Avto wins the battle of the leaders. September 21 round-up

21 September 2018

The Conference leaders met in Finland, and Avtomobilist’s Jakub Kovar frustrated Jokerit to help his team to a 3-0 victory. CSKA also enjoyed a shut-out on the road, blanking Amur. Traktor bounced back from two heavy losses to down Sochi in overtime while Torpedo’s young forward Danil Veryayev scored twice in his team’s 3-2 win over Metallurg. Ak Bars won the Tatarstan derby and Slovan took the verdict in an absorbing encounter in Vladivostok.

Slovan edges a see-saw battle

Admiral Vladivostok 4 Slovan Bratislava 5 (2-1, 1-3, 1-1)

Two teams struggling for form produced an exciting game – and Slovan snapped its three-game losing streak thanks to Michal Repik’s winner.

Admiral, with just one win in six ahead of today’s game, made a bright start and twice held a two-goal lead. Kirill Dyakov and Alexander Chernikov grabbed a pair of early goals, Nick Schaus pulled one back for Slovan, then Sergei Konkov made it 3-1 early in the second period.

But the visitor produced a game-breaking passage of play to turn the game around after Konkov’s strike. Matus Sukel pulled one back soon afterwards then, late in the second period, Jeff Taffe scored twice to give Slovan the lead for the first time. Denis Vikharev tied it up on the power play midway through the third but once again Slovan found a way to get ahead. Repik potted the game winner less than two minutes later.

Another CSKA shut-out

Amur Khabarovsk 0 CSKA Moscow 4 (0-1, 0-2, 0-1)

For the second game running, CSKA eased to a 4-0 victory as it wrapped up its Far East tour with a third victory.

Photo: 21.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Amur (Khabarovsk) – CSKA (Moscow)

As against Red Star on Wednesday, the Army Men started brightly. Andrei Svetlakov opened the scoring in the fourth minute and the visitor spent much of the opening frame on the front foot. However, unlike the game in Shanghai, CSKA only managed one goal. Amur could still entertain hopes of making a game of it.

Russian international Ivan Telegin went a long way towards extinguishing those hopes in the second. First he got the assist on Alexei Marchenko’s goal as CSKA doubled its lead. Then he added a third late in the period to take the game away from the host. Anton Slepyshev added a fourth to collect his second of the season. Lars Johansson made 19 saves for the shut-out.

Kovar denies Jokerit, Avto stays unbeaten

Jokerit Helsinki 0 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 (0-0, 0-0, 0-3)

Avtomobilist won the clash of the leaders in Helsinki – but the Eastern Conference team had to withstand intense pressure from Jokerit before continuing its unbeaten start to the season.

In the early exchanges the home team had the better of things, and might have claimed a first-period lead after a defensive lapse left Mika Niemi clean through on Jakub Kovar. The Czech goalie saved Avtomobilist there and remained in good form as the host dominated the middle frame as well. Avtomobilist’s best opportunity came on a power play midway through the session when Ilya Krikunov fired against the post, but it was the host that again created the bulk of the chances.

However, Jokerit could not find a way to score and in the last 10 minutes it was punished. Krikunov got the breakthrough in the 51stminute, hitting the target on another power play to put Avtomobilist ahead. The visitor then demonstrated a strong PK, although it rode its luck when Niklas Jensen fired against the bar. Jokerit withdrew goalie Ryan Zapolski in the 58th minute but ended up allowed two empty net goals as Stephane Da Costa and Anatoly Golyshev secured a ninth consecutive win for Avtomobilist. Kovar finished with 29 saves for his shut-out.

Ak Bars celebrates derby success

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 Ak Bars Kazan 2 (1-0, 0-2, 0-0)

Ak Bars came from behind to win the Tatarstan derby – and in doing so, recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Thus far, the Kazan team had alternated victories and defeats since day one. Neftekhimik, meanwhile, saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.

Photo: 21.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) – Ak Bars (Kazan)

The early signs were good for the home team. Juuso Puustinen opened the scoring in the 14th minute with the teams reduced to 4-on-3 hockey after a string of penalties. The Finn stretched his productive streak to seven games (6+3 points) but was destined to finish on the losing side.

That was due to a pair of goals two minutes apart in the second period. Alexei Potapov tied the scores before Vladimir Tkachyov potted the winner.

The third session started with a fight between Mikhail Glukhov and Dmitry Ogurtsov and continued with Neftekhimik taking the fight to Ak Bars. However, there was no way back for the host as 23-year-old goalies Vladislav Podyapolsky strengthened his claim to the #1 spot with 37 saves for the win.

Veryayev’s double helps Torpedo sink Magnitka

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 (1-1, 2-1, 0-0)

Danil Veryayev scored his first goals of the season as Torpedo edged past Metallurg. The 20-year-old forward has been trusted with a bigger role for his team this season, and repaid that faith when he twice put the home team ahead here.

Photo: 21.09.18. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) – Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)

Metallurg managed to tie the game on both occasions though, with Viktor Antipin to the fore. The defenseman scored his team’s first equalizer, then had an assist as Dennis Rasmussen made it 2-2.

Parity was short-lived second time around. Denis Parshin got the winner just 25 seconds after Rasmussen’s goal.

Isayev’s late, late strike snatches victory for Traktor

HC Sochi 3 Traktor Chelyabinsk 4 OT (1-1, 1-1, 1-1, 0-1)

After a nightmare couple of games that saw Traktor allow 14 goals and score just once, the trip to Sochi was something of a rest cure.

Crucially, the visitor scored first: Nikita Nikitin fired home from the blue line in the seventh minute. Stepan Starkov’s first KHL goal tied the scores, but the second period followed a similar pattern to the first. Vitaly Kravtsov’s one-timer at the midway point restored Traktor’s lead, Dmitry Arkhipov made it 2-2.

In the third, Sochi got ahead for the first time through Stanislav Bocharov’s breakaway, but Traktor’s forecheck immediately forced a defensive error and enabled Ryan Stoa to respond. Into overtime, and young defenseman Igor Isayev scored only his second KHL goal to win it in the final seconds of play.

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