Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Thursday’s big game saw Metallurg extend its lead in the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 win at home to Ak Bars. Avtomobilist was the day’s highest scorer, putting five past Vityaz after a three-goal blast early in the second period. Barys got back on track with a 4-1 win at Admiral and Severstal stretched its winning streak to six games at home to Torpedo. Lokomotiv suffered a third straight loss, going down in overtime despite dominating for long periods against Neftekhimik. It was a bad day for the Moscow clubs, with CSKA losing 0-1 at Sibir and Spartak going down 1-3 at home to Sochi.

Barys bounces back thanks to PP

Admiral Vladivostok 1 Barys Nur-Sultan 4 (0-1, 0-2, 1-1)

Barys snapped a four-game losing streak with an impressive performance in Vladivostok. For Admiral, though, problems with its special teams contributed to a third straight loss.

Barys scored the first three goals in this game — and none of them were at equal strength. The opener came midway through the first period as the visitor killed its third penalty of the game. If the Sailors had looked toothless on the power play, things got worse this time when Dmitry Gurkov intercepted the puck in his own end, exchanged passes with Yegor Petukhov and converted an odd man rush to open the scoring.

Photo: 28.10.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Admiral (Vladivostok) - Barys (Nur-Sultan)


In the second period, Admiral ran into penalty trouble of its own. Barys would enjoy four power plays and score two goals along the way. Jacob Berglund and Darren Dietz were the scorers, and the home team endured further frustration when Alexander Shevchenko’s effort dinged the underside of the bar but, according to the video review, did not cross the goal line.

Josh Kestner strike at the start of the third period kept the home team interested, but that was as good as it got for Admiral. Another penalty, midway through the final frame, had barely elapsed when young Dinmukhamed Kaiyrzhan potted his first KHL goal to seal a big win for the visitor. The 18-year-old was making only his sixth appearance in the league.

Korotkov gives Sibir a narrow win

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 CSKA Moscow 0 (0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

CSKA head coach Sergei Fedorov is establishing a new tradition on his team this season. Two days ago in Khabarovsk, he handed the ‘A’ to Mikhail Grigorenko and Sergei Plotnikov, two players with connections to the Far Eastern city. Today he did the same thing, with former Sibir forward Konstantin Okulov joining the leadership group for the game in Novosibirsk.

As if energized by a return to a familiar arena, Okulov and his line was the liveliest part of CSKA’s game in the early stages. However, they were unable to seriously test home goalie Anton Krasotkin as he made his first appearance in this home stand. The Army Men’s other troikas also made little impact while the Sibir offense looked a little bit sharper — at least until it came to the final shot.

A penalty on Michal Cajkovsky injected some pace into the game and CSKA managed to create a couple of good chances. Later, the teams played 4-on-4 for two minutes and Sibir, somewhat surprisingly, completely seized the initiative. But neither team could find the net in the opening two sessions.

When the teams met in Moscow recently, it took overtime to produce a goal, with Lucas Wallmark finally giving CSKA the edge. This time, though, we saw a winner in regulation time. Throughout this home stand, the partnership between Dmitry Ovchinnikov and Nikita Korotkov has been Sibir’s most potent weapon and they combined once again for Korotkov to grab the game-winner. CSKA failed to take advantage of Nick Shore’s penalty and Okulov missed his team’s best chance after the puck dropped for home after a ricochet off the back boards.

Triple blast puts Avto in control

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 5 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (1-0, 4-2, 0-0)

A quickfire triple salvo led Avtomobilist to a comfortable victory at home to Vityaz. The Motormen blasted three goals in 71 seconds in the middle frame to take the game away from the struggling visitor.

It was almost three weeks since the home team managed to get a win in regulation, and its last two outings ended in defeat against Traktor and Ak Bars. Bill Peters welcomed back fit-again forward Shane Prince for this game, while Vityaz was without Miks Indrasis for the first time this season.

The home team looked for a fast start and had the puck in the Vityaz net inside a minute. However, that effort was kicked into the net and the officials ruled it out. However, ever eight minutes a legitimate counter-attacking effort from Stanislav Bocharov opened the scoring. At the other end, Ivan Zinchenko had two great chances to tie the scores, but it remained 1-0 until the intermission.

Avtomobilist took control of the game at the start of the second period, scoring three goals in 71 seconds. Vasily Filyayev, recalled for his first game since Sep. 3, got the first. Then Yefim Gurkin chased starting goalie Ilya Ezhov from his net, only for Alexander Shchemerov to hand Anton Todykov an uncomfortably warm welcome to the game.

Vityaz responded with a time-out and finally steadied the players’ nerves. Damir Musin even managed to pull a goal back and a rejuvenated visiting offense began to test Vladimir Galkin more seriously in the home net. Avtomobilist, though, kept scoring: Brooks Macek restored a four-goal cushion, and it wasn’t until Patrice Cormier was handed a fighting major late in the session that Niko Ojamaki got a second goal for the visitor.

In the third, Vityaz had a goal ruled out for a hand pass in a move that ended with Miro Aaltonen finding the net. After that, the home team calmly closed out the win.

Magnitka on top in heavyweight tussle

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Ak Bars Kazan 1 (0-0, 2-0, 1-1)

These two Eastern Conference heavyweights squared up for the third time this month. With the two teams knowing plenty about each other, both coaches needed to find ways of freshening up their game. For Ak Bars, that meant resting veteran forward Danis Zaripov. The 40-year-old, much loved in Magnitogorsk as well as Kazan, struggling on his previous outing here against a highly mobile Metallurg team.

