SKA maintains winning start, CSKA strikes late to beat Vityaz
SKA and CSKA battled back to win in the West, Dynamo enjoyed a debut shut-out from goalie Konstantin Volkov and Sergei Shirokov sank his former club in Wednesday’s KHL action.
Shirokov treble sinks Spartak
Sergei Shirokov swapped Spartak for Avtomobilist in the summer. Today was his first meeting with his former team-mates and the experienced forward enjoyed the reunion. Shirokov hit a hat-trick to lead the Motormen to victory and lift the club to the Eastern Conference summit.
The game promised a contrast in styles. Avtomobilist has been playing energetic, attacking hockey while Spartak adopts a more cautious approach. In the early stages, that was visible. The visitor focused on puck possession and steadily turned the screws on a home team that struggled to generate its usual offense. In the 16th minute, Andrei Loktionov converted a power play to give Spartak a deserved lead but Shirokov’s first of the game tied it up before the intermission.
Much of the second period was evenly matched, with both goalies having plenty to do and neither side able to establish a clear advantage. Six seconds before the break, though, Shirokov grabbed his second of the goal, this time on the power play. It was a lead that Avtomobilist would not relinquish.
Spartak was unable to make inroads in the first 10 minutes of the final frame. Then, another player facing his former club made a decisive – but this time unwanted – contribution. Spartak defenseman Zakhar Arzamastsev was uncharacteristically lax in possession, allowing Stepan Khripunov to steal the puck away and make it 3-1. That put the game out of the visitor’s reach and Shirokov wrapped up a great day for him and his team when he scored his third goal into an empty net.
Shipachyov goal gives Ak Bars the verdict
Ak Bars came from behind to snap Torpedo’s three-game streak, with Vadim Shipachyov potting the game-winning goal for the second time this season.
The captain stepped up in 49th minute, getting into position to steer the puck into the net from close range after Kirill Adamchuk’s lopping shot from the point found its way to the danger zone.
That completed a home recovery after Vasily Atanasov grabbed his second goal of the season to give Torpedo the lead. The forward celebrates his 20th birthday next Sunday and is already showing signs of establishing himself in this league.
Today, though, the youngster was not destined to finish on the winning team. Although Torpedo shaded the first period, Ak Bars was much better in the second. Kirill Semyonov tied the game before the visitor ran into penalty trouble and found itself soaking up the pressure. The final frame saw more of Torpedo as an attacking force, but Shipachyov got the only goal to give Ak Bars the edge.
Korshkov pays the penalty as SKA strikes back
Table-topping SKA faced a thorough examination at Lokomotiv. The Railwaymen recovered from losing an early goal to lead at the second intermission, only for Yegor Korshkov’s foul to have far-reaching consequences.
Eight minutes into the third period, with his team leading 2-1 and on the power play, Korshkov was battling for position on the slot with Andrei Pedan. As the puck went back to the blue line, the Lokomotiv forward lashed out with his stick, felling his opponent with a blow to the knee. A video review assessed it a major penalty and Korshkov was out of the game.
Shortly afterwards, with SKA still on the power play, Marat Khairullin produced a devastating wrist shot from the left-hand circle to extend his goal streak to four games.
Then, with 75 seconds to play, Damir Zhafyarov advanced down the right-hand flank and his superb feed picked out the unmarked Mikhail Vorobyov at the far post. The forward had a straightforward task to steer the puck into the net and grab a late winner for the visitor.
That goal preserved the KHL’s only unbeaten record, but Lokomotiv showed that SKA can be beaten. Valentin Zykov put the visitor up late in the first period with a power play goal assisted by Khairullin. In the second, Lokomotiv hit back. Maxim Shalunov scored twice to give the home team the lead and put SKA’s winning start in jeopardy. But Korshkov’s slash changed the course of this game.
Slow start can’t stop Severstal
Severstal bounced back from a slow start to snap Dinamo’s two-game winning streak. Two goals from Daniil Vovchenko led the way for the home team.
