KHL Game Day Round-Up | September 29, 2022

Avto scores five on Ak Bars, O’Dell hits four for Dynamo. September 29

Avtomobilist won the day’s big game, defeating Ak Bars 5-2 in Yekaterinburg. Eric O’Dell had the best individual performance, scoring four in Dynamo’s 5-0 win over Amur. Defending champion CSKA suffered a loss at home to Sibir, with the visitor taking a 3-1 verdict as the Muscovites struggled to turn territorial advantage into goals.

Motormen move into top spot

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 5 Ak Bars Kazan 2 (2-0, 1-2, 2-0)

Avtomobilist’s impressive start to the season has seen the Motormen scoring freely. Nikolai Zavarukhin’s team is unbeaten on home ice and has the most potent power play in the KHL. However, there were still questions about Avto’s early form. Previously seasons have seen Yekaterinburg fade after a bright start and this term there have been few tests against the league’s recognized powerhouses.

A game against Ak Bars promised to answer some of those questions. Not only is Oleg Znarok’s team rated as one of the leading contenders to win the Gagarin Cup this season, the Kazan club also has a good recent record against Avtomobilist. The Ural team had lost its last seven games in this series and hadn’t beaten Ak Bars at home since September 2017.

Avtomobilist got a power play in the first minute, but was unable to force an early goal. After that, there was little danger at either end until the game exploded into life with two goals in the space of a minute. Both had something in common as Avto’s forwards fired the puck through well-wrought triangles: Patrice Cormier finished off the first, then Anatoly Golyshev converted the second after the entire top line got involved.

Not surprisingly, the visitor tried to fight back. However, there were few moments to alarm Igor Bobkov in the home net and Ak Bars frequently ran into trouble in center ice. One such breakdown, midway through the second period, saw young forward Viktor Neuchev burst clear to score his second goal in the KHL.

That chased Timur Bilyalov from the net with Amir Miftakhov taking over. Ak Bars redoubled its pressing game, and finally got some reward with two goals late in the second period. Alexei Vasilevsky gave away possession and Kirill Petrov’s effort fell for Vadim Shipachyov to score. Soon after, Stanislav Galiyev made it a one-goal game following another defensive lapse.

That hinted at a momentum swing going into the third period, but Ak Bars was unable to complete its fightback. Avtomobilist focussed on careful defense, frustrating the visitor and running down the clock. In the closing moments, the home team got two empty net goals, with Brooks Macek and Stepan Khripunov completing the scoring to seal a memorable – and possibly significant – victory that puts Avto back on top in the East.

O’Dell hits four to sink Amur

Dynamo Moscow 5 Amur Khabarovsk 0 (1-0, 1-0, 3-0)

Eric O’Dell scored four in a game for the first time in his KHL career as Dynamo powered past Amur. Previously, O’Dell potted two trebles for Sochi in January 2019 and September 2017.

The pre-game form favored the Blue-and-Whites here: Dynamo was on a three-game winning streak, while Amur had lost five of its last six. However, for much of the first period there wasn’t all that much between the teams. It took a delayed penalty seconds before the intermission for the home team to get in front, with O’Dell enjoying a simple finish following Andrei Mironov’s shot from deep.

Early in the second, Amur’s defense allowed O’Dell too much space in the fae-off circle. As two opponents backed off, the Canadian needed no further invitation and advanced to rifle another goal past Janis Kalnins.

Amur found itself under increasing pressure in the middle frame, but managed to hold on without sustaining further damage. However, a second before the intermission the visitor took a ‘too many men’ call and that proved costly. Just 35 seconds into the final frame, O’Dell added a third to take the game away from the Tigers.

O’Dell still wasn’t done. With five to play, he added a fourth to make this his best individual performance in his 294 KHL games. O’Dell also becomes the 22nd player in KHL history to score four goals in one game, achieving that feat just four days after Sibir’s Alexander Sharov became the 21st name on that illustrious list.

However, the final word went to one of his team-mates. Ivan Muranov made it two goals in a minute as the game finished 5-0. Dynamo reinforces its grip on second place in the West, but remains five points adrift of early pacesetter SKA.

Kostin, Beck too good for CSKA

CSKA Moscow 1 Sibir Novosibirsk 3 (0-1, 0-1, 1-1)

Across town, CSKA faced a more challenging evening against Sibir. Denis Kostin made 38 saves in the visitor’s net and was reprieved by a first-period video review. At the other end, Sibir took its chances – Taylor Beck scoring twice – to record only its sixth regulation time victory over this opponent in KHL play.

CSKA dominated the first period, outshooting Sibir 17-4 and spending almost four times as long on the attack. However, the crucial statistic favored the visitor, which scored only goal of the frame in the eighth minute through Ilya Pastukhov. The Muscovites had the puck in the net on a power play late in the session, but Sibir’s bench challenged the play. Pavel Karnaukhov had both skates firmly on the paint in front of goalie Denis Kostin and the review whistled off the goal for interference on the netminder.

The home team’s problems got worse in the second period. First, Sibir tightened up defensively, stemming the flow of scoring chances for CSKA and building a platform from which to launch more attacks of its own. Then, midway through the session, Taylor Beck doubled the lead.

In the third, CSKA tried to raise the tempo and find a way back into the game. Anton Slepyshev got clean through on Kostin, only to be denied by the visiting goalie. However, the play continued and Mikhail Grigorenko managed to force the puck home for his 100th goal in the KHL.

However, instead of sparking a revival that proved to be the high watermark for the home team. The final minute summed up the game: CSKA removed goalie Alexander Sharychenkov but immediately lost possession and Beck potted his second to seal the win.

Source:en.khl.ru

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