Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The big result of the day saw SKA win 5-1 at top-of-the-table Metallurg. The big landmark of the day was Danis Zaripov’s 1,300th game in top-flight Russian hockey, helping Ak Bars to a 5-2 win over Neftekhimik. Barys had the big fightback, rallying from 0-3 to beat Kunlun Red Star. Elsewhere, Torpedo moved into the playoff places with victory at Dinamo Minsk, Corban Knight’s double took Avangard past Severstal and Avtomobilist won 2-0 at Lokomotiv.

Barys rallies from 0-3

Barys Nur-Sultan 7 Kunlun Red Star 4 (0-1, 4-2, 3-1)

Barys climbed into the playoff places after battling back from 0-3 to secured a fourth straight win. Jakob Lilja potted two goals for the second game in a row to lead the Kazakhs to a high-scoring success over the Dragons.

Red Star, lifted by confirmation that team China would be allowed to take part in February’s Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, gave the home team a scare in Nur-Sultan. A goal from Alex Riche late in the opening frame gave the visitor the lead, and early in the second the Dragons jumped to 3-0. Rudi Ying, the first Chinese-born player to score in the KHL, doubled the advantage with a fine individual effort, then Mikael Tam grabbed his first goal in the league in his 35th game for Kunlun.

Barys responded by replacing Joni Ortio with Nikita Boyarkin — and the home offense got to work. Shortly after the midway stage, the scores were tied — Yegor Petukhov, Roman Starchenko and Linden Vey reeling in the deficit — then, late in the stanza, Lilja struck to give his team the lead for the first time.

The Swede, whose productive run now stretches to four games, got another early in the third and has five goals in three games. Ethan Werek pulled one back for Red Star, but there was not to be another fightback here: Cody Kunyk and Matt Frattin finished the job for Barys.

Late in the game, Tam found himself dumped onto the home bench after Roman Savchenko took exception to some rough stuff and hoisted his opponent off the ice. Savchenko was ejected from the remaining moments, Tam took 2+5 for boarding and fighting.

Gusev’s double leads SKA to big win

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1 SKA St. Petersburg 5 (0-2, 0-0, 1-3)

Friday’s heavyweight clash saw league leader Metallurg entertain Western Conference powerhouse SKA — and the visitor delivered a knock-out blow in the first seconds.

With just four seconds gone, Magnitka iced the puck. SKA got a clean win from the subsequent face-off and Joonas Kemppainen set up Anton Burdasov for the opening goal. Burdasov scored twice in SKA’s previous game; today he needed eight seconds to get on the scoresheet again.

That was far from the start Metallurg had hoped for, particularly following the return of in-form forward Brendan Leipsic. He finished November with a flurry of goals but was a healthy scratch for Wednesday’s 6-4 win over Kunlun. Today he returned, but was unable to make a telling contribution as SKA enjoyed a convincing win.

The visitor extended its lead in the 15th minute thanks to a power play goal from Nikita Gusev. That prompted Metallurg to up the tempo and the home team dominated the second period, outshooting SKA 12-4. However, there was no further scoring in the middle frame and the Army Men marched into the finale with a 2-0 lead to defend.

Early in the third, another SKA power play saw Daniil Pylenkov make it 3-0 before Denis Zernov pulled a goal back for Metallurg. There would be no fightback, though: Gusev got his second of the night, eschewing a one-timer in favor of deploying a pause before shooting home low from the face-off spot. Late on, Josh Currie’s attempted clearance dropped perfectly for Andrei Kuzmenko to make it 5-1 and complete Metallurg’s misery. SKA climbs to second in the West.

Zaripov reaches 1,300 games

Ak Bars Kazan 5 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 (1-1, 1-0, 3-1)

Danis Zaripov celebrated his 1,300th game in Russian top-flight hockey with an assist as Ak Bars defeated Neftekhimik. The 40-year-old forward returned to the team after week’s absence, bringing up an impressive landmark in a distinguished career.

The first period saw the teams trade power play goals: Denis Vikharev put Neftekhimik in front after 11 minutes, only for Par Lindholm to tie it up inside 90 seconds. After the intermission, Neftekhimik got a 5-on-3 advantage — with Zaripov one of the players in the box — but could not capitalize. Instead, midway through the session Ak Bars moved in front for the first time when Daniil Zhuravlyov found the net. Dmitry Kagarlitsky had the first of his three assists on that play.

