After a 6-0 victory over Barys, Avangard hoped it might have turned the corner at last. The Hawks’ strike force finally hit top form, blowing away the Kazakhs to record the team’s best result of the season. However, a stubborn performance from Admiral brought that revival to a juddering halt. Nikita Serebryakov stopped 45 shots before Alexander Gorshkov got the only goal in overtime.
Mikhail Kravets made just one change to the team that won so handsomely earlier in the week. Dmitry Shevchenko took the place of Yegor Kruzhenkov on the fourth line. The main change for Admiral saw Rudolf Cerveny replace Mark Verba.
In the opening stages, Avangard’s first line was, once again, to the fore. Vladimir Tkachyov, Corban Knight and Reid Boucher moved the puck better than the rest and generated more shots than their team-mates. However, they could not find a way past Serebryakov. Admiral’s defense was better organized than other recent visitor to Omsk and the Sailors mustered an occasional goal threat of their own. Michal Kristof’s one-on-one rush came close to opening the scoring at the other end.
In the second period, Serebryakov stepped up his game. When Avangard got the first power play of the night, the Admiral goalie stood on his head to keep the scoresheet blank. Even at equal strength, he got little respite. After the game, Avangard forward Sergei Tolchinsky admitted that the goalie pulled off at least 10 unbelievable saves.
The last of those came in overtime when Avangard had a penalty shot to win it. Tolchinsky was nominated to make the attempt but could not beat Serebryakov yet again. That miss was punished at the other end when Gorshkov finally solved Vasily Demchenko at the other end to give the visitor a surprise win.
The latest Ural derby turned into a tense affair. Metallurg thought it had the game done in 40 minutes after opening a 4-1 lead, but Traktor hit back in the third to set up a nerve-jangling finish.
Anton Burdasov has made a habit of scoring early goals this season. Today he found the net after four minutes, albeit thanks to a somewhat involuntary bounce following Sergei Shumakov’s attempt. A deflected opener brought a deflected reply, this time credited to Yegor Yakovlev after his point shot bounced off Kirill Kapustin and into the Traktor net.
Midway through the opening frame, Nikolai Goldobin’s power play goal needed no outside intervention to beat Ilya Proskuryakov. His one-timer came off a great feed from Maxim Karpov – once a prospect in Traktor’s juniors – to put Metallurg in front.
After getting in front, Magnitka began to dominate the game. In the second period, that translated into further goals. Grigory Dronov made it 3-1 in the 33rd minute. The defenseman did well to keep the puck in the zone on the blue line, then picked out Karpov behind the net before moving to the slot to score off the return pass. And Karpov had another wonder pass in his locker, setting up a second goal for Goldobin just before the intermission.
Up 4-1, Metalllurg then decided to make things interesting. As Dronov later admitted, they needed to play differently in the third period and protect their lead without alarm. Instead, Alexei Byvaltsev pulled a goal back, then Sergei Kalinin added a power play tally with seven-and-a-half to play. That gave Traktor hope of saving the game, but the fightback fell short as Metallurg consolidated its position atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Alexei Murygin made his Kunlun debut, and finished it with a win. The experienced goalie, released by Neftekhimik earlier this season, is on a try-out with the Dragons. After a difficult spell in Nizhenkamsk, the 35-year-old surely relished this one.
However, while his 31 saves played a big role in winning the game, Murygin was not the only important player on the Dragons roster. Zac Leslie and Devin Brosseau both had two points in the game, while Tyler Wong marked his return from injury with a helper on Brosseau’s game-winner.
Neftekhimik also had plenty to say in this one. Danila Popov put the visitor ahead after five minutes. However, Jack Rodewald extended his productive streak with the equalizer midway through the session. Rodewald 5 (3+2) points from his last four games.
