Salavat Yulaev Ufa 6 Sibir Novosibirsk 0
Young defenseman Zakhar Arzamastsev scored twice to lead Salavat Yulaev to an emphatic win over sorry Sibir.
The 23-year-old got the opening goal after four minutes and also bagged the fifth as Sibir fell apart in the second period. That helped to set up a convincing victory and move Igor Zakharkin’s team to within two points of Chernyshev Division leader Avangard.
The form of another youngster Kirill Kaprizov is another reason for optimism in Ufa. His assist on Arzamstsev’s opener this afternoon meant he had picked up at least one point in eight of his last nine games, taking his tally to 7+6+13 points from that run and 10+10 for the season so far.
Experience is also playing its part, with Linus Omark getting his sixth goal and 27th point of the season and Igor Makarov also finding the net. Dmitry Chernykh got his first of the season and Anton Lazarev scored in the third period to complete the rout.
For Sibir, meanwhile, a season that began with high hopes is starting to slide out of control. Today’s defeat was the seventh in eight and leaves Andrei Skabelka’s team in eighth place going into the international break. That’s below par for the Novosibirsk team in recent years, and its prospects are further blighted by a long-term injury to first-choice goalie Alexander Salak. Here it failed to take advantage of some indisciplined play from Salavat Yulaev – the host had 70 penalty minutes in total – and failed to beat Niklas Svedberg or Andrei Gavrilov from 27 shots on goal.
Vityaz Podolsk 9 Dinamo Minsk 6
An action-packed game saw Vityaz head into the international break on a high, with the Moscow Region team moving into a playoff position at the end of the first phase of the campaign.
In eight previous KHL seasons, Vityaz has never reached a playoff, but under the guidance of Valery Belov the team looks more competitive than ever. Sunday’s victory over Dinamo Minsk was not without its wobbles, but a majestic five-point performance from Jakub Jerabek delivered the result that takes Vityaz up to 40 points, three ahead of Jokerit and level with Dinamo.
Belov’s team got off to great start. After just 13 seconds, Maxim Afinogenov and Alexander Nikulin combined for Alexei Makayev to score. In the third minute, Vityaz had a power play and the same combination repeated the trick, this time within eight seconds of the restart.
Dinamo also has big playoff hopes this season and hit back to tie the game through Rob Klinkhammer and Andrei Stas – but then Jerabek got into the game. The Czech D-man was the key figure in the second period, picking up two assists before scoring a goal of his own as Vityaz opened a 5-3 lead. First he fed Alexei Kopeikin for a shot from the blue line that beat Ben Scrivens. Then he and Kopeikin combined as Mario Kempe made it 4-2. Matt Ellison got one back for the Belarusians but Jerabek wasn’t done. In the 35th minute he capitalized on some slack defense to reinstate that two-goal cushion once again.
Afinogenov made it 6-3 early in the third and that seemed to have settled the outcome, but Dinamo was not yet done. Ilya Shinkevich scored two goals in 19 seconds to put the game back on a knife-edge. But that man Jerabek calmed home nerves with his second of the night, make it 7-5 on a 5-on-3 power play with seven minutes left. There was still time for two more goals: Miro Aaltonen off a Jerabek assist for Vityaz before Alexander Materukhin made it 8-6/. Then Yury Koksharov found the empty net, making it 9-6 and confirming this as the highest-scoring game of the season so far.
Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 Metallurg Novokuznetsk 0
Traktor moved to fifth in the East with a solid victory at home to struggling Metallurg.
Both goals came in the first period, and both were on the power play. First Dmitry Pestunov fired into the roof of the net off Paul Szczechura’s pass across the face of the net to convert a five-on-three power play with one second remaining.
Then Yury Petrov doubled the advantage in the 16th minute, forcing the puck home from close range after Andrei Kareyev had denied Maxim Yakutsenya and Alexander Pankov.
Metallurg improved on a first period that produced just five shots on Traktor’s net, but never looked like getting back into the game. Pavel Francouz finished with 21 saves; Kuznya has now lost nine of the last 10.