Andy Potts Andy Potts
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There were three KHL games on Wednesday and league leader Ak Bars was top of the bill, edging a 2-1 verdict at home to Dynamo Moscow to record a ninth successive win. Earlier, Amur and Spartak emphatically snapped losing streaks. The Tigers won 5-1 at home to Barys, while the Red-and-Whites triumphed 6-2 at Traktor.

Zohorna brothers lead the way for Amur

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

Amur snapped a five-game losing streak as it defeated Barys for the first time this season. The Tigers quickly avenged Monday’s shoot-out loss with a convincing victory, with Hynek Zohorna leading the way.

Barys had to reshuffle on defense due to Dillon Heatherington’s suspension, while Amur brought Marek Langhamer back as the starting goalie and paired Czech D-men Dominik Masin and Michal Jordan amid a number of changes on the home line-up.

But it was the host’s Czech forwards who made the difference. Tomas Zohorna had a hand in the opening goal, scored by Kirill Rasskazov midway through the first period. Then his brother Hynek scored twice, either side of the intermission, to extend the lead. Hynek’s first was a short-handed effort, the second was assisted by Tomas.

Amur converted its first power play of the game, with Alexander Gorshkov making it 4-0. Darren Dietz pulled one back at the start of the third period, but the game was gone and Vladimir Butuzov had the final word for the home team.

Spartak snaps losing streak

Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 Spartak Moscow 6 (0-1, 1-4, 1-1)

Spartak snapped a three-game skid in fine style, shooting six past Traktor in a game decided in the second period. For Traktor, inactive since Dec. 28, this was an unhappy start to the new year.

Photo: 06.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Traktor (Chelyabinsk) - Spartak (Moscow)

Both teams welcomed back their captains, with Anatoly Nikontsev returning to Spartak’s second line while Sergei Kalinin started the game for Traktor. The two forwards both missed a couple of weeks through injury. Traktor also handed a debut to recent signing Maxim Mayorov, who lined up against his former team-mates.

The first period was cautious, with only a power play goal for the visitor to show for the teams’ efforts. But the second began with a bang. Lukas Sedlak cancelled out Artyom Fyodorov’s opener, only for Martin Bakos to restore Spartak’s lead 10 seconds later. Emil Djuse quickly added a third, and the Red-and-Whites had some breathing space. It got better for Oleg Znarok’s team: Robin Hanzl scored with a penalty shot and Sergei Shirokov added a power play tally just before the hooter to build a commanding 5-1 lead.

Traktor had little hope of clawing back that kind of deficit, despite Sedlak’s second of the game midway through the final frame. This was very much Spartak’s day and a last-minute Ilya Zubov goal underlined the point.

Ak Bars posts ninth straight win

Ak Bars Kazan 2 Dynamo Moscow 1 (0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

There’s something ominous about the kind of form that keeps Ak Bars rolling on at the top of the KHL standings. Dmitry Kvartalnov’s team posted a ninth successive victory today and, in truth, has barely been tested on that run. The visit of a Dynamo team looking to break into the top three in the West brought the rare experience of the host falling behind, but the Muscovites could not halt that winning streak.

Photo: 06.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Ak Bars (Kazan) - Dynamo (Moscow)

Dynamo did at least put up a fight. In the first period, the visitor was on top and outshot Ak Bars 11-4. However, up until the 15th minute chances were scarce at either end and it took two home penalties in quick succession to hand the initiative to Blue-and-Whites. The session ended with plenty of work for Adam Reideborn, but no goals.

Early in the second, Ivan Igumnov broke the deadlock. Dynamo locked Ak Bars into its zone and Andrei Mironov’s pass to the right-hand channel set up Igumnov for a shot between the goalie’s pads. The lead was short-lived, though, and when Yegor Alanov’s foul gave the home team its first power play of the day, Stephane Da Costa swiftly tied the game. Subsequently, Ak Bars had the better of an evenly contested encounter.

At the start of the third, Dynamo got another power play chance but was unable to capitalize on Mikael Wikstrand’s trip to the box. And when the Swedish defenseman returned to the game, the home team quickly moved in front. Stanislav Galiyev got the game-winner, converting a Danis Zaripov feed with a neat backhand finish.

In this situation, few teams can match Ak Bars for game management, and it was little surprise that the home team looked to contain Dynamo, play out time and protect its 2-1 advantage. The plan worked perfectly: Dynamo struggled to get good looks at Reideborn, the best chance fell to Dmitrij Jaskin on a power play, but went begging.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Amur (Khabarovsk) Amur (Khabarovsk)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
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