Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Finnish defenseman Oliwer Kaski made it six points in three games this year to help Avangard to a 4-3 win over Severstal. Lokomotiv enjoyed a 4-1 victory at home to SKA, moving level on points with the Army Men. Sergei Mozyakin celebrated his return to action with a goal in Metallurg’s 3-2 win at Torpedo. The biggest winners of the day were both on the road. Dinamo Minsk beat Riga 6-2 with Shane Prince potting his 20th goal of the season, while Sibir won 6-1 at Kunlun Red Star.

Sibir crushes sorry Kunlun

Kunlun Red Star 1 Sibir Novosibirsk 6 (0-1, 1-1, 0-4)

Sibir powered to a crushing victory over Red Star with a dominant third-period performance in Mytishchi.

Much of the early part of the game was evenly matched. Kunlun had the better chances in the first period, with only the post denying Vojtech Mozik an opening goal. However, the visitor got ahead in the last minute when Andrei Yermakov’s point shot found the net.

Red Star tied it up in the second with a fine goal from Spencer Foo, all pace and power as he burned past an opponent and beat Harri Sateri. But within a minute Sibir was back in front thanks to Vladislav Ushenin. That lead quickly increased in the third. Danil Romantsev made it 3-1 then, after a long look at an offside claim from the home bench, Dmitry Sayustov was credited with a fourth. A defensive lapse presented Juuso Puustinen with number five and Viktor Komarov completed the rout late on.

Loko keeps on winning

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 SKA St. Petersburg 1 (0-0, 1-0, 3-1)

The Railwaymen continued their bright start to 2021, defeating SKA to make it three wins from three this year. Loko also avenged September’s 2-4 loss in Petersburg and drew level on points with its opponent. Both teams are now four behind conference leader CSKA.

Photo: 07.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) - SKA (St.Petersburg)

The visitor arrived on a two-game losing streak and began the game at a fast tempo as it looked to snap that sequence. But Loko withstood the early pressure and gradually asserted itself at the other end in a goalless opening frame.

The middle stanza saw Lokomotiv continue to have the better of the action, and eventually the pressure took its toll on SKA’s defense. In the 38th minute, goalie Eddie Pasquale’s long pass found Denis Alexeyev on the Army Men’s blue line. He went deep into enemy territory before setting up Pavel Kraskovsky on the slot for the opening goal. Pasquale collected his third assist of the season.

Early in the third, Georgy Ivanov doubled the lead when he converted an Anton Lander feed to claim a power play goal and moments later Mikhail Belyayev dinged one off the bar. However, SKA steadied and got back in the game midway through the final period when Miro Aaltonen deflected an Oscar Fantenberg shot into the home net. Hopes of a fightback were hampered when Andre Petersson burst through on goal. Yaroslav Dyblenko halted his rush, but only at the expense of a penalty shot which the Swede duly converted. Maxim Osipov completed the scoring late in the game.

Kaski keeps up his happy new year

Avangard Omsk 4 Severstal Cherepovets 3 (1-2, 3-0, 0-1)

Avangard’s Finnish defenseman Oliwer Kaski is beginning the New Year in fine form. The 25-year-old collected an assist and a game-winning goal today to move to 6 (4+2) points in three games so far in 2021. It’s his best run of form since he arrived in Russia after a season in the AHL, and the 2019 World Championship gold medallist looks to be settling in for a big finish to the current season.

Photo: 07.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Avangard (Omsk) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

Today he started with an assist as Reid Boucher converted a 5-on-3 power play to open the scoring. Kaski’s booming shot was blocked by Dmitry Shugayev, but Boucher was first to the rebound. However, Severstal responded by killing off the remaining penalty and turning the game around to lead at the first intermission. Joonas Nattinen tied it up with a shot that deflected off Maxim Chudinov’s stick, then Nikita Guslistov pounced on the rebound from an Artyom Gareyev shot to make it 2-1.

In the middle frame, though, Avangard turned it around. Alexei Potapov tied the scores, then Pavel Dedunov made it 3-2 in the 27th minute. Then, late in the frame, another home power play saw Kaski find the net when he took a pass on the blue line, stepped forward and powered in another shot with Shugayev unsighted.

Early in the third, Severstal was reduced to three skaters once more, but this time Andrei Razin’s team comfortably withstood the Avangard onslaught. Back at full strength, the visitor pulled one back through Igor Geraskin but the Steelmen were unable to save the game.

Scoring return for Mozyakin

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 (1-1, 0-1, 1-1)

A late goal from Arkhip Nekolenko gave Metallurg the verdict after a tough battle in Nizhny Novgorod. The 24-year-old potted his third of the season in the 59th minute to snap a 2-2 tie and make it back-to-back wins for Magnitka.

However, it was Torpedo that got the opening goal less than two minutes into the game. Philip Holm’s pass from behind his own net was intercepted by Andrei Belevich and he set up Mikhail Varnakov for the finish. Holm, of course, played for Torpedo in the 2018-2019 season — but this was one ‘assist’ he didn’t want.

Magnitka replied midway through the first period thanks to Taylor Beck, released on goal by Semyon Koshelev’s feed. And the visitor took the lead in the middle frame when fit-again captain Sergei Mozyakin fired home from Beck’s well-disguised diagonal pass. The 39-year-old celebrated his first game in two weeks with his first goal since Nov. 27; Holm had an assist at the right end on this play.

At the start of the third, Torpedo tied the scores thanks to Ivan Chekhovich’s power play goal. The game might have gone either way, but in the closing moments Nekolenko got his stick to a Mikhail Pashnin shot and deflected it past Andrei Tikhomirov. Beck had an assist here as well, claiming a hand in all three goals as Magnitka left with the points.

Prince powers Minsk to victory

Dinamo Riga 2 Dinamo Minsk 6 (1-3, 0-2, 1-1)

The Dinamo derby went to the Belarusians — and in emphatic fashion. Riga’s recent improvement — back-to-back wins over Spartak and Dynamo in its last two games, counted for nothing as the high-flying Bison powered to victory, led by two goals from captain Shane Prince.

The scoring in Latvia started early. With just 34 seconds played, Stepan Falkovsky unleashed an unstoppable slap shot to get Minsk on the board. Soon afterwards, Ilya Solovyov potted his first goal in the KHL, collecting the loose puck as Riga tried to clear its lines and shooting home from the top of the circle.

Roberts Bukarts played a big part in the Latvians’ improved form of late and he gave the home team hope when he pulled a goal back midway through the first period, but Prince’s first of the game made it 3-1 going into the intermission.

Early in the second, Andris Dzerins was removed from the game after injuring Vladislav Yeryomenko. The power play enabled Pavel Varfolomeyev to score his second goal in three games for his new club after moving from Vityaz to Minsk. Late in the frame, Prince got his second of the night. He beat Ivan Nalimov at the second attempt to make 20 goals for the season and join Nigel Dawes and Alexei Makeyev as joint second top goalscorers in the KHL.

In the third period, Minsk survived a 3-on-5 penalty and Yeryomenko — happily able to return to the game — fired home a sixth goal for the visitor. Miks Indrasis pulled one back on the power play for Riga after young Belarusian defenseman Vladimir Alistrov dropped the gloves for a fight with Daniels Berzins.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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