Barys came out on top in Saturday’s only KHL game, edging past Kunlun Red Star in overtime. That makes it three wins from three for the Kazakhs against this opponent, but each time the game has been decided by a solitary goal.
Red Star is on an improved run of form, moving away from Neftekhimik at the foot of the table. Today’s game was the sixth in a row where the Dragons took at least a point; the next step for Alexei Kovalev’s team is surely to convert more of its narrow losses into wins after going down in overtime in four of the last six games. Forward Hunter Shinkaruk has been key to the team’s improvement and today he opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season, sweeping the puck into the net after Sean Collins and Casey Wellman caused panic on the slot, leading to a hasty clearance that dropped perfectly for the Canadian score.
Subsequently, though, Barys had the better of things. The second period saw the home PK tested and only a fine glove save from Jeremy Smith, going full stretch to rob Phil Varone, kept Red Star in front at the second intermission. The third frame followed a similar pattern, but Smith was powerless when young defenseman Samat Daniyar tied the game with his first ever KHL goal.
There was no further scoring in regulation, but Barys needed little time to find an overtime winner. Darren Dietz, back from injury, exchanged passes with Nikita Mikhailis before shooting home from between the hash marks to open a three-point gap over ninth-placed Sibir.