Ak Bars wins Green Derby, Sushko hits a hat-trick. September 27 round-up
The big game of the day saw Ak Bars win 3-0 at Salavat Yulaev in the season’s first Green Derby. Kirill Petrov scored twice in that game, but he was outdone by Dynamo’s Maxim Sushko. The Belarusian, who had not previously found the net this season, potted a hat-trick to defeat Avangard. Elsewhere, Neftekhimik won for the first time this season, and Scott Wilson’s double helped Vityaz snap a six-game losing streak.
Petrov’s double and Miftakhov’s shut-out settle Green Derby
Prior to the first ‘Green Derby’ of the season, Ufa with abuzz. Salavat Yulaev’s games against Ak Bars are always a big deal here, but the return of Alexander Radulov – a Gagarin Cup winner in 2011 and a cult figure in Bashkortostan – added extra spice. Radulov has played against Salavat Yulaev several times as a CSKA man, but this would be his first visit in the colors of the home team’s biggest rival.
However, it was 22-year-old goalie Amir Miftakhov who dominated the talk after Tuesday’s game. The youngster, playing in his first Green Derby produced a memorable shut-out. Miftakhov stopped 29 shots to backstop his team to victory. Kirill Petrov had a hand in all three goals, and Dmitry Kagarlitsky had 1+1 in the game.
Salavat Yulaev’s selection problems continue. Josh Ho-Sang’s injury greatly depletes Viktor Kozlov’s attacking options, and when Sergei Shmelyov fell ill prior to the game it was another big blow. Defenseman Viktor Antipin was also missing, prompting Kozlov to recall Stepan Sannikov, Artyom Pimenov and Daniil Skorikov.
With so much at stake, the two teams played cautiously in the first period. The host showed slightly more attacking intent but neither team was unable to open the scoring. Radulov’s most notable contribution was getting the first penalty of the game.
The turning point came in the second period when Salavat defenseman Ryan Murphy was ejected from the game for spearing after he needlessly thrust his stick into Stanislav Galiyev’s midriff. The major penalty led to the opening goal, Petrov firing in a deflected shot after Ilya Safonov got the puck back from behind the net.
As Salavat Yulaev tried to fight back in the third period, a breakdown enabled Kagarlitsky to get clear and he did not waste his opportunity in a one-on-one with Ilya Ezhov. Petrov played a part in releasing Kagarlitsky for that goal, and the favor was returned five minutes later when Kagarlitsky turned provider for another power play goal. That made the final score 3-0 to the visitor in one of the KHL’s biggest rivalry games.
Neftekhimik wins at last
After 10 straight defeats and an extensive reshaping of the roster, Neftekhimik finally got its first win of the season. An overtime goal from Ansel Galimov was enough to defeat Sibir following a 1-1 tie.
The home team got off to a good start, with Pavel Poryadin opening the scoring in the seventh minute. Neftekhimik was value for that lead, outshooting Sibir 13-7 in the first period.
Neither team scored in the second, with Neftekhimik maintaining its slight overall advantage and recently-signed goalie Emil Garipov dealing with all that came his way. However, early in the third, Trevor Murphy fired home an equalizer for Sibir.
That took the game to overtime, where Galimov spotted an opportunity to rush at the visiting defense. The Neftekhimik forward found a gap and surged to the net before beating Denis Kostin to win the game.
Wilson leads Vityaz to victory
Vityaz snapped a six-game losing streak after edging a tight home win over Amur. The Tigers were unable to build on Sunday’s overtime win at Sochi and remain outside the playoff places.
Scott Wilson was the key man for the home team. The Canadian center opened the scoring with a power play goal in the first period, winning the puck on the boards and heading for the faceoff spot before shooting home.
Amur tied it up in the second period thanks to Yaroslav Likhachyov’s fifth goal of the season. The 21-year-old continues to impress in the KHL after a high-scoring Junior Hockey League campaign last term. However, it didn’t take long before Wilson restored the Vityaz lead, converting the rebound after a powerful slap shot from Alexander Yaremchuk cannoned back off the boards.
In the third period, Amur was unable to find a response. Vityaz sealed the win when Wilson assisted on an empty net goal for Tyler Graovac.
Sushko shoots down Avangard
Maxim Sushko’s hat-trick lifted Dynamo back to second place in the Western Conference, leading the Blue-and-Whites to a win at home to Avangard.
All of Sushko’s goals came in the third period. The first, in the 50th minute, was a self-made effort, chasing down the puck behind the net before bursting out to put a backhand shot past Vasily Demchenko. Almost immediately, Avangard pulled a goal back through Alexei Bereglazov and the game remained in the balance until the final moments.
Then Sushko scored twice in the last two minutes. First, he found the empty net with 69 seconds to play. Avangard’s frustrations bubbled over, Sergei Tolchinsky went to the box for unsporting conduct, and the subsequent power play saw Sushko complete his hat-trick with 14 seconds remaining.
Earlier, the teams had played out a goalless first period that promised more than it delivered. Both sides had scoring chances, but a combination of good goaltending and poor finishing kept the scoreboard blank at the first intermission.
In the second period, Dynamo got in front thanks to a goal from Pavel Kudryavtsev, pouncing on an error from Avangard’s Alex Broadhurst and stealing the puck before advancing to shoot past Demchenko. Early in the third, Avangard had the puck in the net, but Sergei Tolchinsky’s effort was ruled out after a bench challenge over goaltender interference.
For Avangard, this game marked the end of a 12-game road trip. The Hawks’ next action is on Saturday, when the G-Drive Arena in Omsk opens its doors for the first time in the KHL. Sibir is the opponent in a Siberian derby.