The host, meanwhile, unveiled a new offensive line with Nikita Korostelyov joining Canadians Philippe Maillet and Brendan Leipsic. Artyom Minulin made a timely return to action in place of Grigory Dronov, who suffered an injury in the previous game against Traktor. Juho Olkinuora took over from Vasily Koshechkin in goal.

Photo: 28.10.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) - Ak Bars (Kazan)


Metallurg’s new-look strike trio almost grabbed a goal on its first shift, but Timur Bilyalov dealt with that early danger. After that, the first period was an even battle and after 20 minutes of playoff style hockey the teams went into the intermission without a goal.

After the break, both teams continued with that cautious approach and preferred to await an error from the opposition. That tactic brought more success for Metallurg, as its imports found gaps in the Ak Bars defense. Leipsic was first to show, beating Bilyalov in the 34th minute. Then Josh Currie made it back-to-back goals after some great work from Semyon Koshelev opened up the visiting defense once again.

At the start of the third, visiting defenseman Nikita Dynyak got himself into an offensive position and pulled a goal back for Ak Bars. That breathed new life into the game as Dmitry Kvartalnov’s team saw a way back into contention. However, Metallurg refused to be distracted from its work and carefully closed out the remainder of the game. Currie finished the job with an empty net goal and Magnitka celebrated a third win of the season against one of its biggest rivals in the East.

Khairullin punishes profligate Loko

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 OT (1-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-1)

Lokomotiv led for most of this game, but ultimately fell to a third straight loss thanks to Marat Khairullin’s overtime goal. The Neftekhimik captain moved to five points in his last three games after also getting an assist on Lukas Klok’s tying goal in the third period.

The Railwaymen, beaten on the road at Salavat Yulaev and Dynamo Moscow, returned home and went with a slightly surprising line-up. Young forward Daniil Tesanov was named on the team for the first time since Igor Nikitin came to the club, while the space for an eighth defenseman or 13th forward was left blank this time. Neftekhimik included goalie Alexander Sudnitsin for a trip to his former club.

Loko made a whirlwind start, taking control of the game from the off. The opening goal arrived inside three minutes, with Pavel Kudryavtsev on target, and the home team’s high-pressure approach saw it leading the shot count 14-5 at the first intermission. The visitor, struggling to stay in the game, frequently iced the puck as it desperately tried to clear the danger.

In the second stanza, things evened out somewhat. Lokomotiv could not sustain the high-energy play we saw at the start but remained the stronger team. It took some big saves from Sudnitsin to keep the scoreline at 1-0 after 40 minutes.

Early in the third, Neftekhimik made the host pay for its failure to extend that lead. A power play chance put Klok on the scoresheet and that was enough to take us to overtime. In the extras, Khairullin got the decider as the visitor managed to build on its win at Kunlun Red Star and consolidate its place in the top eight in the East.

Nattinen at the double as Severstal wins again

Severstal Cherepovets 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (1-0, 0-1, 1-0)

In-form Severstal made it six wins in a row thanks to victory at home against Torpedo. The visitor has struggled for consistency all season and slipped to a third loss in four games to remain adrift of the playoff spots. For Andrei Razin’s men, though, today’s win lifts them to sixth in the West and allows them to look up at the likes of CSKA and Dinamo Minsk in the places immediately above them.

Today’s game was settled by Finnish forward Joonas Nattinen. The 30-year-old scored twice, moving onto seven goals for the season. That’s his best return since 2019-2020, when he potted nine for Vityaz and, at his current rate, he could well eclipse his best-ever KHL goal haul of 16 in his rookie year at Neftekhimik. His first came after 16 minutes, picking up Robert Rooba’s disguised cross-ice feed and firing home from the right-hand dot. Then he claimed the winner in the third, putting away the rebound after Robin Press’s point shot was parried by Andrei Tikhomirov.

In between, Torpedo got on terms with a power play goal from Marek Hrivik. The visitor laid siege to Dmitry Shugayev’s net in the third period as it battled to get back into the game once more. But the 23-year-old, already enjoying his best season to date, kept his goal intact to backstop another win for Severstal.

Sochi stops Spartak’s winning run

Spartak Moscow 1 HC Sochi 3 (0-1, 0-1, 1-1)

Spartak’s five-game winning streak came to an abrupt end as Sochi arrived in Moscow to upset the form book. The Leopards lost four in a row prior to Tuesday’s win at Vityaz and remained at the foot of the Eastern Conference despite that victory. Spartak had hopes of consolidating its place in the playoff spots, but instead drops to eighth, three points ahead of Torpedo.

The visitor went ahead towards the end of the first period. Nikita Feoktistov spun out of the corner and put a pass onto the stick of Vasily Glotov in the center. His one-timer beat Alexei Krasikov to give Sochi an unlikely lead. After all, the visitor mustered just three shots on Krasikov’s net in the opening frame, while needing 15 saves from Magnus Hellberg at the other end.

Photo: 28.10.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Spartak (Moscow) - HC Sochi (Sochi)


In the second period, things were very different. This time it was Spartak that struggled to create chances, managing just four shots at the Swedish goalie. Sochi was not much more active, but managed to extend its lead thanks to defenseman Yaroslav Dyblenko. He got his first goal since arriving from SKA, and scored it against the club where he began his career.

Spartak tried to raise the tempo once again in the third period, but could not find the goal that would get it back into this game. It wasn’t until the final minutes that Jake Virtanen got his team on the scoreboard, but with less than 90 seconds left there was little time to force the extras. Instead, an empty net goal from Amir Garayev with nine seconds on the clock sealed the deal for Sochi.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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