Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Dinamo Riga recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season thanks to a Roberts Bukarts-inspired success at home to Dynamo Moscow. Metallurg rallied from 1-3 down in the third period to win at home to Spartak yet again and Barys got a shoot-out verdict at Amur.

Shoot-out success for Barys

Amur Khabarovsk 4 Barys Nur-Sultan 5 SO (2-1, 1-2, 1-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Barys moved seven points clear of ninth-placed Sibir after twice coming from behind to win in Khabarovsk. For Amur, meanwhile, this was a fifth successive loss in a game it had chances to take.

The first period produced 51 penalty minutes. Darren Dietz was the first to get into trouble, taking 2+10 for a high hit. Later, Anton Sagadeyev was sent to the locker room after getting 5+20 for a similar offense, then Dillon Heatherington and Dominik Masin were given majors for their fight. In the between the conflict, we saw three goals. Barys went in front in the 13th minute when Matt Frattin extended his productive streak to six games, but Amur responded quickly through Alexander Polunin and went ahead on a power play goal from Dmitry Lugin.

The second period action began with a goal from defenseman Michal Jordan — but it was anything but a typical blue liner effort. Jordan got the puck near the center point but instead of launching a slap shot he set off to stick handle his way to the net and beat Henrik Karlsson. Down by two, Barys replied with a pair of goals in the space of two minutes as Pavel Akolzin and Roman Starchenko tied the scores.

In the third, the teams traded goals midway through the frame. Sergei Tereshchenko’s power play goal put Amur back in front but it took just 45 seconds for Nikita Mikhailis to tie it up once more. In the shoot-out, Starchenko decided the outcome, converting two attempts to give Barys the verdict.

Spartak blows lead in Magnitogorsk

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4 Spartak Moscow 3 (0-1, 1-1, 3-1)

Magnitogorsk is not a happy hunting ground for Spartak. The Red-and-Whites have to look all the way back to 1993 to find their last win at Metallurg in a competitive game. Today they came closer than ever to snapping that unwelcome streak, only to blow a 3-1 lead in the third period and suffer yet another loss.

Photo: 04.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) - Spartak (Moscow)

And yet it all started so well for Oleg Znarok’s team. Robin Hanzl opened the scoring when he converted the first power play of the game, then Emil Djuse doubled the lead at the start of the second when Metallurg infringed once again. Andrej Nestrasil pulled one back before the break, but Hanzl’s second of the game made it 3-1 early in the third and seemingly had Spartak in control of proceedings.

Three minutes later, the fightback started in earnest. Nikolai Kulemin pulled one back, redirecting Artyom Zemchyonok’s effort past Julius Hudacek. Next came Sergei Plotnikov, riding his luck as the puck bounced into the net off his skate. With 11 minutes left, both teams pushed for a winner. Taylor Beck rang the iron, Hanzl went close to a hat-trick and Djuse also tested Juho Olkinuora, sent into the home net in place of Vasily Koshechkin.

When overtime seemed inevitable, though, Magnitka completed its recovery. Nikolai Prokhorkin lost his stick but the one he grabbed from the bench turned out to be a lucky charm. Prokhorkin rejoined the attack, collected a pass and fired a wrist shot that slipped through Hudacek’s pads to win the game.

Riga edges Moscow in clash of the namesakes

Dinamo Riga 5 Dynamo Moscow 4 (1-2, 2-0, 2-2)

Dinamo Riga began 2021 in the same manner as it ended 2020, celebrating a high scoring victory. The KHL’s basement team secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season with Roberts Bukarts leading the way with two goals and an assist.

Photo: 04.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Dinamo (Riga) - Dynamo (Moscow)

The Muscovites moved into a 2-0 lead in the first period. Dmitrij Jaskin opened the scoring on 14 minutes, finding the net from close range after Dmitry Kagarlitsky’s neat pass through his own legs. Then Oleg Zaitsev doubled the advantage when he tucked the puck into a wideopen net as home goalie Janis Voris went the wrong way after Andrei Mironov’s shot crashed back off the boards.

However, Riga retaliated. Martins Dzierkals was quick to reduce the deficit before the intermission and midway through the second period Roberts Bukarts went on a slaloming run to the net to tie the scores. Bukarts was involved again as Dinamo took the lead in the 35th minute with a move that swept from one end of the ice to the other. Roberts Mamcics played a long pass to Evgeny Grachyov who, in turn, found Bukarts. He fed JC Lipon for the snipe and Riga was heading towards a second successive victory over opposition from Moscow.

The visitor responded by replacing starting goalie Emil Garipov with in-form veteran Alexander Yeryomenko. And, early in the third, the visitor tied it up once again. Andrei Sergeyev’s point shot found the net as Semyon Pankratov screened Voris. However, Riga responded with two goals in a minute to take complete control of the game. First, Dzierkals overpowered Juuso Hietanen in the corner and set up Rihards Bukarts to make it 4-3, then a speculative shot from his brother Roberts deceived Yeryomenko and took the game away from Dynamo.

The Russians battled to the end: another Sergeyev shot was touched past Voris by Ilya Shipov to make it 5-4 but Riga held on to take the win.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Amur (Khabarovsk) Amur (Khabarovsk)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
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