20 September 2018
Kris Versteeg opened his KHL account with two goals as Avangard inflicted a ninth successive loss on Sibir. In Moscow, SKA scored three goals in 203 seconds to send Dynamo to the foot of the Western Conference. There was better news for Dinamo Minsk: an Andrei Kostitsyn hat-trick secured a third win in four games. Lokomotiv edged Vityaz in the day’s other action.
Kris Versteeg, twice a Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, got his first goals in the KHL to lift Avangard to victory over struggling Sibir. Versteeg, a summer signing from Calgary, had scored the shoot-out winner in Avangard’s previous game but these were his first goals in open play since crossing the Atlantic.
Versteeg got the opener in the first period, applying the redirect to a Maxim Berezin shot. That was somewhat harsh on the host, which made a lively start. Dmitry Sayustov showed some promising contributions on his debut: the forward was signed yesterday following news that Jukka Peltola would miss the next month through injury.
The game was settled in the second period. In the space of 45 seconds, the visitor scored twice more on the power play. With Sibir down two men, Versteeg got his second of the game. Then, in 5-on-4 play, Ilya Mikheyev made it three. Nikita Mikhailov pulled one back almost immediately for Sibir, but there was no way for the team to escape its ninth loss of the season.
The game was even until the midway point, but once Teemu Pulkkinen opened the scoring in the 30th minute – the only Kostitsyn-free goal of Dinamo’s evening – the visitor quickly took control. Andrei potted his first two minutes later, then made it three nothing on the power play. Three goals in four minutes left Severstal with too much to do.
Vityaz was left still searching for its first ever victory in Yaroslavl, despite leading twice in the early stages of this absorbing game.
Nikita Komarov put the visitor ahead early on, but Loko replied at once through young Georgy Ivanov. Denis Kokarev, a hugely experienced summer signing for Vityaz, restored the advantage when he got his first goal for his new team and the men from the Moscow Region led 2-1 at the first intermission.
Lokomotiv got back on top in the middle frame, however. Yegor Averin tied it up following an Alexander Yelesin shot and moments later Nikolai Kovalenko put Loko ahead for the first time. Into the third period, the youngster got his second of the game – three for the season, and his first ‘double’ in adult hockey. It was an important goal as well, as Gennady Stolyarov pulled one back for Vityaz to keep the result in doubt until the very end.
SKA wasted little time in disposing of the challenge of Dynamo, firing in three quick goals on the way to a straightforward 4-0 victory.
Within nine minutes of the start, Ilya Vorobyov’s team had a power play goal, a short-handed goal and a marker with the teams at full strength. Dynamo, struggling for form this season, was left reeling and never recovered.
Patrik Hersley got things moving in the fifth minute with a power play effort. Dynamo had a chance to respond quickly when Alexei Kruchinin took a penalty, but instead it was SKA that profited when Viktor Tikhonov scored on the breakaway. A home time-out failed to calm the team, and Alexander Barabanov slotted home a third. Three goals in 3:23 of game time, and goalie Alexander Yeryomenko came back to the bench.
His replacement, Ivan Bocharov, found things slightly easier. It wasn’t until the 47th minute that SKA scored again when Kruchinin got his first since returning to the club from Traktor this summer. But Dynamo never seriously looked like troubling the visitor – and with this defeat, the Blue-and-Whites drop to the foot of the Western Conference.