Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Monday’s action started in the Far East, where Admiral won its third Far East derby of the season. That, couple with Salavat Yulaev’s overtime win at Kunlun Red Star, lifts the Sailors off the foot of the table and sends the Dragons to the bottom. At a higher altitude, SKA defeated Spartak 4-2 to open a clear lead at the top of the Western Conference.

Indrasis strikes to sink Amur

Amur Khabarovsk 0 Admiral Vladivostok 1 (0-1, 0-0, 0-0)

Admiral moved off the foot of the KHL standings after winning the third Far East derby of the season. The Sailors, despite their struggles on their return to the league after a one-year break, have come out on top in each meeting with local rival Amur.

Monday’s game was decided by an early goal from Miks Indrasis. The experienced Latvian opened the scoring on 2:44, firing home from a central position after Vyacheslav Ushenin powerfully seized possession and set up his team-mate. It’s Indrasis’ third goal since he joined Admiral from Vityaz just over a month ago, and his second in two games for his club.

Subsequently, though, the key player was visiting goalie Nikita Serebryakov. He made 29 saves to preserve Admiral’s advantage to the end and secure his second shut-out of the season.

Photo: 20.12.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Amur (Khabarovsk) - Admiral (Vladivostok)

Larsen ends KRS resistance in OT

Kunlun Red Star 3 Salavat Yualev Ufa 4 (1-1, 1-2, 1-0, 0-1)

A dogged display from Kunlun Red Star earned the home team a point in a game in which it was heavily outshot. However, Ufa’s pressure told in the end and Philip Larsen grabbed a deserved overtime winner for the visitor.

Salavat Yulaev rested Sakari Manninen and Markus Granlund after their efforts in Finland’s successful Channel 1 Cup campaign at the weekend. However, another forward who featured in that tournament, Russia’s Alexander Kadeikin, was straight into action for his club and made a big impact on this game.

Kadeikin opened the scoring midway through the first period with the first of his two goals in the game. Spencer Foo soon cancelled that one out but Ufa dominated the opening session and deserved to go into the break with the lead. Early in the second, the visitor put things right when Vladislav Kartayev and Andrei Zubarev’s odd man rush saw the latter beat Jeremy Smith.

That lead was short-lived. Red Star got a power play and Foo converted for his second of the game to make it 2-2. But Kadeikin matched Foo’s two-goal show when he restored Salavat’s lead midway through the session, firing home Viktor Tikhonov’s pass from behind the net.

However, Kunlun was not about to give up. Early in the third period, Jason Fram produced a fine solo effort to tie the game at 3-3. Salavat responded with another dominant display, firing in 18 shots at Smith but failing to break the deadlock in regulation. In overtime, Red Star had a great chance to win it when Ryan Sproul got through on Juha Metsola, but the Finnish goalie shut the door on the home defenseman. Then Philip Larsen and Nikolai Kulemin combined at the other end and the Dane fired home the game winner with Smith forced to cover too many angles at once.

Photo: 20.12.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

Burdasov’s double leads SKA to the summit

SKA St. Petersburg 4 Spartak Moscow 2 (2-1, 2-1, 0-0)

SKA moved clear at the top of the Western Conference thanks to this win and Jokerit’s loss at home to CSKA. The Petersburg club has a one-point advantage over its fellow Army Men and is two ahead of the Finns and Dynamo Moscow.

Spartak, meanwhile, is in the thick of the race for a playoff spot and came into this game hoping to consolidate its grip on seventh place. And the visitor struck first in the fourth minute. Former SKA favorite Jori Lehtera drilled the puck to the slot from the left flank and a kind deflection set up Alexander Khokhlachyov for the opener.

Nikita Gusev almost conjured an immediate response for SKA but Alexei Krasikov had the better of him and the home team had to wait until late in the opening frame to get onto the scoreboard. However, when Jake Virtanen took a minor, Gusev combined with Andrei Kuzmenko to unpick the defense and Anton Burdasov was the beneficiary. Burdasov might have added a second right away when a defensive error enabled him to get clean through on Krasikov’s net. The goalie had the answers to that one, but was beaten in the final seconds of the frame when Daniil Pylenkov buried the rebound from Kirill Marchenko’s shot.

There was more from Kuzmenko and Burdasov in the second period. The 3-1 goal came after Kuzmenko went behind the net to set up Burdasov for a one-timer that brought his second of the game. Then Kuzmenko added a goal of his own late in the frame, winning his battle on the boards, outwitting Emil Pettersson and angling his shot past Krasikov. Spartak needed a quick response to keep the game alive, and got it thanks to young defenseman Alexander Nikishin, who celebrated his recent international debut with his sixth goal of the season.

That proved to be the end of the scoring, although Spartak pushed hard in the third. The visitor’s best opening fell to Sergei Shirokov, who got one-on-one with home goalie Lars Johansson but could not win the duel. In the closing moments, a penalty on Joonas Kemppainen enabled the Red-and-Whites to play 6-on-4 but there was no way through even a depleted SKA rearguard.

Photo: 20.12.21. KHL Championship 2021-2022. SKA (St.Petersburg) - Spartak (Moscow)

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Admiral (Vladivostok) Admiral (Vladivostok)
Amur (Khabarovsk) Amur (Khabarovsk)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
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