The Army Men returned to the top four in the West, but had to work hard to subdue at Red Star team that is steadily improving as the season progresses.
The Foo brothers have been big players during Kunlun’s recent upturn and the elder of the two, Spencer, showed off his skills to put the Dragons in front in the fifth minute. He won the puck in the face-off circle in his own zone, ignored the ever-present attentions of Pavel Karnaukhov and set off down the ice to fire home the opening goal with a well-placed wrister from the diagonally opposite face-off dot.
CSKA got back into the game with a power play goal from Mikhail Grigorenko midway through the first period, but Red Star continued to threaten. Late in the first, the visitor got a PP chance of its own and Foo was close to restoring the lead but fired wide of an open net under pressure from a defenseman.
The home team finally got in front midway through the second period through Konstantin Okulov. The same player than had a chance to increase the lead with a penalty shot after Vic Bartley fouled the goal-bound Daniil Yurtaikin. However, Alexander Lazushin closed the door on that attempt.
CSKA got a third goal at the start of the third period when Anton Slepyshev overpowered Jason Fram and set up Karnaukhov for his first of the season. Then the home team enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play in the closing moments but could not add to the final score until Grigorenko put his second of the night into an empty net.
Less than a month after losing 0-3 at home to Sibir, Torpedo turned the tables with victory by the same scoreline in the return fixture. The home team had reason for optimism coming into this game, lifted by a win over high-flying Salavat Yulaev after taking CSKA to overtime at the end of its recent road trip. Torpedo, meanwhile, suffered back-to-back losses in the Far East prior to its arrival in Central Siberia.
However, it took less than a minute for Sibir to find itself in trouble. Denis Bodrov picked up a cross-checking penalty after 31 seconds and Ziyat Paigin converted the power play to give the visitor an early lead. The visitor’s power play soon got another chance, with Sibir fluffing a line change. Kenny Agostino was the beneficiary this time as Nikita Shashkov sat out a ‘too many men’ bench minor.
Sibir got its first chance on the power play moments later, but Torpedo’s PK was up to the task. And, with the teams back to full strength, Andy Miele added a third in the 11th minute. Harri Sateri went to the bench, replaced by Anton Krasotkin, but Sibir was unable to make inroads into Torpedo’s dominance of the game.
In the second period Sibir reversed the flow and outshot Torpedo 14-6, but Pyotr Kochetkov kept his goal intact throughout. Early in the third, Damir Zhafyarov failed with a penalty shot and Torpedo again had more of the attacking play but could not add to the score. Kochetkov finished with 26 saves to record his first shut-out of the season, Krasotkin had 29 saves without allowing a goal at the other end in his 49 minutes of action.
The Motormen snapped a four-game skid with a much-needed victory over defending champion Avangard. The Hawks, meanwhile, continue a bumpy run of form and have now suffered three losses in their last four outings.
Bob Hartley could add Alexander Dergachyov to his roster for the first time this season and used him as a 13th forward in an otherwise unchanged line-up. His opposite number Bill Peters swapped in two fresh defensemen, putting Stepan Khripunov and Yury Salov into the team ahead of Valery Sitnikov and Zakhar Arzamastsev.
The visitor tried to impose its pressing game from the first puck drop but enjoyed limited success: in the first 10 minutes, Avangard could not manage a single shot at Vladimir Galkin. At the other end, Avtomobilist was creating far more, and the opening goal was only a matter of time. It duly arrived in the 11th minute thanks to Ryan Spooner. Avangard at last created a good chance of its own, but Pavel Dedunov could not lift his shot over Galkin’s sprawling legs and it was 1-0 at the first break.
The home team extended its lead early in the third, with Spooner potting his second of the night before Patrice Cormier added a power play marker. However, the visitor then began its fightback. Oliwer Kaski pulled back one goal in the second period, then set up Vladimir Zharkov to make it 2-3 early in the third.
That revival was halted in the final minutes when Brooks Macek grabbed not one but two empty net goals to seal Avtomobilist’s win and put a gloss on the final scoreline in Yekaterinburg.
Amur posted a third successive victory and lifted itself into the top eight thanks to a shoot-out success over Vityaz. The Tigers came from behind in a tight 60 minutes and took the verdict when recent signing Roman Lyubimov and long-serving forward Alexander Gorshkov converted their post-game attempts.
Earlier, the two goalies were on top. The opening goal did not come until the last minute of the second period, when Daniel Audette beat Evgeny Alikin to give Vityaz the lead. However, Amur replied immediately after the intermission, with David Tomasek scoring on Ilya Ezhov. The home team had the puck in the net once more midway through the third, but the video review found a kicking motion and whistled off the goal.
That meant the game went on to overtime and that shoot-out, with Alikin stopping all four of the attempts he faced to ensure that Amur head coach Mikhail Kravets got the better of his former club.