CSKA got an important win against its closest rival in the Tarasov Division, picking up a 3-2 verdict to tighten its grip on top spot in the KHL.
The home side took an early lead thanks to Maxim Sorkin. The young forward got his first KHL goal in the closing seconds of Thursday’s win at Avangard, and quickly added to that here. The teenager battled his way to the slot and skilfully applied a backhand finish to get the league leader off to a flying start.
However, Lokomotiv hit back. The visitor was limited to a handful of opportunities in the first period, but managed to tie the game in the 15th minute. Denis Alexeyev shot early, catching home defense by surprise, and his attempt went through the legs of Mat Robinson as he attempted to make the block. Lars Johansson was too slow to react after seeing the puck late.
CSKA began the second period by reclaiming the lead with its first power play of the game. Maxim Mamin extended his productive streak to four games after displaying some impressive stick-handling at close quarters. The home team might have extended its lead towards the end of the frame when it got a 5-on-3 power play, but Lokomotiv stayed in the game.
At the start of the third, the visitor looked to raise the tempo. However, the Army Men withstood the barrage and added a third goal through Pavel Karnaukhov. The closing stages saw Loko come close to erasing that two-goal advantage. Pavel Kraskovsky made it a one-goal game and in the final two minutes the visitor rang the iron without finding a way past Johansson.
SKA quickly avenged its shoot-out loss at home to Riga, powering to victory in Saturday’s return game in Latvia. Just five days after going down 3-4, the Army Men wasted no time in delivering a firm riposte.
The visitor took control of the game from the off. With one minute, SKA had a power play and Igor Ozhiganov duly converted when he unleashed a powerful shot from Oscar Fantenberg’s feed. Midway through the opening frame, Vladimir Tkachyov made it two when he got the puck in his own zone and sprinted down the right-hand channel before beating Zane McIntyre. The home goalie left the game at that point, but his replacement Ilya Proskuryakov was also retrieving the puck from his net 20 seconds before the intermission after Yakov Trenin added a third.
Early in the second, Andrei Kuzmenko added a fourth as SKA converted its second power play of the night and took the game away from the home team. Subsequently, Dinamo enjoyed far more of the play — in the third period, the visitor was limited to a single shot on goal — but never seriously threatened a fightback. Martins Dzierkals scored a consolation marker midway through the third, but the Army Men were always in control here.