SKA hits Admiral for six, Sato makes a piece of history.
SKA was the day’s top scorer, defeating Admiral 6-1 to register its biggest win of the season. Torpedo had an important 3-1 success at Lokomotiv, with Yu Sato becoming the first Japanese player to score a point in the KHL. Elsewhere, Sochi snapped a six-game losing streak to beat Dinamo Minsk, Barys got its first win on the road and Traktor moved into the top eight with victory over Kunlun Red Star.
Burdasov leads Traktor into the top eight
Traktor Chelyabinsk 3 Kunlun Red Star 1 (2-0, 0-1, 1-0)
Anton Burdasov scored twice and saw his deflected shot produce another goal for Traktor as his team secured a win that puts it into the top eight in the East.
For Kunlun, meanwhile, the wait for victory on the road goes on. The Chinese team’s hopes were hampered today by an injury that ruled out experience forward Luke Lockhart. Fellow attacking fulcrum Tyler Wong is also unfit, meaning inexperienced Alex Perevalov moved into the visitor’s first line.
In its previous game, a 1-6 loss against Avtomobilist, Red Star was undone by five power play goals. After 71 seconds of today’s game, though, Garet Hunt needlessly tripped an opponent close to the Traktor net and Burdasov scored his first on the power play. That goal came on 2:15; four of Burdasov’s six goals this season were scored within the first four minutes of play.
In the ninth minute, another PP chance saw Traktor double its lead. Burdasov’s shot took a slight, unintentional deflection off Sergei Kalinin on its way into Jeremy Smith’s net. Kalinin was credited with the goal and ended up robbing his team-mate of a hat-trick. Burdasov went on to score Traktor third midway through the final frame, sealing the victory.
For Red Star, when playing at equal strength, this game was a big improvement on the horror show in Yekaterinburg. Indeed, Ryan Sproul’s goal early in the second period ensured that the result was up for grabs until late in the third. However, Greg Ireland’s team is still coming up short in too many key moments of games and remains outside the playoff places in the West.
Huda-show returns to Spartak
Spartak Moscow 1 Barys Nur-Sultan 3 (1-0, 0-0, 0-3)
Barys got its first road win of the season, coming from behind to see off Spartak with a strong third-period display.
The Red-and-Whites opened the scoring in this one inside five minutes when Zakhar Arzamastsev beat Julius Hudacek in the Barys net. Hudacek was by far the busier in the first period; he made 16 saves, compared to four from Spartak’s Patrik Rybar in this clash of two Slovak goalies.
Former Spartak favorite Hudacek continued to frustrate his former club in the second period. After 32 minutes, the overall shot count was 27-4 in Spartak’s favor, but the score remained 1-0. As the middle frame progressed, Barys finally generated some offense, but it was very much Spartak’s game to lose come the second intermission.
However, the final frame changed everything. Barys got on the scoresheet after just 11 seconds on a goal from Jeremy Bracco. Four minutes later, a power play for the visitor saw Arkady Shestakov make it 2-1. Then Yegor Petukhov sealed it in the 54th minute. Hudacek finished with 37 saves, a fresh Huda-show to sink his old team-mates, and Barys celebrated a long-awaited win away from home.
SKA romps to biggest win so far
SKA St. Petersburg 6 Admiral Vladivostok 1 (2-0, 2-0, 2-1)
SKA recorded its biggest victory of the season so far, overpowering Admiral 6-1. Roman Rotenberg’s team opens a seven-point lead at the top of the Western Conference.
Even before the start of the game, there was good news for the home team. Young forward Matvei Michkov, reckoned to be one of the brightest prospects in Russian hockey, returned to the team after missing two months through injury. Named as the 13th forward, the 17-year-old did not make it onto the ice until the third period, but the sight of him back in a SKA uniform is hugely encouraging.
The home team wasted little time in seizing the initiative. The early exchanges were one-way traffic, and the opening goal arrived in the fourth minute. SKA won an attacking face-off, Andrei Pedan fired in a shot and Dmitrij Jaskin was ready on the slot to get the puck into the net. Ten minutes late, the second goal arrived. Stepan Falkovsky’s shot was blocked, but Emil Galimov got himself to the slot and forced home the loose puck.
