Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Tuesday’s big game saw Avangard pile on the problems for Avtomobilist as Bill Peters suffered a ninth consecutive loss. KHL leader CSKA avenged its defeat against Torpedo earlier in the season, edging a tight game in Nizhny Novgorod. Elsewhere, there were last-minute winners for Lokomotiv at Amur and Vityaz at Sibir.

Amur’s fightback falls short

Amur Khabarovsk 3 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 (0-2, 2-1, 1-1)

Lokomotiv picked up the win on its visit to the Far East — but needed a last-minute goal from Vladimir Tkachyov to secure the spoils. The visitor blew a 3-0 lead before clinching victory with 45 seconds to play. Tkachyov reacted fastest after a Rushan Rafikov shot and put the puck beyond Evgeny Alikin to deny the home team a shot at overtime.

Earlier in the game, Loko seemed to be completely in control of the game. In the first period, the Railwaymen had more possession and more shots. That advantage was converted into goals late in the play, with Pavel Kraskovsky’s one-timer opening the scoring on the first power play of the game. A couple of minutes later, Pavel Kudryavtsev got a solo effort: he kept the puck in the zone, fired in a shot then got to the rebound to score.

Straight after the restart, Yegor Korshkov made it 3-0 with a breakaway goal — but then the Tigers woke up. Hynek Zohorna’s solo rush saw him get away from two opponents before he shot was blocked onto the stick of Nikita Kamalov to make it 1-3. Amur continued to have the better of the game and a string of penalties on Loko at the end of the middle frame gave the home team an extended 5-on-3 advantage. The visitor held on until a fourth skater could return to the ice, but Sergei Tereshchenko converted the 5-on-4 power play.

Lokomotiv then spurned a couple of PP chances of its own at the start of the third and that looked like it might be costly when Amur tied it up late in the game. Zohorna added to his earlier assist with the tying goal as the Tigers went 6-on-4 in the closing stages and got their reward. However, a penalty on Dominik Masin gave Lokomotiv one last chance, and Tkachyov got the winning in regulation.

Grebenshchikov wins it with 8 seconds left

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (0-1, 1-0, 0-1)

Vityaz left it even later than Lokomotiv to get its winning goal in this battle of two playoff chasing teams. Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov snatched victory for the visitor on 59:52, snapping a 1-1 tie and giving his team a first win in three games.

Sibir was the more adventurous team in the first period but paid the price for ill-discipline. Two quick penalties midway through the frame enabled Kaspars Daugavins to open the scoring on a 5-on-3 power play. And it took a big save from Harri Sateri to snuff out Ivan Larichev’s solo break just before the intermission.

The middle frame was littered with penalties and it was no surprise that the only goal of the session came on the power play. It went to Sibir, with Juuso Puustinen tying the game in the 34th minute. For a long time, it looked like that would be the end of the scoring as the third period proved hard-fought but short on clear chances. However, in the last seconds, Vityaz made one final push. Grebenshchikov got away from Oleg Li and fired past Sateri to grab the win.

Avto frustrated at Avangard

Avangard Omsk 3 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 1 (1-1, 2-0, 0-0)

Avangard added to Avtomobilist’s problems, inflicting a ninth successive defeat on the Motormen. The home win gives Bob Hartley’s team a six-point advantage over Salavat Yulaev at the top of the Chernyshev Division, while Bill Peters is in danger of losing contact with the leaders despite a bright start to the campaign.

Photo: 08.12.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Avangard (Omsk) - Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg)

Avangard got in front midway through the first period. Ville Pokka’s point shot thundered back off the boards and Nikita Komarov was waiting in the slot to force home the opening goal. Soon after, though, a penalty on Klim Kostin handed Avtomobilist the first power play of the game. Avangard defended it well and returned to full strength, but before the Hawks could clear their lines, the visitor scored. Georgy Belousov found a great pass from behind the net and Alexei Vasilevsky converted the chance.

That took the teams to the intermission at 1-1, a source of frustration for Avtomobilist after its bright start went unrewarded. The Motormen belied their recent poor form by outshooting their host 15-6 and enjoying far more time on the attack. In the second period, that lack of scoring would be punished.

Things started badly for the visitor when forward Stepan Khripunov had to be stretchered from the ice after colliding with the boards. Moments later, Damir Sharipzyanov put Avangard 2-1 in front, firing home Sergei Tolchinsky’s sweeping cross-ice pass. Avtomobilist’s problems intensified late in the frame when Denis Zernov shot the puck to the slot from behind the net and Korbinian Holzer deflected it home as he grappled with Alexander Yaremchuk. For Bill Peters and his team, it was a reminder that fortune rarely favors a struggling team.

The third period provided more evidence to support that thesis. Avtomobilist laid siege to the Avangard net but could not find a way past Igor Bobkov. Not even a power play midway through the frame could stretch the Hawks and Anatoly Golyshev’s chance in the final seconds summed up his team’s day: the forward beat Bobkov with his shot, only to see the puck go behind the goalie and across the face of the net to safety.

Revenge win for CSKA

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 CSKA Moscow 2 (0-0, 0-1, 1-1)

Torpedo enjoyed one of its best results of the season when it won in overtime at CSKA in October. Today, though, the Army Men avenged that loss despite Damir Zhafyarov continuing his productive streak with an assist on the home team’s goal.

Photo: 08.12.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) - CSKA (Moscow)

The first period was played at a high tempo but produced no goals. However, after the intermission CSKA came out and sought to take control of the action. The opening moments brought a flurry of action around Andrei Tikhomirov’s net and in the 23rd minute the visitor took the lead. Club captain Sergei Andronov, playing his 550th KHL game, was the scorer: he slid a Maxim Mamin feed through the goalie’s pads, much to the disgust of the home netminder.

The Army Men continued to press in search of a second goal. Mamin, in particular, was at the heart of the visitor’s game and by the midway point, the shot count for the second period was an emphatic 9-0 in CSKA’s favor. However, there were no more goals — although Mamin did hit the post at one point — and Torpedo produced a couple of dangerous moments on the counter as the game went on.

In the third period, CSKA had the puck in the net once again when Konstantin Okulov got onto a defense-splitting pass and beat Tikhomirov. However, the home bench challenged the play and the video review backed that complaint, confirming that Okulov was offside when he crossed the blue line. Almost immediately, play switched to the other end and Ivan Chekhovich tied the scores for Torpedo. Zhafyarov’s helper extended his productive streak to 11 games.

Home hopes of stealing a late winner took a big knock when Okulov scored a legitimate goal three minutes later. He beat Tikhomirov with a wrister from the right-hand dot, with his team-mate ducking out of the way of the goalbound shot at the last moment and giving the goalie no chance.

Tikhomirov was soon heading off the ice as Torpedo launched a final assault in search of a tying goal. However, there was no way through and a game that had simmered away at times exploded into a fight in the last seconds when Jordan Szwarz tangled with CSKA’s Andrei Svetlakov as the hooter sounded.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Amur (Khabarovsk) Amur (Khabarovsk)
Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)
Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) Sibir (Novosibirsk Region)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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