Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 Dinamo Minsk 4
Craig Woodcroft’s team was late in starting this season, but in recent games Dinamo Minsk has been making up for lost time.
Some strong performances – especially in the final minutes of games – moved the Bison steadily up the table, with the likes of Matt Ellison and Alexander Materukhin plundering the points.
This time, though, the Belarusians tried a new tactic. A bright start delivered two goals in eight minutes. Nick Bailen got the opener before Artur Gavrus got the first of two on the night. Gavrus got an assist from goalie Ben Scrivens, who also finished with two points after a helper on Rob Klinkhammer’s third in three games.
Nikita Dvurechensky scored two for Neftekhimik, keeping the home team in contention, but Scrivens caught the eye with his goaltending in the third, making 12 saves to preserve Dinamo’s advantage until the end.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3 Vityaz Podolsk 1
Max Talbot, Lokomotiv’s Stanley Cup-winning summer signing, delivered the kind of game-changing performance he was hired for as the team rebounded from an overtime loss at Dynamo Moscow.
He scored twice in his team’s 3-1 win over an increasingly competitive Vityaz team, taking his tally to five for the season and lifting the Railwaymen to fourth in the Western Conference.
Talbot opened the scoring in the 10th minute and was quick to reinstate the home team’s lead after Evgeny Katichev tied it up in the 35th. Alexander Polunin wrapped it up with a penalty shot late on after Vityaz goalie Harri Sateri was called for throwing his stick.
Lada Togliatti 5 Jokerit Helsinki 2
It’s been a rough start to the season for Jokerit. Just four home games played, and some highly inconsistent results on the road, leaves the Finns outside of the playoff places in the Western Conference. That’s far from what we’ve come to expect from the Helsinki team.
In Togliatti, Jokerit slipped to its third straight loss and its fifth defeat in seven games. This despite Roope Talaja opening the scoring after two-and-a-half minutes and the team holding onto that lead until midway through the second period. But two goals from Maxim Rybin turned the game around and by the time Jesse Joensuu got the Finns’ second of the night, Lada was already on the way to victory after Stanislav Bocharov and Alexander Bumagin extended its advantage. Anton Shenfeld completed the win late on.
For Lada, victory meant a return to the top eight in the East. For Jokerit, a return home for three games at the start of October looks like a vital chance to start climbing the table at last.
Around the league
Former Medvescak goalie Barry Brust suffered a miserable return to Zagreb. He was pulled from the game just before the half-hour after giving up five goals. Thomas Larkin and Alexandre Giroux put Medvescak up late in the first period after a fairly even game up to that point, and the home team pressed its advantage early in the second. Gilbert Brule, Edwin Hedberg and a short-handed marker from Mike Glumac ended any doubt about the outcome of this European derby and saw Milos Riha bring reserve goalie Justin Pogge into the game. Pogge conceded just one more – Giroux getting his second of the night – as Medvescak cruised to a 6-0 victory.
Bottom of the table Dinamo Riga suffered another defeat, going down 2-1 at Ak Bars. The Latvians took the lead in Kazan when Patrick Mullen scored in the 16th minute, but Mikhail Varnakov and Andrei Popov turned it around the second period. Home goalie Emil Garipov made 31 saves to keep his team ahead.