For all the home team dominated, Admiral’s hard work on defense put a limit on the number of scoring chances SKA could create. Pavel Khomchenko faced just 10 shots in the first period, and nine in the second. Nonetheless, these were high percentage shots from the host. Midway through the game, Dmitry Buchelnikov made it 3-0 after Garipov arranged a quick counterattack with Marat Khairullin.
Little had been seen of the Admiral offense until late in the second period when Libor Sulak stepped up to fire in a dangerous shot from the left-hand channel. His effort beat Dmitry Nikolayev in the home net but clipped the post and went wide. Moments later, SKA had its fourth when Valentin Zykov released Alexander Volkov, who powered past a defenseman before outwitting Khomchenko.
The third period began with SKA on the penalty kill, but Admiral allowed a short-handed goal for Igor Ozhiganov and fell further behind. There was some consolation when Rudolf Cerveny pulled a goal back in the 48th minute. Arguably the greatest beneficiary of that was 18-year-old goalie Sergei Ivanov. With Nikolayev unable to record a second successive shut-out and the game clearly beyond Admiral’s reach, Ivanov came on for his first action in the KHL.
The main action he saw involved a fight between Pedan and Admiral’s forward Mark Verba. However, the youngster also kept his goal intact for the remaining 12 minutes, while Alexander Nikishin added a sixth late in the game for SKA.
Torpedo edges win after video review
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 (1-0, 0-1, 0-2)
Torpedo came from behind to beat Lokomotiv, but this game hung on an incident midway through the third period.
Lokomotiv was trailing 1-2 when Dmitry Simashev fired in a wrister from the blue line. The shot took a deflection off Denis Alexeyev’s stick and dropped into the net. However, the video judge called for a review and, after a long check, the officials ruled that Alexeyev’s stick was high and the goal was ruled out.
At that stage, the home team was dominating the play in the third period, but the reprieve lifted Torpedo. Mikhail Orlov sent Kirill Voronin clean through and the visiting forward finished off the move to make it 3-1 with barely four minutes to play.
Earlier, Lokomotiv had opened the scoring in an evenly matched first period. Maxim Shalunov’s one-timer converted the host’s second power play of the game and separated the teams at the intermission.
In the middle frame, Torpedo tied it up thanks to a goal from former Loko man Nikolai Kovalenko. The home bench challenged the play, citing interference on goalie Ivan Bocharov, but the on-ice verdict was upheld by the review and the Railwaymen had to survive a bench minor for delaying the game.
At the start of the third, Orlov skated clear to make it 2-1 for Torpedo. The goal was notable for an assist from Yu Sato, who becomes the first Japanese player to register a point in the KHL. Orlov’s goal proved to be the gamewinner, lifting Torpedo to third place, two clear of tonight’s opponent.
Relief as Sochi snaps skid
HC Sochi 3 Dinamo Minsk 1 (2-1, 0-0, 1-0)
Sochi recorded only its second win of the season, defeating Dinamo to snap a six-game skid.
When Dinamo opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Sergei Sapego, it looked as though Sochi was on the way to a seventh successive defeat. However, the Leopards turned it around late in the first period.
A penalty on Alexei Emelin gave Sochi its first power play of the game. Six seconds later, the home team had its first goal with a play straight off the coach’s clipboard. Nikita Zorkin played the puck in from the point, Artur Tyanulin delivered an instinctive feed to the far post and Artyom Nikolayev was there to finish it off. Zorkin and Nikolayev were involved again in the final seconds of the period as Kirill Petkov made it 2-1 with 1.6 seconds remaining on the clock.
Stirred, Dinamo looked to get back into the game. In the first four minutes of the second period, Sochi’s defense blocked five shots and that was the story of the session. The Bison enjoyed the territorial edge but could not find the opportunities it needed to test Maxim Tretyak in the home net.
In the third period, Sochi extended its lead through Nikita Tochitsky’s 52nd-minute goal and went on to secure a much-needed win.