The Ak Bars captain has missed more than six weeks due to injury, but returned to action on Nov. 12 and today had assists on second period goals from Stanislav Galimov and Dmitry Voronkov. In between, Anton Shenfeld scored on Adam Reideborn to keep Torpedo in contention.

A power play at the start of the third saw Jordan Szwarz get Torpedo to 3-4. Then came the tying goal when Ivan Chekhovich got the redirect on a point shot from Artyom Alyayev. Chekhovich, 21, has a taste for scoring against Ak Bars — he was on target on Nov. 10 when Torpedo went down 6-2 against the opponent from Kazan.

Suddenly, it was anyone’s game. Torpedo had every hope of grabbing the win that would return it to the top eight, while Ak Bars was in danger of missing its chance to put a bit of daylight between itself and Traktor at the top of the Eastern Conference. The home team thought it had the win when Dmitry Yudin got forward and tucked away a wrister from between the hashmarks. But Torpedo responded immediately when Kirill Urakov battled his way off the boards, saw a shooting lane open for him and fired through traffic. Dmitry Kvartalov immediately lodged a coach’s challenge and the video review established that the puck had flown outside of the playing area before the goal was scored.

Thus reprieved, Ak Bars went on to seal the win when Tikhonov put his third of the game into an empty net. But there was more to come. Andrei Pedan got a major for kneeing, Ziyat Paigin scored on the power play to give Torpedo renewed hope and only a second empty-netter, this time from Nikita Lyamkin, finally killed off a stubborn visitor.

Maximov, Chivilev open KHL accounts

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 CSKA Moscow 4 (1-1, 0-2, 1-1)

Table-topping CSKA wore down Neftekhimik to record its fourth win in a row. The home team did well to hold its high-flying guest in the first period but ultimately could not deny Igor Nikitin’s men a straightforward victory.

Although the Army Men had the better of the first frame, the most memorable moment came in the 15th minute when Nizhnekamsk youngster Andrei Chivilev got his first KHL goal. The 20-year-old made his debut last season and has enjoyed more opportunities this term playing up from his regular gig with VVS Samara in the second tier. Today he struck within a minute of Alexander Popov’s opener to keep the teams deadlocked at the first break.

After that, though CSKA just had too much for the home team. In the 22nd minute, Kirill Maximov restored the lead with his first goal in the KHL and Andrei Svetlakov soon added a third. A power play for the visitor midway through the middle frame saw the puck in the net once again but, this time, a video review ruled it out for kicking the puck.

Midway through the third, Neftekhimik pulled a goal back through Pavel Poryadin. That made it a one-goal game with 13 to play, time enough to set up an intriguing finish. However, when Andrei Loktionov made it 4-2 in the 52nd minute it was clear that CSKA had enough to get the job done.

Dinamo leaves it late

Dinamo Minsk 3 HC Sochi 2 OT (1-1, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

These two teams are having very different seasons, but there was little to choose between them for much of Thursday’s meeting in Minsk. Dinamo eventually got the win its position in the championship table anticipated, but it took a late tying goal before the host got over the line in overtime.

Sochi, with just one win in five and seven points adrift of the playoff places, surprised everyone by opening the scoring after five minutes. Sergei Shmelyov’s sixth goal of the season put the Leopards ahead. The lead lasted five minutes before Alexei Protas tied it up. Shortly after that there was a brief altercation that saw Dinamo’s Ilya Usov and Brennan Menell sit for roughing alongside Daniil Ogirchuk of the visitor.

In the second period, the home team took the initiative, outshooting Sochi 14-4 but failing to get past Maxim Tretyak. And when Igor Rudenkov made it 2-1 to the visitor in the 57th minute, that failure to convert chances looked fatal for the home team.

A late power play came to the rescue, with Shane Prince tying the game 11 seconds before the hooter — the gamble to play 6-on-4 paid off for Craig Woodcroft’s team. Another power play tipped the balance in overtime, with Sochi called for too many men and Brandon Kozun taking advantage to win it for Minsk. The Belarusian team has now won its last four.

Jaskin hits three as Riga suffers

Dynamo Moscow 6 Dinamo Riga 1 (2-0, 1-1, 3-0)

Dinamo was unable to build on its victory over Kunlun Red Star, slumping to a heavy loss in Moscow. Dmitrij Jaskin’s hat-trick took this game away from the Latvians and made back-to-back wins for the Muscovites after Monday’s assured performance at home to Neftekhimik.

Photo: 19.11.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Dynamo (Moscow) - Dinamo (Riga)

Jaskin’s first contribution to the game was in a supporting role, though. The Czech international got an assist as Vadim Shipachyov opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Soon after, Dynamo’s first line swapped roles as Jaskin scored his first of the night.

Riga briefly threatened to make a game of it when Zack Mitchell scored midway through the second period, but once Jaskin redirected a Michal Cajkovsky shot into the net for a power play goal, the visitor’s hopes were all but extinguished.

Penalty trouble in the third killed Riga off. Moscow got a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes, and turned it into two goals. Jaskin completed his hat-trick then Andrei Mironov made it 5-1 25 seconds later. Yegor Bryzgalov completed the rout late on.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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