24 September 2018
Sergei Shirokov’s overtime winner brought Avangard its ninth win from 10 games despite a brave battle from Amur. In Moscow, Dynamo suffered another defeat as Barys forward Matt Frattin scored 2+1 in a 3-2 overtime success. Kunlun Red Star frustrated Neftekhimik to win 2-0 in Nizhnekamsk, Traktor suffered another heavy defeat and Ak Bars inflicted a 10th successive loss on Sibir.
Traktor suffered another heavy loss – its third in four games – when Salavat Yulaev came visiting on Monday.
The home team’s first period summed up the fate of any roster that fortune is going against it: not long after Igor Polygalov forced a defensive error from the visitor only to see Juha Metsola retrieve the situation, Salavat Yulaev grabbed a short-handed goal in similar circumstances. This time it was Pyotr Khokhryakov who cashed in to open the scoring in the 14th minute.
The first period was tight; the second saw Traktor enjoy the better of the chances – but again fortune went the visitor’s way. In the final moments of the frame, another breakdown on the home power play enabled Alexander Kadeikin to get clear and pot a second short-handed goal of the night for the visitor.
In the final stanza, Salavat ran away with it. Teemu Hartikainen made it 3-0 early in the frame, with an assist from debutant Pavel Koledov following his arrival from Lokomotiv. Midway through the session, Metsola added an assist to his shut-out as Maxim Mayorov added a fourth and Anton Burdasov wrapped up the scoring late on to condemn Traktor to another big loss. With the exception of the 4-3 overtime win in Sochi, the Chelyabinsk team’s last three losses have produced an aggregate score of 1-19.
Red Star picked up its first ever win at Neftekhimik thanks to a solid defensive performance that gave Alexander Lazushin his first shut-out for the club.
The host, however, was left scratching its head after piling up the shots on Lazushin’s net without finding a way past the former Lokomotiv, Dynamo and Lada goalie. The visitor produced a masterclass of disciplined defense from start to finish, twice killing 5-on-3 power plays and blocking 10 shots over the course of the evening to frustrate Andrei Nazarov and his team. And, when the defense stumbled, Lazushin was on hand to rescue the situation, as at the start of the third period when Emil Galimov stole the puck behind the Kunlun net but saw the goalie shut the door on him. The goalie finished with 40 saves.
At the other end, Red Star’s chances were infrequent but dangerous. Veli-Matti Savinainen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, getting the vital touch on Ville Lajunen’s point shot to deceive Ilya Ezhov in the home net. Then, late in the third period, captain Brandon Yip put the game beyond doubt, following up his own dump-and-chase play and arriving in the right place at the right time to tuck away Alexei Volgin misplaced clearance from behind his own net.
Sibir slipped to a 10th successive loss, matching the KHL record for the worst start to a season, but there were some encouraging signs despite defeat at the reigning champion.
Alexander Andriyevsky’s team acquitted itself well against strong opposition and there was no disgrace in losing out by the odd goal in five. Twice behind, Sibir tied the game up in the first two periods before Rob Klinkhammer’s goal early in the third proved too much for the visitor to handle.
The early exchanges were not encouraging. In just the fourth minute Jiri Sekac put Ak Bars in front – a hammer blow for a team low on confidence after a nightmare start to the season. But Charles Bertrand tied it up three minutes later and Sibir was good value for a 1-1 scoreline at the first intermission.
In the second period, Ak Bars looked more comfortable – but could not change the pattern of the scoring. Again the home team went in front, this time thanks to Alexei Potapov. Again, though, Sibir replied with Danil Romantsev’s first goal for the club making it 2-2. Romantsev, a 25-year-old forward, had not found the net since scoring for Lokomotiv in the 2015-16 season but he produced an assured finish from the top of the circle after Dmitry Yudin struggled to deal with a counter-attack.
Early in the third, Ak Bars regained the lead for the third and final time. Klinkhammer’s goal proved decisive; Sibir struggled to keep a foothold in the game during the final stanza and, despite a courageous effort from goalie Alexei Krasikov, Novosibirsk still awaits its first point of the season.
Avangard had to recover from 1-3 down before Sergei Shirokov’s overtime goal settled this game in the home team’s favor.
Amur settled into its game faster, and goals from Tomas Filippi and Igor Rudenkov opened a 2-0 lead in the first period before Ilya Mikheyev got one back for Avangard. Jan Kolar restored the two-goal cushion midway through the second frame, but Cody Franson’s strike in the final second of play tipped the momentum back towards the home team.
Denis Zernov tied it up on the power play in the 47th minute and the same player turned provider in the extras as Shirokov snatched the points for Bob Hartley’s team.
Matt Frattin had a hand in all three goals and scored the overtime winner as Dynamo slipped up at home to Barys.
However, there was disappointment for Roman Starchenko, whose scoring streak ended on 14 games – one shy of matching Brandon Bochenski’s club record. Frattin, though, more than compensated for that with two goals and an assist as Dynamo’s uncertain start to the season continues.
Frattin opened the scoring early in the second period, finishing off a well-worked move involving Andre Petersson and Nikita Mikhailis. The home reply came late in the middle stanza with Ilya Nikulin adding to his record-breaking tally of points from the blue line with a 36th-minute power play goal.
In the third, Juuso Hietanen put Dynamo up with another goal on the PP, only for Kevin Dallman to tie it up with seven minutes to play. The play went to a video review with concerns over a possible hand pass and questions over Dallman encroaching on the crease, but the officials ruled the play good. That took us to overtime and another power play goal, with Frattin this time taking advantage of Nikulin’s spell on the sidelines to force the winner.