CSKA’s 5-1 victory at Sibir left the home fans wondering what might have been. The visitor included four former Sibir players on the roster, and they combined for four points in the game. Elsewhere, two debut goals caught the eye. Teddy Purcell potted his first for Avangard, but still finished on the losing side against Jokerit, while Eliezer Sherbatov became the first Israeli player to score in the KHL as he helped Slovan to victory at Ugra. Barys continued its good run with an overtime win at home to Vityaz.
Sibir fell foul of its old boys in a 5-1 home defeat against CSKA.
The visitor included Maxim Shalunov, Sergei Shumakov, Konstantin Okulov and Igor Ozhiganov in its roster – four players who had played for Sibir in the past. And between them, they contributed two goals and two assists in a comfortable victory for the Army Men.
Two goals in three minutes gave CSKA the edge in the first period: Andrei Kuzmenko scored off an Okulov assist in the 16th minute, then Shumakov doubled the lead shortly after. A tight middle frame brought just one goal, Kirill Kaprizov netting on the power play to make it 3-0.
Into the final session, and Ivan Telegin potted a fourth before ex-Sibir team-mates Shumakov and Shalunov combined for the fifth. Vyacheslav Osnovin, who spent last season with CSKA, pulled one back for the home team late on but it was never going to affect the outcome.
Avangard slipped to a fourth consecutive loss as Jokerit recovered from a run of one win in six.
Niklas Jensen gave the visitor the lead in a tight first period, but the game really took off early in the second. First, Antti Pihlstrom extended Jokerit’s advantage, then within a minute Teddy Purcell got his first KHL goal to bring Avangard back into contention. Purcell, 32, is a veteran of almost 600 NHL appearances for LA, Tampa Bay and Edmonton, and came to Russia last month after spending much of last season in the AHL. The Canadian forward got his first goal after overpowering Tommi Kivisto in the corner and skating around Karri Ramo before applying a backhand finish to the top shelf.
It wasn’t enough to spark an Avangard revival, however. Brian O’Neill converted Eeli Tolvanen’s pass to make it 3-1 at the halfway point, and Ramo kept his former club at bay for the rest of the evening. Avangard lost further ground on Barys at the top of the Chernyshev Division, while Jokerit remains third in the Western Conference.
Barys moved to within two points of Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars thanks to Martin St. Pierre’s overtime goal.
He converted Nigel Dawes’ pass in the third minute of the extras, giving his team victory and extending his team-mate’s productive sequence to eight games – 10 goals and five assists.
That snapped a 2-2 tie in regulation. Roman Starchenko and Alexei Semenov traded first-period goals before St. Pierre teed up Kevin Dallman for a power play marker in the 28th minute. That lead lasted until the final stanza, when Jaakko Rissanen hauled Vityaz level with 10 minutes to play.
Eliezer Sherbatov became the first Israeli-born player to score in the KHL as he helped Slovan to a rare win on the road.
The 26-year-old, born in Rehevot, Israel, has a fascinating back story, including making his senior and international debuts at the age of 13 when he skated for Metulla in Israel’s national championship and represented his country at the IIHF u18 World Championship Division III in 2005. He was the youngest player ever to feature in an IIHF u18 event.
After several seasons playing in Kazakhstan, he got his chance to try for the KHL this season when Slovan took him on and claimed his first goal at this level late in the second period of Friday’s game at Ugra. With his team on the power play, Zach Boychuk and Colby Genoway combined to find Sherbatov in space in front of Ilya Proskuryakov’s net and he duly made it 2-0.
At that point, Slovan seemed set for a comfortable victory in this clash of two out-of-form teams. However, Ugra rallied in the third and made life difficult for the visitor. Ondrej Vitasek pulled a goal back early on, and even after Michal Repik made it 3-1 the game wasn’t finished. Veli-Matti Savinainen clawed a goal back for Ugra to set up a tense finale, only for Nick Ebert to find the empty net and send the points back to Slovakia.