Koshechkin shut-out lifts Magnitka

Sibir Novosibirsk 0 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3

Vasily Koshechkin produced his second shut-out in three days to help Metallurg climb to the top of the Eastern Conference.

After back-to-back wins in Omsk, the Gagarin Cup holder travelled to Novosibirsk just one point behind Avangard in the Conference table.

And with Koshechkin reprising his flawless form in Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Avangard, Magnitka repeated that scoreline against Sibir to reach the summit. The goalie pulled off 38 saves here to leave the home team frustrated.

At the other end, Metallurg was 2-0 up inside 12 minutes thanks to goals from Jan Kovar and Sergei Mozyakin, both assisted by Chris Lee. It could have been three in the middle session when Alexander Salak was penalized for throwing his stick. But young Alexei Krasikov came off the bench and further established his reputation as a penalty shot stopper when he denied Wojtek Wolski.

That save, though, was not to prove any kind of turning point. Koshechkin reigned at one end, while at the other Evgeny Timkin wrapped it up with an empty net goal.

Avangard’s slump continues

Avangard Omsk 2 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 5

Salavat Yulaev inflicted a third home defeat in four days on Avangard, while the home faithful continue to wait for the return of Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka.

Sobotka, who has completed his duties at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, gave an interview saying he was ready and waiting for the call to return to the ice in Avangard’s colors. But his arrival will have to wait after he was not dressed for this game.

In his absence, Salavat Yulaev ran up a comfortable win despite falling behind to a third-minute goal from Nikolai Lemtyugov. Teemu Hartikainen and Mikhail Vorobyov turned it around inside the first period and Maxim Goncharov made it three early in the second.

Hartikainen struck again just after the midway point in the game but Evgeny Medvedev pulled one back for Avangard to keep the home team hopeful going into the third. However, there was no way back. Andrei Gavrilov made 14 stops in the final session as Linus Omark added a fifth for Salavat.

After three home losses – and a combined score of 3-11 against Avangard – the Omsk team drops to second in the East, two points behind Magnitka.

Amur goalies deny CSKA

CSKA Moscow 1 Amur Khabarovsk 2 (SO)

A stubborn Amur team backstopped by the impressive Juha Metsola pushed table-topping CSKA to the limit before snatching a shoot-out victory. Finnish goalie Metsola caught the eye with eight saves in overtime to go with 28 in regulation, and then handed over to his colleague Alexander Pechursky for the decisive sequence. The switch paid off: Pechursky denied Kirill Petrov and Stephane da Costa, giving Tomas Zohorna the chance to win it for the Far Eastern underdog.

The Army Men, as expected, had more of the chances in the game and outshot its visitor 29-17 in regulation. But Metsola was in good form between the piping and CSKA’s offense had a frustrating evening.

The first period was goalless, and it took until the 23rd minute for the home side to find a way through. Dmitry Kugryshev got the goal, but it was hardly a classic. Igor Ozhiganov’s shot from the blue line got tangled up between Metsola and Valery Nichushkin. The goalie felt he was impeded but the puck dropped for Kugryshev to score and the video confirmed the goal was good.

Even then Amur refused to buckle and tied the game on the power play midway through the second period. Jan Kolar got the goal that took the game into overtime as his team showed the spirit that earned it four straight wins in Khabarovsk could also be brought out on the road.

SKA too strong for Red Star

SKA St. Petersburg 3 Kunlun Red Star 0

After Oleg Znarok got an almighty scare in his first game back in Petersburg, Thursday’s win over Kunlun was rather more routine.

As we saw two days earlier in Moscow, the Chinese team was keen to rely on hard work to frustrate a powerful offense and Red Star worked hard to keep scoring chances to a minimum throughout the game.

But, as in Moscow, resolute defense alone could not prevent three goals going into Andrei Makarov’s net. Sergei Shirokov started it off in the first period, Nikita Gusev doubled the lead in the second and Vadim Shipachyov completed the scoring in the third. Igor Shestyorkin made 19 saves for a shut-out.

Around the league

Torpedo captain Kaspars Daugavins got the overtime winner for his team following a 2-2 tie with Barys. Swedish forward John Norman put Torpedo ahead in the first period and that lead last until early in the third when Nigel Dawes levelled. Then the teams traded two goals in two minutes when Kirill Urakov put Torpedo back in front only for Corey Trivino to tie it up at once.

More than three years after making his KHL debut, Czech forward Wojtech Polak finally got his first goal in the competition. Admittedly, the 31-year-old only featured in nine games for Dinamo Riga before moving on, and returned to play for Severstal earlier this month. His 30th-minute strike was enough to give the Steelmen a 2-1 victory at home to Admiral.

Two goals in 20 seconds saw HC Sochi turn its game around at home to Ugra. Pavel Medvedev gave the visitor the lead after just 115 seconds and that advantage remained in place until the 53rd minute despite a fusillade of shots on Vladislav Fokin’s net. But then Andrei Kostitsyn and Ivan Zakharchuk rattled in two quickfire markers to turn the scoreline upside down and lift the Black Sea team up to fourth in the West.

Avtomobilist slipped to a fourth straight loss after going down 3-0 at Spartak. Goals from Maxim Potapov, Vladimir Bobylov and Mikhail Plotnikov made the difference. Markus Svensson made 27 saves for his shut-out. The win puts Spartak back into the top eight in the West.

Power play goals from Paul Szczechura and Maxim Yakutsenya saw Traktor to a hard-fought 2-1 win at Metallurg Novokuznetsk. The visitor’s strikes came either side of Alexei Razumov’s marker for the home team.

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