Avangard’s skid continues
A 5-3 loss to Barys saw Avangard’s losing streak extend to six games this season. Despite a third-period rally, the visitor was unable to recover from 1-4 and is still seeking its first win. Elsewhere, it was a good day for goalies with Eddie Pasquale and Nikita Serebryakov recording shut-outs as Metallurg and Admiral defeated Amur and Salavat Yulaev respectively.
Maillet scores twice as Pasquale denies Amur
Eddie Pasquale submitted an early entry for save of the season as Metallurg blanked Amur. The Canadian’s big moment came late in the second period, with the Tigers pressing on a power play. The puck broke for Evgeny Oksentyuk and the young Belarusian forward must have believed he had his first KHL goal when he fired a shot at the open corner of Pasquale’s net. But the netminder was having none of it, pulling off a spectacular glove save to deny the 21-year-old.
That was the pick of Pasquale’s 36 stops and he, along with Philippe Maillet, was the principal architect of this win. Maillet, meanwhile, opened the scoring in the eighth minute after a great feed from Yegor Korobkin and doubled the lead on the power play early in the middle frame. That moves him to five goals for the season, leading his team on that count.
Pasquale’s stop preserved that 2-0 lead for the Steelmen and dealt a big blow to Amur’s hopes of saving the game. In the third period, the visitor had the better of the game and sealed the win with an empty net goal from Denis Zernov.
Serebryakov blanks Ufa
While Metallurg was shutting out Amur, Admiral did the same thing to Salavat Yulaev in Thursday’s other early game. Nikita Serebryakov was the home hero, stopping 32 shots to deny Ufa in this game.
This was the first of two games in Vladivostok for Salavat Yulaev – the teams meet again on Saturday – and it was something of a goaltending duel between Serebryakov and Ilya Ezhov. The first period finished goalless, with the home team having a slightly harder time keeping its goal intact. So when Mark Verba took a major penalty for Admiral midway through the second, it should have been the foundation from which the visitor took control of the game.
This didn’t happen. Ufa moved the puck around nicely but found little end product. Then a too many men call wiped out the power play, and Alexander Chmelevski’s boarding offense had Admiral on the PP. Just as the play got back to 4-on-4, Libor Sulak’s pass found Alexander Gorshkov for the opening goal. Sulak is emerging as the key man on the Admiral PP, and four minutes later he scored himself while Mikhail Naumenkov sat out an interference call.
With a two-goal advantage to defend, Admiral played out a cautious third period. Salavat Yulaev was unable to make inroads and slipped to a fourth loss in six games.
Louis scores twice as Hawks lose again
Avangard’s miserable start to the season continued with a sixth successive loss. Today’s reverse in Kazakhstan leaves the Hawks with just one point so far. Only Neftekhimik is similarly poorly-placed, and the Nizhnekamsk team has played one game less.
Barys came into Thursday’s game boosted by its first victory of the season against Traktor. That coincided with the first game of the season in Nur-Sultan, something not lost on Avangard as it continues a long road trip before getting to open its new arena in Omsk on Oct. 1. After today’s game, head coach Dmitry Ryabykin admitted that life on the road was tough for his team.
Ryabykin could also be forgiven for feeling that fortune is against the Hawks right now. In the first period, his players were causing plenty of problems for Barys and there were good chances for Arseny Gritsyuk, Nail Yakupov and Vladimir Tkachyov before Sergei Tolchinsky spurned the best look of them all. Nikita Boyarkin did well in the home net … and Barys snatched a lead just before the hooter. The goal went to Ansar Shaikhmeddenov, a youngster listed as the 13th forward, who scored his first in the KHL.
The home team looked good for much of the second period, and extended its lead through Anthony Louis in the 36th minute. Tkachyov struck back six seconds before the break, though, giving Avangard hope of saving the game.
Two goals in 90 seconds early in the third effectively extinguished that hope. Louis assisted as Ivan Mishchenko made it 3-1, then Linden Vey added a fourth. Avangard tried to fight back and strikes from Tolchinsky and Vladimir Bryukvin set up a tense finale. However, the task was too big for the visitor and Louis wrapped up it with an empty net goal to prolong Avangard’s problems. The teams meet again tomorrow, with the Hawks looking for a win at the seventh attempt.