After losing to SKA in its previous outing, the Steelmen seemed to suffer something of a hangover early in this one. Dinamo jumped to a 2-0 lead inside five minutes on goals from Dmitry Sokolov and Brandon Kozun. However, Maxim Kazakov pulled one back right away, and Vovchenko’s first of the evening tied the scores before the first break.
Two goals in 36 seconds decided the outcome of this one. After five minutes of the middle frame, Severstal took control when Alexander Petunin put the home team ahead and Vovchenko got his second to open up some breathing space. Visiting goalie Konstantin Shostak, on loan to Dinamo from Severstal this season, saw his return to Cherepovets cut short as he was replaced with Alexei Kolosov on 26:18.
Early in the third, Igor Geraskin added a fifth goal for the host, ending any hope of a Dinamo comeback. Andrei Razin’s team collected its fourth win in six games and drew level with the Belarusians on eight points.
Debut shut-out for Volkov
Since opening the season with a 2-0 win over Ak Bars, Dynamo’s start has been quietly efficient rather than headline-grabbing. Nevertheless, Alexei Kudashov’s team, extensively rebuilt after a summer exodus of star names, recorded its fifth win in six games after edging past Sochi.
Not for the first time, strong goaltending played a big part in the Blue-and-White success. However, with Ilya Konovalov rested, today it was Konstantin Volkov’s turn to impress. The 24-year-old had a long wait for his KHL debut. In 2017-2018 he dressed for a few games with SKA, but never got on the ice. Then came three years in the VHL, followed by a season with Assat in Finland. Today, though, Volkov got his chance – and finished with a shut-out.
At the other end, Maxim Tretyak, another goalie who took time to establish himself at this level, also did well to keep the home team at bay. However, he was beaten in the 35th minute when Vladislav Kodola converted Maxim Dzhioshvili’s pass from behind the net to break the deadlock at last. Sochi was unable to get past Volkov and the game was wrapped up late on when Dmitry Rashevsky found the empty net.
Stubborn Vityaz defeated by CSKA’s late show
After an impressive start at home, Vityaz faced a tough opener on the road. The short trip to Moscow saw Vyacheslav Butsayev’s team take on defending champion CSKA.
Somewhat surprisingly, though, Vityaz went into this game two points clear of Sergei Fedorov’s team. Despite a 2-0 loss to Dynamo last time out, the Balashikha-based club enjoyed its best start to a KHL season and could approach this game with some optimism.
For much of the first period, CSKA had the better of the play. However, with Dmitry Shikin continuing his fine form in the Vityaz net, the home team was unable to find a way through. Then, against the run of play, Scott Wilson got onto Alexei Volgin’s stretch pass and timed his advance perfectly to avoid an offside call on his way to beating Alexander Sharychenkov.
CSKA continued to play its dominant hockey and it was little surprise to see the home team tie the scores with a power play goal early in the second. Mikhail Grigorenko needed just 17 seconds to punish Ilya Arkalov’s foul, smashing home a one-timer off Nikita Nesterov’s feed to end Shikin’s brave resistance.
After that, many expected the home team to march to a convincing win. Vityaz, though, had other ideas. Midway through the game, the visitor regained the lead when Alexander Yaremchuk forced a turnover on the blue line to set up a 2-on-2 rush. Alexander Avtsin’s shot was saved, but defenseman Artyom Borodkin was following up to bury the rebound. Outshot 36-11 through 40 minutes, Vityaz nonetheless held the lead at the second intermission.
Ultimately, though, the home pressure was too much. A delayed penalty helped Sergei Plotnikov tie it up in the 46th minute, then two quick goals put CSKA in control. Vladislav Provolnev gave the host the lead for the first time in the game, then 16 seconds later Prokhor Poltapov doubled the advantage. That was the 19-year-old’s first KHL goal and it effectively ended Vityaz’ hopes. A penalty on Igor Golovkov seconds later added to the visitor’s problems and CSKA eased to a 4-2 win.