Barys managed that rare thing — scoring power play goals on Avangard. The Hawks came into Wednesday’s game with a powerful PK, allowing just 11 goals when shorthanded at a success rate of 91.4%. But that league-leading stat took a dent as Barys scored twice with a man advantage.
The first came early in the game. Nail Yakupov got an interference call in the first minute and, 30 seconds later, Roman Starchenko got on the end of a Nikita Mikhailis feed to the back door and put Barys in front.
However, the Avangard power play responded in kind when it got its first opportunity to strut its stuff. The visitor set up camp in Barys territory and when Alexei Bereglazov’s point shot was parried by Joni Ortio, Kirill Semyonov was first to react. That makes it two goals in two games for the Avangard forward, after a month-long silence.
Given that Avangard potted four power play goals in Monday’s victory over Kunlun Red Star, it was no surprise to see the host’s special teams deliver once again here. In the second period the home PP got another chance when Starchenko clattered Ville Pokka — Hawks’ head coach Bob Hartley suggested the Finn might have a concussion. This time, though, Barys closed the door before going to the other end and showing how it should be done. The visitor profited from Ilya Kablukov’s indiscretion, penning Avangard into its own zone before Jakob Lilja converted a Phil Varone feed to the back door.
Varone then got a goal of his own in the closing stages to seal the win. His drop pass set up a shooting chance for Matt Frattin and, when the puck cannoned back off the boards, Varone’s attempt to get it to the crease bore fruit when Kirill Gotovets got in a tangle and steered it into his own net.
Those power play goals helped Barys to secure a fourth straight win, and a eighth victory in nine games as the Kazakhs tighten their grip on a playoff place. Yury Mikhailis’ team remains in eighth place but moves five points clear of Sibir in ninth.
Day two of Spartak’s 80s retro festival brought a visit from Vityaz, with a place in the top eight at stake. Victory for the visitor would lift it into a playoff place, level on points with the Red-and-Whites. A home win would give Spartak a third success against its Moscow Region rival and open a handy gap to the chasing pack.
Vityaz struck first, taking just 18 second to get the opening goal of the game. Jakub Jerabek was the scorer as the first meaningful play resulted in a score. However, Spartak hit back late in the frame. First, Nikita Pivtsakin stripped an opponent of the puck in center ice and skated through to score a short-handed goal. Then Pavel Medvedev put the home team ahead. Following his call-up from Khimik in the VHL, Medvedev got his first KHL goal since September 2016, when he was playing for Ugra. And just 45 seconds later, Sergei Shirokov made it 3-1, his third goal in four games.
For Anton Todykov, who made a career best 52 saves in Monday’s win over Jokerit, that was the end of the evening. He did not return for the second period as Vityaz looked for a way to save the game.
However, it was Spartak who forged further ahead in the second period. Goals from Mikhail Kotlyarevsky (his second of the season) and Robin Hanzl (assisted by Shirokov) strengthened the home team’s position despite a reply from Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov in between the two.
Midway through the third period, Daniil Pylenkov pulled a goal back for Vityaz. However, there was no reprieve for the visitor as Spartak posted its fourth win in six games.
Torpedo continues to alternate wins and losses in its quest for an Eastern Conference playoff place. Today, though, was a winning day for David Nemirovsky’s team, helping it to move clear of Sibir and maintain its two-point advantage over Barys as the race for post-season intensifies.
A strong start to the game made all the difference here. Ivan Chekhovich opened the scoring in the third minute, Anton Shenfeld increased the lead midway through the first period and Kirill Urakov made it 3-0. Torpedo’s serene progress was abruptly halted after 18 minutes, though, when Danil Veryayev was removed from the game following a high hit. Vasily Glotov, a scorer in Monday’s thrilling win at Dinamo Riga, pulled one back on the subsequent power play.
In the second period, the home team successfully killed the remainder of Veryayev’s major penalty and restored a three-goal cushion when Urakov potted his second of the night. That was the end of the scoring as Torpedo boosted its playoff push while Sochi remains second from bottom in the Western Conference.