Struggling Admiral, currently at the foot of the Eastern Conference standings, named Leonids Tambijevs as head coach for this game following the end of Oleg Gorbunov’s time as interim coach. The 51-year-old Latvian was working in Kazakhstan with Saryarka Karaganda until this month, when he left abruptly after failing to return to Karaganda after a Continental Cup tournament in Poland. He has twice won the VHL, once with Saryarka and once with Dynamo St. Petersburg, and also won last season’s Kazakh Championship.
However, his first taste of life in the KHL was a struggle. Despite putting in a good performance — after the game, Tambijevs argued that his team had won on every stat except scoring goals — Admiral slipped to a seventh loss in eight games. Tambijevs recalled American forward Josh Cartner for this game, partnering him with Latvian duo Miks Indrasis and Rihards Bukarts on the second line.
The opening frame of Tambijevs’ reign was uneventful. Both teams tried to keep it simple and, in doing so, managed to eliminate much of the creativity from their game in a goalless first period. When there was a chance for a bit of individual flair, it produced the opening goal early in the middle frame when Danil Bashkirov broke the deadlock on the power play. Viktor Tikhonov might have extended that lead but Nikita Serebryakov said ‘no’ in the home net.
After falling behind, Admiral powered up its efforts to get into the game. Juha Metsola had to deal with several good chances but the Sailors were unable to solve the visiting netminder. In the final frame, only the post preserved Ufa’s lead but in the final moments the visitor secured the points with an empty net goal from Nikolai Kulemin.
Avangard returned from its trip to the Far East with defeats in its last two games, but bounced back in style on home ice. Today’s emphatic victory over Neftekhimik avenges its overtime loss in Nizhnekamsk at the start of November.
It didn’t take long for Bob Hartley’s team to open the scoring: after five minutes defenseman Maxim Goncharov found the net, albeit in somewhat unusual fashion as he went to crease to redirect Alexander Dergachyov’s shot into the net. Five minutes later, Yaroslav Kosov doubled the lead, beating Alexander Sudnitsin at the third attempt to prove that persistence pays off.
The home team extended its lead early in the second period with a power play goal from Corban Knight and proceeded to dominant the rest of the session. It wasn’t until late in the frame, though, that Vladimir Zharkov potted a fourth, intercepting the puck at the point and returning it with a mighty slap shot that gave Sudnitsin no chance.
Nikolai Prokhorkin made it 5-0 at the start of the third, perfectly placed on the slot to tuck away the rebound from Oliwer Kaski’s effort. With the outcome of the game already clear, there was still time for Goncharov to get into a fight with Timur Sharifyanov. Late in the third, Dan Sexton potted a consolation for Neftekhimik on the power play, but Nikita Soshnikov had the final word when his last-minute goal made it 6-1.
After a derby defeat against Spartak, Dynamo got back to winning ways against Ak Bars. Like the home team, the men from Kazan arrived after a local derby and both clubs had five wins from the previous six games. Dynamo was seeking its second win of the season against Ak Bars after edging a high-scoring game in Kazan at the start of the season.
Dynamo got off to a flying start here, helped by an early penalty on Kristian Khenkel. While the visiting defenseman sat for hooking, Stanislav Galiyev’s perfectly timed pass gave Eric O’Dell a simple finish to open the scoring in the second minute. Subsequently, the first period was evenly contested but Ak Bars was unable to tie the scores as Alexander Yeryomenko impressed in the home net.
Early in the second period, the visitor failed to capitalize on its first power play of the game and, back at full strength, Dynamo quickly extended its lead. Sergei Boikov broke up the final attack of the Ak Bars power play and, as Artyom Fyodorov returned to the ice, Bogdan Yakimov completed the counter attack with a shot from the center of the zone to beat Timur Bilyalov. Later in the middle frame, the home team had an extended spell of 5-on-3 play but was unable to extend its lead.
