Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Vadim Shipachyov had a hat-trick of assists in Dynamo’s crushing victory over Avtomobilist — and became only the second man to compile 700 points in the KHL. There were also high-scoring performances from Amur (6-2 vs Spartak) and Ak Bars (6-1 at Neftekhimik). The biggest surprise of the day saw league leader CSKA defeated 2-4 at home to Dinamo Minsk. Dinamo Riga rallied from 0-3 down against Traktor, but lost out 3-4 in Latvia, Metallurg won at home to SKA and Torpedo held off a fightback from Vityaz.

Amur crushes Spartak

Amur Khabarovsk 6 Spartak Moscow 2 (1-1, 2-0, 3-1)

Michal Jordan returned to the ice for the first time since Oct. 30 — and the Czech defenseman celebrated with a goal in a thumping win for Amur over Spartak.

Both teams came into the game on the back of two losses and in the early stages it seemed there was little to choose between them. Alexander Polunin put Amur in front, but Anatoly Nikontsev soon cancelled out that advantage.

In the second period, though, Amur took a grip on proceedings. Jordan restored the home lead at the midway stage, concluding a good spell of pressure by the home team. Late in the frame, Vladislav Ushenin scored a power play goal. That was the forward’s first marker of the current season, coming in his 28th game.

Spartak needed a goal early in the third to get back into the game, but once Amur killed a penalty on Jordan, the host extended its advantage. Admittedly, there was an element of fortune about Dmitry Arkhipov’s goal as he capitalized on a fortunate bounce off the piping and batted the puck into Alexander Trushkov’s net. Nikontsev’s second of the game gave Spartak an outside chance with eight minutes left, but Amur would not be denied. Hynek Zohorna and Vladimir Butuzov added a couple of late markers to complete the rout.

Ex-recruits shoot down SKA

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 SKA St. Petersburg 1 (0-0, 0-1, 2-0)

Historically, SKA has been a thorn in Metallurg’s side. The Petersburg team’s last four visits to Magnitogorsk have ended in road wins and today the visitor arrived with a point to prove after its four-game streak was abruptly halted by a shoot-out loss against Jokerit. Magnitka, though, arrived with a three-game winning run to defend — and several former SKA players out to undermine their former club.

Apart from head coach Ilya Vorobyov, who sandwiched a stint at SKA between his two shifts with Magnitka, Thursday’s line-up included Sergei Plotnikov, Maxim Karpov, Nikolai Prokhorkin, Yegor Yakovlev and Artyom Zemchyonok, all of whom had previously represented the Army Men. Several of those names were involved in the goals that ultimately won this one for the host, but before that Magnitka needed to come from behind.

In an evenly-poised encounter, we had a long wait for the opening goal. Eventually, though, SKA took the lead in the 39th minute through Igor Ozhiganov. The play started with Vladimir Tkachyov chasing the puck down in the corner and sending a feed to the back door. Metallurg’s Harri Pesonen was caught out of position, and did not see Ozhiganov behind him, waiting to rifle home a one-timer.

In the third period, Anton Burdasov had a good chance to extend SKA’s lead, but was closed down by Juho Olkinuora. Then the Finnish goalie collected an assist as the home team tied the scores on a power play. He gave the puck to Yakovlev, whose long pass released Plotnikov into the SKA zone. The Army Men’s former captain fired over Alexander Samonov’s glove to tie the scores.

The game winner came with barely a minute to play and, once again, there was a strong helping of ex-SKA involvement. A prolonged siege of the Petersburg net ended when Zemchyonok fired home through traffic. Plotnikov was among the assists, as was Andrei Chibisov, whose current streak is now worth 9 (6+3) points from four games. SKA was undone — and its former comrades did much of the damage.

700 points for Shipachyov

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 Dynamo Moscow 7 (0-3, 0-1, 2-3)

Vadim Shipachyov scored his 700th KHL point after collecting a hat-trick of assists as Dynamo heaped up the misery for Bill Peters’ Avtomobilist. The home team slumped to a seventh successive loss as the visitor put on a clinical display in the Urals.

The frustrations for the Motormen were apparent as soon as the line-ups were announced, with Pavel Datsyuk, the team’s talisman, demoted to the third line. Brooks Macek stepped up to the strike force in place of the Magic Man. However, it was Dynamo that conjured the goals in the first period, jumping to a 3-0 lead inside six minutes. Shipachyov had two helpers on the first two goals, with Juuso Hietanen and Dmitry Kagarlitsky on target. Oscar Lindberg scored the first of his two goals on 5:56 to leave Avtomobilist reeling.

Vladimir Galkin came off the bench to replace Jakub Kovar and the immediate crisis eased. However, Alexander Yeryomenko was impressive in the Dynamo net and the visiting defense worked hard to protect him. The first period alone saw Blue-and-White jerseys block 12 shots; although Avto had more time on offense and more shots on goal, the visitor proved that quality meant more than quantity when it came to putting the puck in the net. Thus, the second period brought another unanswered Dynamo goal, Lindberg assisted by Magnus Paajarvi Svensson’s first point for the club.

At the start of the third, the home team solved Yeryomenko at last. Macek scored twice to bring the contest back to life with 10 minutes left. But Dynamo was unruffled and continued to pick off its chances as they came. Lindberg turned provider as Daniil Tarasov made it five, Kagarlitsky set up Dmitrij Jaskin for the sixth and Shipachyov got his landmark point as Kagarlitsky completed the scoring on the power play.

Shipachyov becomes only the second player in KHL history to compile 700 points, behind runaway scoring leader Sergei Mozyakin. He currently has 225 goals and 475 assists from 732 games for Dynamo, SKA and Severstal.

