Sochi, struggling at the foot of the Western Conference, went a month without a road win following a success at Riga back in November. Today, Evgeny Stavrovsky’s team ended that grim sequence, but had to do it the hard way in Khabarovsk.
The Tigers made the better start to the game and opened a 2-0 lead thanks to two goals from Denis Golubev. That was the first double in his KHL career and it had Amur looking to build on its comfortable win over Spartak on Thursday.
Sochi, though, had other ideas. It took just a couple of minutes for the team’s leading scorer, Sergei Shmelyov, to pull a goal back. That began to change the initiative in the game, with the visitor neutralizing Amur’s efforts and, gradually, asserting its own control on the play. Rewards came in the second period when Nikita Tochitsky tied the scores, firing home after David Rundblad drew two defensemen out of position to create space for his team-mate to attack.
Amur responded by raising its game in the third, and the home team’s dominance seemed poised to deliver a win. But Maxim Tretyak was in fine form, stopping 18 shots in the frame to frustrate the Tigers. And with five minutes left, Pavel Kukshtel picked the perfect time to get his first KHL goal and give the visitor the win.
The KHL’s leading scorers went head-to-head in Ufa. Teemu Hartikainen and Vadim Shipachyov both had 34 points going into Saturday’s showdown, but it was the Dynamo man who moved ahead as Hartikianen and his colleagues were blanked by Alexander Yeryomenko.
There was nothing to choose between the teams in the first period, and neither could find the net despite trading plenty of shooting chances. It wasn’t until midway through the second period that the deadlock was broken, with Dynamo opening the scoring 19 seconds into a power play. Dmitrij Jaskin claimed the goal after an Andrei Sergeyev blast deflected off the Czech forward. Shipachyov claimed an assist on the play.
Falling behind prompted Salavat Yulaev to pick up the tempo and take the game to Dynamo. However, with one-time Ufa goalie Yeryomenko on his way to a 58th KHL shut-out, all that effort counted for little. The Blue-and-Whites absorbed the attacks and extended their lead on the counter in the final frame. Shipachyov sent Jaskin on an odd-man rush with Dmitry Kagarlitsky and the Czech potted his second of the game. Then Yeryomenko added a helper to his day’s work as Ivan Muranov put the game out of reach in the 49th minute. The young forward got his first goal in regular season KHL play, having previously only found the net in the playoffs.
SKA pulled out of its recent skid with an emphatic win at Traktor. The Army Men arrived in Chelyabinsk after two straight losses but scored twice in the first 10 minutes to kickstart a convincing victory.
Anton Burdasov was the key man. His first shift saw him ease through the gears in center ice before combining with Andrei Kuzmenko on the blue line and beating Ivan Fedotov from close range. Traktor had an answer to that, with Tomas Hyka tying the scores on a short-handed goal. But the same penalty saw Burdasov get his second of the game with a one-timer to restore the lead.
A 2-1 lead was hardly a reflection of a first period in which Traktor was limited to just two shots at Magnus Hellberg. However, the second session saw the visitor pull away. Kirill Marchenko extended the lead early in the frame, with Igor Ozhiganov’s assist extending his productive streak to five games. Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi added a fourth before the intermission, ending Fedotov’s evening.
Incoming goalie Roman Will slowed the goal rush but Traktor was unable to find a way back into the game in the third period. Instead, Vladislav Kamenev completed the scoring late on with a shot that looped over Will and dropped into the net.
Damir Zhafyarov extended his productive streak to 10 games with a goal and two assists as Torpedo battled back at Kunlun Red Star. The 26-year-old forward started his team’s recovery from 0-2 and had a hand in four of the five goals, including the game-winner. Over that 10-game streak, Zhafyarov has eight goals and eight assists.
Kunlun could hardly have asked for a better start. Luke Lockhart opened the scoring after 88 seconds and Alexei Toropchenko soon doubled that advantage. Torpedo pulled a goal back through Zhafyarov, but a couple of penalties on the visitor ensured that Red Star finished the first period strongly.
However, it all went wrong for the home team in the second. The Dragons fell into penalty trouble and Chris Wideman fired home to convert a 5-on-3 advantage. The power play continued, and Jeremy Smith had to make a sprawling save to keep the scores level. However, it wasn’t long before Torpedo had the lead. With the teams at full strength, the visitor launched a two-on-one break and Zhafyarov set up Andy Miele to make it 3-2. A minute later it was four, with Georgy Misharin sending Justin Kloos into the Red Star zone. The American forward kept away from three opponents and found a shooting lane to beat Smith.
There was a lifeline for Red Star in the 34th minute when Mark Marin’s foul gave the home team a penalty shot. Hunter Shinkaruk stepped up to convert it in style, and we were back to a one-goal game. And in the third, a late penalty on Danil Veryayev gave the Dragons one last chance. Playing 6-on-4 and throwing everything in search of a tying goal, the home team came up trumps with a minute left. Ethan Werek converted Shinkaruk’s pass and took the game into overtime.
However, on a day when Zhafyarov was the stand-out player, he created a winning goal for Miele to finish with a goal and three assists as Torpedo took the win.