For 40 minutes, Spartak dominated this game. The Red-and-Whites enjoyed clear territorial advantage and gave visiting goalie Jeremy Smith plenty of work to do. However, it was not enough to end the home team’s losing streak.
Spartak’s problem was failing to convert its play into goals. Despite being on top for the first two periods, only an Ilya Talaluyev strike seconds before the end of the middle frame separated the teams. That was largely down to yet another impressive performance from Smith in the Red Star net.
At the start of the third, Alexander Khokhlachyov, one of the most active home forwards, spurned a great chance to double the lead – and immediately everything changed. The Dragons rarely generated sustained pressure on Patrik Rybar’s net but when they went forward it was generally effective. Even in the first period, 11 goal attempts forced nine saves out of the Slovak goalie. In the third, he was beaten three times in seven minutes as the game turned upside down.
Jason Fram tied it up, then Ty Schultz conjured up a spectacular effort to put the visitor in front. Within a minute, Brandon Yip made it 3-1. He extended his productive streak to seven games in the process, as did Jack Rodewald with an assist on that breakaway play.
From that point on, the game was done. Spartak kept attacking, but there was little belief that the home team could turn things around. Red Star wrapped up its second win of the season against Boris Mironov’s team.
Traktor came into this game looking to build on back-to-back wins. However, goalie Ilya Proskuryakov, a key figure in the games against Admiral and Amur, started on the bench this time, with Alexei Melnichuk between the piping.
That turned out to be a costly decision. In the first 25 minutes, Melnichuk allowed three goals as Vityaz opened a lead that proved to be decisive.
Alexander Yaremchuk got the visitor started in the fourth minute, outwitting Melnikov with a shot from a tight angle. Late in the opening frame, Stepan Starkov doubled the lead. At the other end, little was scene of Traktor as an attacking force. The home team managed just five shots on goal, three of them from defenseman Albert Yarullin.
Early in the second period, Melnichuk’s evening came to an end. Kirill Rasskazov fired a third goal past him, and Proskuryakov came off the bench to try to change things. Melnichuk might fairly question his defense at times: Rasskazov was left all alone in the circle to score his goal.
Late in the middle frame, Anton Burdasov’s power play goal hinted at a way back for Traktor. However, there would be no sensation in the third. Vityaz added two goals at the start of the final stanza and Maxim Shabanov’s fourth in three games was a mere consolation for the host.
Sochi picked up its first point under new head coach Sergei Svetlov. However, the KHL’s basement team lost out in a shoot-out after a blowing a 3-1 lead, then scoring a last-gasp equalizer to force overtime.
Neither team came into this game with much confidence. Sochi is rooted to the foot of the standings and was on a 10-game losing streak that cost Andrei Nazarov his job as head coach. In that run, the Black Sea team only once made it to overtime. Meanwhile Severstal lost its previous six games to languish outside the playoff places.
The Steelmen missed an early opportunity to boost morale when Yury Platonov missed a penalty shot. Brandom Gormley was also assessed a major penalty for spearing Platonov in the back as he bore down on Mikhail Berdin’s net, but neither penalty shot nor extended power play could bring the home team an opening goal.
However, Severstal did completely dominate the first period, outshooting Sochi 15-1. With four seconds left on the clock, Robin Press converted that into a lead with a power play goal.
In the second period, Sochi transformed itself. Three unanswered goals put the visitor in a commanding position. Dmitry Zavgorodny tied the game within a couple of minutes of the restart, then Nikita Feoktistov’s power play effort put the Leopards in front. Yury Alexandrov added a third and a long losing streak looked to be coming to an end.
In the third period, we saw two out of form teams let slip a winning position. Sochi’s lead evaporated in the space of two minutes midway through the session when Press got his second of the game before Ilya Ivantsov tied the scores. Then Dmitry Moiseyev scored in the 59th minute, seemingly giving Severstal the win.
Sochi had other ideas. Sergei Svetlov’s team went for broke in the final minute and Nikita Popugayev snatched a tying goal six seconds before the hooter. Teams at the foot of the table often have difficulty getting a win over the line, but this was a rare example of two teams managing to blow winning leads.
In the extras, Severstal tried to play without a goalie. The home team also got time on the power play and withdrew Dmitry Shugayev to generate a 5-on-3 advantage. Sochi survived to take the game to a shoot-out, but finished on the losing side when Ruslan Abrosimov was the only player to convert his attempt.