Neither team took a penalty in the first period, but 18 seconds after the restart Kirill Vorobyov went to the box and Red Star quickly converted the power play through captain Brandon Yip. As if making up for lost time, the teams quickly took more penalties, and Neftekhimik’s tying goal came during a 4-on-3 power play. Hunter Shinkaruk got his first goal for his new club, and scored it in the net of one of his previous teams. However, it wasn’t long before Red Star regained the lead. Leslie joined Brosseau’s breakaway and fired home from the right-hand channel.
At the start of the third, Kunlun found itself down to three skaters but managed to kill that penalty. Neftekhimik did not help its cause, taking a too many men call along the way. With everyone back at full strength, the Dragons made it 4-2 when Brosseau stuffed home the rebound after Wong set up Dmitry Kostenko for a shot.
That two-goal lead was too much for Neftekhimik. Andrei Tikhomirov rushed to the bench on 56 minutes and the delayed penalty saw Pavel Poryadin quickly reduce the deficit. However, that was as close as the visitor got to preventing Red Star from snapping a four-game skid.
Lokomotiv turned around the formbook to move clear of Torpedo and keep its place in the top four in the West. Coming into the game, the Railwaymen suffered back-to-back losses in Minsk and Petersburg, while Torpedo had three home wins over Sochi, Dynamo and Kunlun.
Today, though, Igor Larionov’s team failed to score for the first time in more than a month. Its previous shut-out came in a 0-3 loss at SKA; today Ivan Bocharov stopped 25 shots to deny the visitor.
At the other end, Lokomotiv got ahead midway through the first period thanks to a power play goal from Artur Kayumov. The home team patiently moved the puck around the zone, and Kayumov was on hand to finish off a well-worked move.
Despite Lokomotiv’s lead, the game was evenly poised. Both teams created opportunities, but Bocharov and Adam Huska were on good form between the piping. In the end, Torpedo’s eagerness led it down. Going into the closing moments, Larionov’s team was looking to force the tempo. Unfortunately, that led to a too many men call and handed Loko a power play with two minutes left. Despite the numerical shortfall, Torpedo called Huska to the bench and tried to find a tying goal, only to be caught on the counter as Kayumov scored his second of the game into an empty net.
Dynamo battled back from 1-3 to force overtime against SKA, coming close to grabbing a second win of the season against the league leader. Considering Roman Rotenberg’s team has lost just three games this season, that’s some achievement for Alexei Kudashov’s players – particularly considering their poor recent form. However, the visitor maintained its winning streak after taking a shoot-out verdict. Petersburg remains way out in front in the West.
The Blue-and-Whites lost four of their last five, losing ground at the top of the Western Conference. It seemed that pattern was destined to continue as SKA took the early initiative in Moscow. Dmitrij Jaskin opened the scoring against his former club, then Damir Zhafyarov doubled the lead in the eighth minute. That forced a change of goalie, with Konstantin Volkov taking over from Ilya Konovalov.
The home defense continued to struggle and another error almost presented Zhafyarov with his second of the game. A quick counterattack saw Ivan Muranov pull one back for the home team, but soon afterwards Dynamo was down to three skaters and Jaskin took advantage with his second of the game. As the power play continued, Marat Khairullin came close to adding a fourth and the beleaguered Blue and Whites were relieved to make it to the break with no further damage.
After the intermission, the game changed. Dynamo improved significantly, enjoying a territorial advantage in the second session and starting to test Alexander Samonov with greater urgency. Late in the frame, Ilya Kablukov, twice a Gagarin Cup winner in Petersburg, scored on his former club to make it a one-goal game.
Now the host had something to believe in. The third period saw more pressure on Samonov’s net and, eventually, SKA wobbled. Jaskin took a penalty and Eric O’Dell converted the power play to tie the game. Moments after that, Yegor Bryzgalov put a good chance over the bar a Dynamo looked to turn its momentum into victory.
However, it was not to be. SKA survived to take the game to a shoot-out, and Samonov proved unbeatable as Jaskin and Mikhail Vorobyov found the net to keep the league leader out in front.