Indeed, Kagarlitsky and Zhuravlyov combined on the third Ak Bars goal, scored by Dmitry Yudin at the start of the third period. The visitor hit back through Rafael Bikmullin before two quick goals killed the game off. Daniil Tarasov potted the third, with Lindholm getting his third point of the game on the play. Then came another home power play and Zaripov and Kagarlitsky created the chance for Dmitry Voronkov to make the final score 5-2.

Photo: 10.12.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Ak Bars (Kazan) - Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)

Galkin — and the piping — denies Lokomotiv

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 0 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 (0-0, 0-2, 0-0)

A shut-out from Vladimir Galkin and two goals in the second period were sufficient to see Avtomobilist get past Lokomotiv and record a third victory in four games. The home team saw its two-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt.

The game got off to a slow start and it wasn’t until the seventh minute that Rushan Rafikov’s one-timer produced the first dangerous moment of the game. Loko just about shaded the first period, but there were few big chances and one of the best came in the last minute when Stephane Da Costa’s glorious pass set up Sergei Shumakov. Daniil Isayev made the save to keep it goalless at the first break.

And the deadlock remained until deep into the second frame. It wasn’t until the 35th minute that Avto got in front, with Alexander Shchemerov on the blue line firing past an unsighted Isayev. A home power play almost drew Loko level, with Rafikov twice ringing the iron as Galkin’s net led a charmed life. Then, adding insult to injury, Patrice Cormier jumped out of the box and straight onto a pass that sent him clean through on Isayev’s goal to double the lead.

In the third period, Avtomobilist had to endure a 3-on-5 penalty kill and once again the frame of the goal came to the rescue. This time it was Artyom Anisimov who was denied when his effort hit the bar. In the closing stages, the home team ran into penalty trouble of its own, hampering efforts for a late surge as Galkin posted a shut-out and Nikolai Zavarukhin’s team left with the points.

Knight double downs Severstal

Severstal Cherepovets 2 Avangard Omsk 3 (1-0, 1-3, 0-0)

Corban Knight scored twice as Avangard denied Severstal the chance to return to the top four in the West. The visitor recovered from allowing a goal in the second minute to edge a competitive game in Cherepovets.

Severstal, which has alternated wins and losses in its previous four games, got off to a flying start in this one. With just 102 seconds played, Robert Rooba opened the scoring when he potted the rebound from an Adam Liska shot. Moments earlier, the pair combined for a chance that Simon Hrubec struggled to keep out; their second combination proved deadly.

That was the only goal of a first period that was short of scoring chances. The middle frame proved rather livelier in front of goal. Knight got his first to tie the scores in the 27th minute, but Daniil Vovchenko soon restored Severstal’s lead. Late in the session, though, Avangard moved in front for the first time. Ivan Telegin tied the game then, on the power play, Knight got the finishing touch after Oliwer Kaski’s point shot caused confusion in front of Vladislav Podyapolsky’s net.

Knight’s second proved to be the game winner. Severstal had more of the play in the third, including a 5-on-3 power play, but could not find another route past Hrubec to save the game. Bob Hartley’s team remains fifth in the East, but opens a two-point gap on Sibir.

Photo: 10.12.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Severstal (Cherepovets) - Avangard (Omsk)

Torpedo moves into top eight

Dinamo Minsk 1 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 (0-0, 0-1, 1-1)

After an impressive — and unexpected — 5-2 win at CSKA, Torpedo continued its road trip with victory in Minsk. David Nemirovsky’s team is now a third of the way through a six-game voyage and the early results are very promising.

Dinamo, meanwhile, has problems. Today’s loss saw Torpedo leapfrog the Bison into a playoff spot and rang up three successive defeats for Craig Woodcroft’s team. The host was left to ponder a first period in which Torpedo was largely absent as an attacking force, yet nobody could find a way past Pyotr Kochetkov at the other end.

The opening goal came late in the second period when Torpedo converted a power play. Artur Tyanulin fired the puck to the slot, where Kenny Agostino steered across the face of the net for the waiting Andy Miele to pounce.

That lead increased in the third when Damir Zhafyarov found the net. Zhafyarov recently added his name to the list of players that have scored on all 24 current KHL teams, and produced another clinical finish here. This was no conventional sniper’s effort: Damir exchanged passes with Mark Marin just inside the blue line, skated to a central position and took advantage of heavy traffic around Patrik Rybar’s net to lift a long-range wrist shot past the home goalie.

Dinamo managed to get a goal back late in the play when Roman Gorbunov scored during a spell of 6-on-4 play. But with just eight seconds left on the clock, there was no time for Minsk to force the extras and Torpedo left with the points.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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