Sibir edges Sochi in overtime

Sibir Novosibirsk 2 HC Sochi 1 OT (0-0, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0)

Sochi’s problems continue after an overtime loss at Sibir. The home team, meanwhile, continues to pick up useful results as it looks to keep some distance between itself and ninth-placed Barys. This was a sixth win in seven games for Nikolai Zavarukhin’s men.

They had to work for it, though. After a goalless opening frame, Sochi took the lead at the start of the second through leading scorer Sergei Shmelyov’s power play tally. However, the advantage was quickly cancelled out when Juuso Puustinen tied the scores four minutes later.

In a game of few chances Alexander Sharov had a great one to win it for Sibir late in the second period when Puustinen presented him with a good look at the open half of Maxim Tretyak’s net. But there would be now more scoring until overtime. Into the extras, though, Sibir needed less than two minutes to win it. Yefim Gurkin popped up with the decider on 61:29.

Traktor’s fast start leaves Riga with too much to do

Dinamo Riga 3 Traktor Chelyabinsk 4 (0-3, 1-1, 2-0)

A first-period flop sent Riga spinning to a fourth straight loss as Traktor showed signs of getting past its recent sticky run. But the home team fought back bravely to make this a close finish — and remind Anvar Gatiyatulin’s team that one good result does not bring an indifferent spell to an end.

Traktor, with just one win in its last four games, tore into this one. Lukas Sedlak opened the scoring in the first minute and the home team was twice punished by Traktor’s power play before the first period was done. Vitaly Kravtsov doubled the visitor’s lead in the sixth minute and Pontus Aberg added a fourth late in the session. Tomas Hyka and Nick Bailen both picked up a pair of assists.

After a poor first period, Dinamo made changes. Ilya Proskuryakov took over from Zane McIntyre in goal, and the team raised its game to make the second period a more competitive affair. Denis Parshin got Riga on the board, but Alexei Byvaltsev made it 4-1 close to the second intermission.

Byvaltsev’s goal proved to be decisive as Riga roared back in the final stanza. A Miks Indrasis power play goal moments after the restart placed the initiative firmly with the Latvians. Then Roberts Mamcics scored with three-and-a-half minutes to play and the game was wide open. Traktor dug deep and held on, though, and secured a much-needed win.

Dawes leads the way in demolition derby

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 Ak Bars Kazan 6 (1-2, 0-1, 0-3)

Nigel Dawes took his tally to six goals in four games with a pair in this convincing win for Ak Bars. The three previous meetings between these Tatarstan rivals this season had been close — each one ending 3-2 — but today the Eastern Conference leader was a class apart.

Photo: 03.12.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) - Ak Bars (Kazan)

The visitor’s dominance was clear in the first period, but after Patrice Cormier opened the scoring midway through the session, Kirill Vorobyov surprised everyone by tying the game. However, his next contribution was less helpful: after a fight with Mikhail Glukhov he left Neftekhimik shorthanded and Dawes cashed in with his first of the night.

After the intermission, Dawes scored again on the power play and his team continued to have the better of proceedings. Midway through the third, a quickfire pair from Glukhov and Stanislav Galiyev put the outcome beyond doubt. Glukhov got his second of the game in the final second to complete a comfortable victory.

Torpedo holds on to beat Vityaz

Vityaz Moscow Region 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 (0-2, 1-1, 1-0)

Vityaz missed the chance to move into the top eight in the West after a slow start cost it the game against Torpedo. The visitor, engaged in a similar playoff battle in the East, held on to take a 3-2 verdict in the face of a home comeback.

Torpedo went into the first intermission with a two-goal lead, helped by a bench challenge after Vityaz thought it had the lead midway through the frame. Two goals in a minute from Mark Marin and Andy Miele gave the visitor a solid advantage. Damir Zhafyarov’s assist on Miele’s marker takes his productive streak to nine games.

Young Ivan Chekhovich is another player in form for Torpedo right now and his power play goal in the second period took him to 12 (5+7) points in 15 games. That’s a good return for a 21-year-old KHL rookie, and today’s tally proved especially important. Vityaz pulled one back right on the hooter in the second period when Matias Tedenby scored, then Fyodor Malykhin made it a one-goal game with five to play. But Torpedo held on to take the verdict and leave Vityaz in ninth place in the West.

Dinamo stuns the league leader

CSKA Moscow 2 Dinamo Minsk 4 (0-1, 1-2, 1-1)

Dinamo Minsk’s impressive season just got that little bit better thanks to an impressive win over CSKA. The league leader, lackluster in its previous outing against Kunlun Red Star, found itself trailing on home ice once again. This time, though, it lacked the power to salvage the game and fell to only its sixth defeat in regulation.

Photo: 03.12.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. CSKA (Moscow) - Dinamo (Minsk)

Dinamo got an early jump on its opponent with Kirill Voronin opening the scoring in the third minute. Normally, that might prompt a surge of offense from CSKA but tonight an out-of-sorts Army roster managed just three shots at Dominik Furch in the first period.

The game-breaking passage of play arrived midway through the second period. CSKA looked far more potent in the middle frame, but allowed two quick goals from Shane Prince and Stepan Falkovsky — the latter potting his first in the KHL — to give Dinamo a commanding lead. However, when Artyom Blazhiyevsky pulled one back nine seconds before the break, home hopes were revived.

Things got better for CSKA early in the third when Maxim Shalunov made it 2-3. Minsk had to dig deep, and killed two penalties as the game went on, but held on to the lead. And an empty net goal from Brandon Kozun secured a memorable win for the Bison.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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