Lokomotiv left it late before serving up a Christmas Day treat for its fans. After falling behind 1-3, the Railwaymen battled back into the game and won it convincingly thanks to a flurry of goals in the third period.
In the first period, the biggest difference between the teams was visiting goalie Maxim Tretyak. He made 17 stops as Lokomotiv dictated the play, only to fall behind to Vladislav Valentsov’s seventh-minute opener. For the 24-year-old defenseman, recently called up from the VHL, that was a first KHL goal.
Loko tied it up early in the second through Artur Kayumov and most observers assumed the home team would progress to victory with no further problems. When Maxim Osipov hit the post soon after, that underlined the feeling that the Railwaymen were on top. However, by the 25-minute mark, Sochi was up 3-1 after goals from Kirill Petkov and Ivan Volodin. That meant the end of Ilya Konovalov’s evening in the home net and brought Eddie Pasquale to the crease.
It also kickstarted the fightback. Two goals in a minute brought Loko level as Vladimir Tkachyov created a scoring chance for Andre Petersson before Pavel Kraskovsky smashed home a Kayumov feed. But Sochi was now far more competitive, and Pasquale had to be alert to stone two solo rushes and take the teams into the break with the scores tied.
Three goals in five minutes ultimately settled the outcome here. Denis Barantsev put the host in front for the first time in the game after 46 minutes. The defenseman marked his 400th KHL appearance with his first goal since joining Lokomotiv from Torpedo in the summer. The 28-year-old missed almost two months through injury.
Artyom Ilyenko then finished the job, extending the lead with an unassisted effort before turning provider for Denis Alexeyev as Tretyak was chased from his net. Visiting D-man Oleg Pogorishny rang the iron late in the game, but there was no way back for Sochi.