Admiral secured its third successive victory and denied Sibir the chance to overtake defending champion Avangard and move into fifth place.
Sibir, which arrived on a two-game winning streak, made a strong start to the game. However, home goalie Nikita Serebryakov was in fine form, snuffing out several dangerous moments. Vyacheslav Litovchenko, Nick Shore and especially Nikita Korotkov all had good chances to open the scoring, but Serebryakov came up with the answer each time.
Admiral, by contrast, waited for Sibir to offer up a chance at the other end. And, when nobody closed down the shooting lane for blue liner Libor Sulak, that chance arrived. Harri Sateri did not see the moment of release and was beaten as the home team opened the scoring in the second period. Even prior to that, the Sailors had a couple of presentable chances to break the deadlock in the middle frame. However, the teams would be level at the second intermission when the home power play broke down and Denis Golubev forced a turnover that took him down the ice to beat Serebryakov at last.
Overall, having weathered that first-period storm, Admiral looked the more likely winner. And so it proved. Midway through the third, an odd-man rush presented Mark Verba with the game-winning goal and Sibir was surprisingly slow to prepare any kind of response. Only in the closing stages, playing 6-on-5, did the visitor pose much of a threat to Serebryakov’s net and by that time the clock was already working against Andrei Martemyanov’s team.
Two late goals gave Neftekhimik victory over table-topping Traktor. The win opens a six-point gap to ninth-placed Amur as the home team looks to secure its playoff place.
Neftekhimik opened the scoring midway through the first period thanks to Eduard Gimatov. Traktor responded almost immediately through Andrei Stas, but the home team finished the opening frame in front thanks to yet another goal from Vyacheslav Leshchenko. After joining Neftekhimik from Vityaz, Leshchenko scored in each of his first seven games; today he moved to eight goals in 10 games for his new club. That’s the most prolific spell in the 26-year-old’s much-travelled career to date.
Traktor, though, was defending a seven-game winning streak and began the second period in determined fashion. That effort was rewarded, but not until late in the middle frame when Lukas Sedlak converted Artyom Shvaryov’s feed to tie it up going into the third.
For much of the third period, defenses were on top. Indeed, overtime was looking inevitable by the time Pavel Poryadin changed everything with a couple of minutes to go. The Neftekhimik forward pounced on an error by Traktor defenseman Nick Bailen before racing into the visitor’s zone and firing into the far corner of Roman Will’s net. The league leader called Will to the bench in search of another tying goal, but instead Dan Sexton put Neftekhimik’s fourth into the empty net to seal the deal.