Avtomobilist goalie Jakub Kovar currently leads the KHL for shut-outs this season, but today it was the turn of his understudy, Vladislav Gross, to shine. The 23-year-old, making only his third appearance of the season, stopped 26 shots to deny Jokerit as the Motormen avenged yesterday’s 2-3 loss against the same opponent.
Gross replaced Kovar for this one and Dan Sexton returned to the home team. For Jokerit, Henri Ikonen, Jakub Krejcik and Niklas Friman appeared after missing out the previous game. And Monday’s edition proved to be rather different, with Avtomobilist taking the lead in the first period. Defenseman Chay Genoway, once a Jokerit player, thumped in a long shot and Georgy Belousov scored from the rebound.
However, instead of more goals, the teams traded penalties instead. Midway through the action, Genoway got into a fight with Niklas Jensen — something of a David and Goliath contest after the Danish international was called for slashing — and the home team even had a minute or so of 5-on-3 play soon afterwards but could not extend its lead.
In the third period, Gross continued to show his mettle, but it was Janis Kalnins who made the more eye-catching saves as Avtomobilist’s offense frequently created dangerous moments. A needless penalty on Jordan Schroeder, binned for abusing the officials, opened the door for the home team and Peter Holland swiftly increased the punishment with a second goal. That late blow was too much for Jokerit who, despite a final surge, could not solve Gross and slipped to defeat.
Spartak produced a big fightback to take the points at home to Lokomotiv. The Red-and-Whites scored twice in the last three minutes to inflict a first defeat of 2021 on the Railwaymen and end Loko’s run of three victories against the Muscovites this season.
Although the home team had more of the play in the first period, it was Lokomotiv that took charge of the scoring. The visitor grabbed two goals in quick succession, with Maxim Osipov’s long pass splitting the home defense for Andre Petersson’s opener before Anton Lander slipped a pass behind his back for Alexander Daryin to make it 2-0.
Spartak got on the board at the start of the second when Artyom Fyodorov sent captain Anatoly Nikontsev clean through on goal to beat Eddie Pasquale. Midway through the frame, though, Osipov restored Loko’s 2-0 advantage with a powerful one-timer after Vladimir Tkachyov went around the net.
In the third, Spartak turned it all around. Ilya Talaluyev’s power play effort reduced the deficit, then Evgeny Kulik tied the scores with two-and-a-half minutes to play after a poke check on Talaluyev deflected the puck into his path. Not content to wait for overtime, the host kept on pressing and grabbed the winner on 58:34 thanks to Sergei Shirokov’s skate deflecting a Nikontsev shot into the net.
Metallurg defeated Dinamo for the second time this season, adding a 4-2 win in Minsk to the 3-2 success it enjoyed on home ice less than a month ago.
This time, the damage was done in the first period. Nikolai Kulemin opened the scoring midway through and a couple of minutes later, Nikolai Prokhorkin doubled the lead. In the middle of the second, Dennis Rasmussen made it 3-0.
Dinamo recovered some ground when Denis Mosalyov potted his first for the club. The two-time Gagarin Cup winner joined on deadline day and has played four games so far, having been without a club after leaving HC Sochi in the summer. And hopes of a fightback took shape in the third when another new face, Pavel Varfolomeyev, made it 2-3. Varfolomeyev had a season with Metallurg but struggled to make an impact as he stepped up a level from his breakout campaign at Ugra.
Today, too, Magnitka’s quality was a bit too much for Varfolomeyev and his colleagues. Grigory Dronov sealed the win five minutes from time and the Steelmen return to third in the East.