At the start of the third period, though, Dynamo got its third. Vadim Shipachyov was the scorer, firing in a shot that Bilyalov caught — but only after the puck crossed the goal line. It took a video review to sort out what had happened, but the verdict went for the home team. As the game entered its closing stages, Ak Bars got on the power play and gave itself a lifeline when Daniil Tarasov redirected a Steven Kampfer shot into the net. Then, with just under three to play, Anton Wedin took a penalty to give the visitor one last shot at redemption. For a moment, Ak Bars thought it had grabbed a vital goal as Par Lindholm redirected aJordan Weal shot into Yeryomenko’s net. However, there was a question mark — and the video review uncovered a high stick that wiped out the play. With its two-goal lead intact, Dynamo could comfortably finish the job and Shipachyov’s empty net tally did exactly that.
Four goals in the last five minutes delivered a thrilling finale to an absorbing clash between the current KHL leader and last season’s regular season champion. Anton Slepyshev led the way with three points in a memorable match-up in Moscow.
Compared to the goal rush that would come, though, the first period was tame stuff. Andrei Svetlakov opened the scoring midway through the session, but after enjoying the better of the play, Metallurg had grounds to feel aggrieved that it trailed at the intermission.
In the middle frame, the visitor set about putting that right. Andrei Chibisov quickly tied it up on the power play, only for Sergei Plotnikov to score on his former club with a PP goal of his own in the 35th minute. But issues with exes were not limited to Magnitka: Brendan Leipsic struck 90 seconds later to tie it up once more on his return to CSKA.
Tied at the second intermission, the stage was set for an exciting finale. However, few could have anticipated the flurry of goals that was to come. It started with Semyon Koshelev putting Metallurg in front for the first time on 47:33 when Yegor Yakovlev’s long pass sprung the home defense and released the Magnitka forward into the CSKA zone. In response, Takhir Mingachyov grabbed his first KHL goal after Maxim Sorkin wrestled the puck away from Yakovlev behind the net and set up his team-mate. Earlier in the game, Mingachyov collected his first point in the league and now he added an important goal.
Then came that late goal rush. Slepyshev put CSKA in front once again, emerging from behind the net to fire in a shot from a tight angle that squeezed home of Juho Olkinuora’s back. Almost immediately, Metallurg took a penalty and the game seemed to tilt firmly in the home team’s favor. But Pavel Akolzin produced a shorthanded goal to tie it up, going past Nikita Nesterov and beating Adam Reideborn to make it 4-4. Now, Metallurg needed to kill the remainder of the penalty, but instead Vladislav Kamenev grabbed the PP goal that restored the Army Men’s lead with 85 seconds on the clock. The breathless finale was only resolved on 59:33 when Slepyshev put his second of the night into an empty net to decide a 10-goal thriller.
If the CSKA game was full of goals in the closing minutes, this was the opposite. Artur Kayumov gave Lokomotiv the lead in the second minute, Jake Virtanen responded in the fourth and then ... silence.
The two goalies, Alexei Krasikov and Daniil Isayev were well on top for the rest of the game, which remained locked at 1-1 through overtime. Ultimately, Lokomotiv took the verdict in the shoot-out, posting its second win over Spartak this season and snapping a two-game stumble. Spartak, unable to build on back-to-back wins, missed the chance to close on the team immediately ahead of it in the Western Conference standings.
Loko, which was without Maxim Shalunov up front, clearly looked at Spartak’s previous game, in which it jumped to a 3-0 lead over Dynamo in the opening minutes. The response was to play on the front foot from the start and Kayumov’s goal rewarded that initiative. However, in-form home center Jori Lehtera got involved at the other end to extend his productive streak to five games with an assist as the Red-and-Whites hit back at once.
After that, clear-cut chances were hard to come by. It wasn’t until overtime, when Lokomotiv got a power play, that we saw either team enjoyed an extended period in enemy territory. However, Spartak withstood that challenge only to fall in the shoot-out as Kayumov, Pavel Kraskovsky and Artyom Anisimov found the net.