KHL Game Day Round-Up | September 25, 2022

Four goals for Sharov, power play goals for Ak Bars.

Alexander Sharov produced the individual performance of the day, scoring four as Sibir edged Vityaz in overtime. Ak Bars finally got a power play goal – and followed it with another almost immediately to recover and beat Traktor. Avangard continued Neftekhimik’s miserable streak, winning 3-2 in Nizhnekamsk to make it 10 straight losses for the home team. Sochi, another struggling team, took Amur to overtime before losing to Vladislav Barulin’s second of the game.

Sharov shoots down Vityaz

Vityaz Moscow Region 4 Sibir Novosibirsk 5 OT (1-3, 2-0, 1-1, 0-1)

Alexander Sharov scored four goals to lead Sibir to an overtime verdict against Vityaz. In doing so, the 26-year-old became the first man to score four times for the Siberians in a KHL game. Sharov is one of the club’s longest-serving players, and recent celebrated his 300th game since joining back in 2017.

Although Sunday’s game turned out to be all about Sharov, it started very differently. Vityaz, looking to bounce back following five straight losses, made a bright start and opened the scoring on the game’s first power play. Vladimir Galuzin found the net in the third minute. The penalties kept coming, though, and after the home team’s Ilya Arkalov completed a roughing minor, he found himself back in the box almost immediately. That helped Vladimir Butuzov tie the game in the seventh minute.

The next infringement saw Sibir on the power play again, and this time Sharov needed just six seconds to convert the opportunity and give his team the lead. His second came in the 17th minute, Sibir seemingly in control.

However, the second period brought a home fightback. Jeremy Roy and Alexei Volgin put Vityaz back on level terms and set up an intriguing finale. The third frame saw Sharov and Galuzin trade markers to send the action into overtime. In the extras, inevitably, Sharov had the final say: on 63:22 he potted the winner to keep his team in the top four in the East.

Power play delivers at last for Ak Bars

Ak Bars Kazan 3 Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 (1-0, 0-2, 2-0)

Ak Bars scored its first power play goal of the season on the way to a hard-fought victory over Traktor. This was a game between two teams who entered the season with high expectations but who, for various reasons, had not lived up to their billing.

Traktor, a conference finalist last season, has been plagued by inconsistency and remains in 10th in the East after today’s loss. Ak Bars is in a perfectly respectable third place but, so far, Oleg Znarok’s star-studded roster has yet to hit the heights expected of it in pre-season.

One of the issues for Kazan has been a weak power play. Prior to Sunday, Ak Bars had not scored when it had a man advantage in any of its eight KHL games to date. By the time Slava Voynov found the net in the 43rd minute, 32 power plays had gone by without troubling the scoreboard. That all changed early in the third period today when Stanislav Galiyev fed the puck back to the blue line and Voynov’s slap shot broke the curse.

It was an important goal in the context of the game as well. Traktor took a 2-1 lead into the third period and showed signs a sending Ak Bars to a second successive home defeat. Instead, another power play goal – this time scored by Galiyev off assists from Alexander Radulov and Vadim Shipachyov – put Kazan in front and that 3-2 lead was enough to secure the win.

Earlier, Kirill Panyukov gave the home team an early lead. Ak Bars went on to dominate the first period but could not add to that third-minute marker. In the middle frame, Traktor turned the tables to lead 2-1. Artyom Blazhiyevsky tied it up midway through the session, then a power play goal from Sergei Telegin saw the visitor take a lead into the second intermission. But once the Ak Bars power play hit its stride, the game turned in the host’s favor.

Yakupov sends hometown team spinning to 10th defeat

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 Avangard Omsk 3 (1-2, 0-0, 1-1)

Neftekhimik fell to a tenth successive loss and remains rooted to the foot of the standings after Nail Yakupov’s goal separated the teams in Nizhnekamsk.

There’s a certain irony in Yakupov deciding this game. As a youngster, he learned the game at Neftekhimik, his hometown team, and made his KHL debut here during the 2012/13 NHL lockout. Today, though, he delivered the killer blow to his former club, restoring Avangard’s lead just 36 seconds after Pavel Poryadin tied the game at 2-2.

This defeat feels like another near miss for Neftekhimik. In recent games, Oleg Leontyev’s men have often come close to victory, only to slip up at vital moments. Sunday was similar. Mikhail Nazarov’s third-minute goal gave the home team a great start, but midway through the first period everything went wrong. Ivan Telegin tied the scores with a power play goal, but the Neftekhimik bench was adamant that goalie Andrei Tikhomirov was fouled as Telegin attempted to screen Alexei Bereglazov’s shot. A bench challenge failed to overturn the on-ice verdict, though, and the subsequent minor penalty saw Telegin score again to put Avangard in front.

Poryadin managed to tie the game in the 50th minute, but just as home fans began to hope for a late revival, Yakupov’s goal gave the Hawks the win.

Barulin’s double defeats Sochi

HC Sochi 1 Amur Khabarovsk 2 OT (1-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-1)

Sochi remains stuck at the foot of the Western Conference but at least had the consolation of taking a point from this game for only the second time this season.

The Leopards have found life tough so far, with goals at a premium except for a 6-3 win over Barys. That game is starting to feel like a happy exception for Andrei Nazarov’s team, however as it risks dropping out of playoff contention in the early months of the season.

Today, Sochi got off to a good start. Nikita Popugayev converted the first power play of the game and the home team led 1-0 after five minutes. That advantage endured through the first two periods, although the warning signs were visible. Amur enjoyed more puck possession throughout the game, and gradually found it was getting more shooting chances.

Early in the third, that turned into a tying goal from Vladislav Barulin and the visitor went on to dominate the closing stages of the game. The third period saw home goalie Alexei Melnichuk make 14 saves, with a further 13 shots blocked as Sochi held on to force overtime. In the extras, though, Barulin struck again to win the game.


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