Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Markus Granlund produced the individual performance of the day. The Finnish forward had a hand in all three of Salavat Yulaev’s goals as it rallied from 0-2 to defeat Amur Khabarovsk. Traktor enjoyed the biggest win of the day, thumping Admiral 6-1. Neftekhimik edged Avangard in overtime to return to the top eight in the East and Kunlun Red Star defeated Sochi to make it back-to-back wins for Ivano Zanatta’s men.

Traktor powers to victory

Traktor Chelyabinsk 6 Admiral Vladivostok 1 (2-0, 2-0, 2-1)

Neither team came into this game in good form. Traktor lost three of its previous four, while Admiral had not picked up a victory since Oct. 21 and a 2-1 success against Amur. The two coaches responded differently, though. Anvar Gatiyatulin made just one change, bringing in goalie Emil Garipov after Traktor’s loss to Vityaz 48 hours earlier. His opposite number, Alexander Andrievsky, reshuffled every part of his team and gave a first start of the season to understudy goalie Denis Sinyagin.

Sinyagin, who has featured frequently as a back-up, suffered a tough start. Traktor went ahead in the fourth minute through Nikita Tertyshny, with Lukas Sedlak’s assist taking the Czech to 100 points in the KHL. It wasn’t the finest piece of goaltending either, but there could be little criticism of Sinyagin after Teemu Pulkkinen’s power play snipe doubled the lead.

Subsequently, Sinyagin dealt well with Traktor’s assaults, and it wasn’t until deep into the second period and a 5-on-3 power play that the home team got its third. Once again, Pulkkinen was on target. Late in the middle frame, Sedlak made it 4-0.

The game was done, and Traktor extended its lead in the third period. Kirill Kapustin added a fifth and Tertyshny got his second of the game either side of Dmitry Lugin’s consolation effort for the Sailors.

Granlund leads Ufa fightback

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 Amur Khabarovsk 2 (0-0, 3-2, 0-0)

Three points from Markus Granlund saw Salavat Yulaev battle back from 0-2 to defeat Amur. The home team had to cope without leading scorer Sakari Manninen and defensive duo Pavel Koledov and Mikhail Naumenkov and called up various youngsters from the club’s structures.

For a time, it seemed that lowly Amur might be poised to take advantage of the host’s problems. In a first period light on goalmouth action, the visitor held its own — both in the game, and in a fight between Danil Alalykin and Nikita Pivtsakin. The Amur defenseman then found the net in the second period, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead after Danil Faizullin’s power play effort broke the deadlock soon after the intermission.

But then it all changed. A home power play saw Granlund set up Philip Larsen for a point shot that Teemu Hartikainen tipped home to reduce the deficit. Next came a 5-on-3 power play which saw Sergei Shmelyov tie the scores after exchanging passes with his Finnish colleague. Finally, with that PP continuing, Granlund was on the spot at the back door to lift the puck over Evgeny Alikin and make it 3-2.

After turning the game around, Salavat Yulaev closed it out in the third. Again, there were few chances as the Tigers proved unable to find a way past Juha Metsola.

Sexton’s strike lifts Neftekhimik into top eight

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 Avangard Omsk 1 OT (0-0, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

After a disappointing loss to Kunlun Red Star, Neftekhimik bounced back with an overtime win against defending champion Avangard. The success moves the Tatarstan team back into the playoff places.

The home team reshuffled all of its attacking lines after Monday’s defeat and Pavel Poryadin was a healthy scratch for this game. There was some early reward for those changes, with Neftekhimik enjoying the better of the opening exchanges. However, possession did not translate into clear chances and gradually Avangard came into the game. Nikolai Prokhorkin hit the post and late in the game Lukas Klok had to make a goal line clearance to save his team.

However, the opening goal would take some time to arrive. It wasn’t until the 52nd minute that the deadlock was broken at last, with Peter Cehlarik giving Avangard the lead. It proved to be short-lived; just 46 seconds later, Evgeny Mityakin tied the scores. That took the game to overtime.

The extras did not take long. Dan Sexton settled the outcome with Neftekhimik first shot of overtime. The American forward burst into the Avangard zone, waited for Alexei Bereglazov to commit himself and then fired past Simon Hrubec to win the game.

Photo: 03.11.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) - Avangard (Omsk)

Red Star wins again

HC Sochi 1 Kunlun Red Star 3 (0-1, 1-1, 0-1)

Kunlun Red Star made it two straight wins as Sochi’s recent revival under Andrei Nazarov stalled. The Dragons enjoyed back-to-back victories for the first time this season and collected a second success against the team from the Black Sea coast.

Visiting goalie Jeremy Smith played a huge role in securing this win. In the first period, he stopped 15 shots to protect the lead given to his team by Tyler Wong’s early goal. Then, he withstood even greater pressure in the middle frame to keep Red Star in the game. He was beaten once by Amir Garayev in the 26th minute, but Spencer Foo restored the visitor’s lead 90 seconds later.

The third period saw KRS seeking to close out the game. Sochi had more possession and slightly more attempts on goal, but solid defensive work ensured that Smith had just five shots to save. He managed to stop all of them, and in the last minute Ryan Sproul’s empty net marker sealed the verdict for the Chinese franchise.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
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