This game brought together two opponents on three-game winning streaks — and SKA managed to extend its successful sequence after rallying from 0-2 for the second time in three days. The Army Men did it the hard way in Cherepovets on Thursday and repeated the trick here today.
Salavat Yulaev jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but it would be unfair to suggest that the home team enjoyed control over the game. The action was even, but Ufa took its chances. Oddly, the two goals came when SKA’s most defense-oriented forwards, Joonas Kemppainen and Evgeny Ketov, were on the ice. Early in the action, they were unable to cope with Salavat’s high-powered Finnish trio. Teemu Hartikainen and Sakari Manninen extended their productive streaks to four and seven games respectively when they combined to set up Markus Granlund for the opening goal. Late in the frame, an uncharacteristic defensive error enabled Rodion Amirov to double the home lead.
The second stanza started with Anton Burdasov pulling a goal back for SKA, surprising Daniil Tarasov with an unexpected shot from beyond the goal line. Late in the frame, a long delayed penalty followed by a power play gave SKA almost four minutes with an extra skater. However, the visitor’s control of possession did not result in serious danger to Tarasov’s net.
In the third, the SKA power play delivered at last, and Kemppainen atoned for some of that uncertain defensive play at the start of the game. His one-timer converted a pass from Vladimir Tkachyov and the scores were level.
In overtime, SKA had to cope with a 3-on-5 situation for the final 48 seconds, but managed to hold on for the shoot-out. And that went the visitor’s way, with Linden Vey and Kirill Marchenko on target.
The Motormen slipped to a fifth successive loss as CSKA delivered an impressive performance on the road. The league leader followed its 4-1 win at Sochi with an even more emphatic scoreline in the Urals.
With Avtomobilist in poor recent form, head coach Bill Peters made a few changes. Peter Holland was absent through injury, Stanislav Bocharov was a healthy scratch and goalie Jakub Kovar returned to action after missing the overtime loss at Traktor. CSKA welcomed back defenseman Klas Dahlbeck from suspension but Nikita Soshnikov, whose move from Salavat Yulaev was announced yesterday, has yet to join up with his new colleagues.
The visitor began by killing a penalty but once back at full strength it wasn’t long before the Army Men had the opening goal. Konstantin Okulov’s defense-splitting pass enabled Maxim Shalunov to score from a tight angle. CSKA had to kill two more penalties in the opening frame, but on both occasions Avto enjoyed extended spells of possession without seriously testing Alexander Sharychenkov in the visitor’s net.
Midway through the second period, CSKA extended the lead with a quick double. First Maxim Mamin burst through the challenge of two opponents and beat Kovar, then Pavel Karnaukhov added a third. His goal was initially ruled out for interference on the goalie, but a bench challenge from Igor Nikitin prompted a review of the play and the goal was given.
It was a big blow for the home team and things got worse in the third period when CSKA’s most prolific line had its say. Anton Slepyshev brought the puck away from the boards, skated across the front of the net and scored at the far post. There was some relief for the host when Pavel Datsyuk pulled a goal back midway through the third, but Shalunov finished what he started by scoring the fifth goal.
Two teams battling for a place in the top eight went head-to-head in Podolsk and served up an absorbing encounter that went all the way to a shoot-out before Vityaz took the verdict. As a result, the two teams are locked on 30 points, but Jokerit remains in the all-important eighth place thanks to more wins in regulation this season.
The first period was even and produced no goals. Jokerit recovered well after taking a couple of early penalties, but the goalless scoreline at the break was partly down to a fine poke check by Alex Grant, taking the puck off Zakhar Bardakov’s stick as the Vityaz forward sped towards Janis Kalnins’ net.
In the second period, though, the home side quickly took the lead. Grant was sitting out a double minor for high sticks when Danila Moiseyev found the net. It only took a couple of minutes for Jokerit to respond. Niklas Jensen fashioned some space for himself in the corner and fired the puck to the back door where Jordan Schroeder was on hand to tie the game. But Vityaz restored its lead midway through the frame when Bardakov scored his first KHL goal. The 19-year-old got his first point in the league in the overtime loss against Dinamo Minsk last time out and is showing signs of growing into a good young player.
The home team almost extended its lead towards the end of the second, but Kalnins robbed Justin Danforth with a sprawling glove save. And that lifted the Finns going into the third. Jokerit produced several good chances before tying the game in the 53rd minute when Grant’s shot found the net as Jesse Joensuu screened Ilya Ezhov. A minute later, Vityaz was in front and Joensuu himself was on the scoresheet, getting into position between the hash marks and knocking a Niklas Friman shot beyond the goalie.
But that wasn’t enough to win it. Vityaz finished the game on the power play after Eeli Tolvanen took a double minor and, with Ezhov benched in favor of a sixth skater, Kaspars Daugavins tied the scores and took it to overtime. The extras could not separate the two teams, but in the shoot-out Daugavins secured the win for Vityaz.
Ilya Shipov scored twice to lift Dynamo past Amur. The Blue-and-Whites posted a fifth win in six games thanks to a game-winning performance from a forward more frequently seen in the VHL.
Shipov, 27, scored his last KHL goal more than three years ago, finding the net for Ugra in a 2-5 loss against Barys in October 2017. At the end of that season he returned to his native Dynamo, but only got back into the KHL this season. In 11 appearances for Vladimir Krikunov’s team, he had yet to score — until today. Midway through the game, Shipov opened the scoring when he rifled home a Daniil Tarasov feed from just inside the right-hand circle. Then, seven minutes later, he got the touch on an Oscar Lindberg shot to double Dynamo’s advantage. That was the first time in his career that Shipov scored two in a game at this level.
In the third period, he turned provider, collecting an assist as Lindberg finished off a fine combination to make it 3-0. Almost immediately, Alexander Polunin pulled a goal back for Amur and the visitor came close to a dramatic comeback when Sergei Tereshchenko made it 2-3 with two minutes to play. However, the gap was too great to be bridged and Dynamo held on for the win.
This was a meeting between two teams cut adrift at the foot of the Western Conference. Sochi came into the action on a five-game losing streak. Having changed the coaching staff and put Evgeny Stavrovsky in charge, little has gone right for the Leopards. However, the home team is still ahead of Dinamo Riga. An illness-affected campaign in Latvia put Peteris Skudra’s team at the foot of the entire KHL. In its last 17 games, Dinamo has won just twice — and both came against Kunlun Red Star, the Eastern Conference basement team.
For the first half of the game, Sochi looked well placed to snap its losing streak. Two goals from Malte Stromwall either side of an Igor Rudenkov tally opened a 3-0 lead for the home team. But confidence is fragile on this team, and when Denis Parshin pulled a goal back, nerves began to jangle. A power play goal from Miks Indrasis made it 2-3 before the second intermission and Dinamo was right back in contention.
The third period was a catalogue of Riga offense, but Sochi goalie Maxim Tretyak stood firm against his former club. He made 16 saves in the final frame, while the home offense produced just one attempt at the other end. However, the Leopards’ defense held out to secure a much-needed victory.