Avangard suffers fourth straight loss, CSKA back on track. September 11 Round-up: Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)
Avtomobilist’s 4-2 win over Avangard leaves the Hawks rock bottom. Four defeats so far this season means Dmitry Ryabykin’s team is the only one without a point so far. CSKA, smarting from two heavy losses in its last two games, responded with a 3-2 victory at Lokomotiv. Earlier, Admiral beat Kunlun 3-1 and Traktor took a shoot-out verdict at Sibir.
Sailors avenge opening loss to Dragons
Admiral Vladivostok 3 Kunlun Red Star 1 (1-0, 1-0, 1-1)
Admiral won its home opener, quickly avenging its 1-3 loss at Red Star 10 days earlier. Captain Libor Sulak led the way with 3 (1+2) points in a game enlivened by a fight involving Mark Verba and the visitor’s Garet Hunt.
Sulak got the opening goal late in an even first period, and Admiral extended its lead early in the second through Evgeny Grachyov. Then Verba and Hunt came to blows in the third: Hunt, just back from a one-game ban following a brawl against Sibir, ultimately forced his opponent to the ice after a bout that got the 5,000-strong crowd excited.
Later, Admiral extended its lead with a power play goal from Michal Kristof, his first since arriving in the KHL. Kunlun got a late consolation through Parker Foo but still slipped to its third loss in four games.
Proskuryakov makes winning return
Sibir Novosibirsk 2 Traktor Chelyabinsk 3 SO (0-1, 1-1, 1-0, 0-0, 0-1)
Ilya Proskuryakov played his first KHL game since 2020 and guided Traktor to a shoot-out win. The goalie, who spent last season with Lada in the VHL, was called into action as the Chelyabinsk team looked to reverse its sluggish start to the season. It was Proskuryakov’s first game in Traktor colors for more than a decade, having last featured in an incredible victory over Ugra in the 2012 playoffs.
With three wins from four games, Sibir went into the game on top of the Eastern Conference. However, it was Traktor – unimpressive in its opening home stand – that made the early pace. Alexei Byvaltsev opened the scoring in the 17th minute, and Teemu Pulkkinen doubled the lead late in the second.
All seemed to be well for Anvar Gatiyatullin’s men, but Taylor Beck managed to pull one back for Sibir before the second intermission. Traktor emerged for the third period with a clear plan to slow down the game and defend its lead, but a double minor on Byvaltsev after he caught Nikita Setdikov in the face with his stick changed all that. Setdikov was just stepping back onto the ice when Nikita Shashkov got the tying goal.
That took us all the way to a shoot-out, where Proskuryakov made a game-winning contribution with four saves. At the other end, Pulkkinen and Pyotr Khokhryakov both found the net to earn Traktor only its second win of the season.
Shirokov’s double deepens Avangard’s misery
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 4 Avangard Omsk 2 (2-1, 1-0, 1-1)
Kunlun’s early season struggles are not as bad as the problems facing Avangard, though. The Hawks were expected to be among the leaders in the East, despite going into the campaign with rookie head coach Dmitry Ryabykin.
So far, that isn’t working out at all. Avangard is the only remaining team without a single point this season and suffered a fourth straight loss at Avtomobilist on Sunday. The pressure is already building on Ryabykin, a club legend as a player finding life tough behind the bench. Today he restored Sergei Tolchinsky to the first line alongside Reid Boucher and Corban Knight, called Fyodor Malykhin into the third line and replaced Ivan Telegin with Nikita Mikhailov.
However, his plans were disrupted from the start. Avtomobilist got on the power play after just 52 seconds. Avangard killed that penalty, but almost immediately found itself shorthanded again. This time, Sergei Shirokov opened the scoring. Soon after, a turnover set up a counterattack and Oleg Li doubled the lead in the eighth minute. Avangard responded with a power play goal of its own from Vladimir Tkachyov, but a lack of composure on the visitor’s offense prevented any further progress.
The middle frame saw Shirokov score again to restore the Motormen’s two-goal advantage. Subsequently, the home team looked to play out the game and protect its lead, only for a breakaway goal from Vladimir Bryukvin to serve as a wake-up call. However, another power play goal, this time from Anatoly Golyshev, took the game away from the visitor which remains rooted to the foot of the KHL standings.
CSKA edges Loko
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 CSKA Moscow 3 (0-2, 1-1, 1-0)
CSKA defeated Lokomotiv for the seventh time in the teams’ last eight meetings. More importantly, perhaps, the defending champion bounced back after losses against Ak Bars (1-5) and Severstal (1-4). For Loko, and former CSKA head coach Igor Nikitin, it was a frustrating evening against an opponent that seems to have something of a hoodoo over the Railwaymen.
This game began with an early Lokomotiv power play. Despite building up some good momentum with the man advantage, the home team was unable to get the opening goal and CSKA punished that with almost its first attack of the evening. Vitaly Abramov broke the deadlock, moving into the zone and putting a wrister beyond Ivan Bocharov. A little later, Nikita Nesterov’s stretch pass released Takhir Mingachyov and the youngster grabbed his first goal of the season.
At that point, the Muscovites were well on top. However, midway through the second period Artyom Ilyenko revived Lokomotiv’s hopes as he marked his return to the team with an important goal. But the fightback stalled immediately. A CSKA power play halted Loko’s surge and Maxim Sorkin got the faintest of touches to redirect a Darren Dietz point shot into the net and make it 3-1.
The third period saw Alexander Polunin pull a goal back, but that was as close as Lokomotiv got. CSKA snapped a two-game losing streak but the home team fell to a second successive defeat at Arena 2000.