CSKA Moscow 2 Dynamo Moscow 3 (SO)
For the second time this season it took a shoot-out to separate Dynamo and CSKA – and for the second time this season the Army Men needed a late equalizer to escape defeat in regulation.
This time, though, it was the Blue-and-White half of Moscow that went home happier after Alexei Tsvetkov was the only player to convert his attempt in the shoot-out, giving Dynamo a 3-2 win against its oldest foe and climb back into the playoff places, one point ahead of ninth-placed Vityaz.
It might have been very different, though, if Valery Nichushkin had not been on hand to put away the game-tying goal on 59:55. Nichushkin was wrestling for position on the slot as Igor Ozhiganov fired in a shot from the left-hand channel; the forward’s touch was enough to take the puck down below the eyeline of goalie Alexander Yeryomenko and into the net, sparking scenes of jubilation and relief among the home fans.
Those same fans feared the game was lost when Artyom Podshendyalov put Dynamo 2-1 up in the 53rd minute, diverting Juuso Hietenan’s shot past Ilya Sorokin. That put the visitor up for the first time in the game after the teams traded power play goals midway through the second period with Maxim Mamin giving CSKA a lead that was cancelled out by Mat Robinson.
An absorbing contest was a fitting tribute to legendary coach Anatoly Tarasov, who was remembered before the game as his daughter Tatyana and grandson Alexei took part in a ceremonial puck drop. Tarasov, the first great CSKA and team USSR coach, was one of the pioneers of Soviet hockey in the 1946-47 season and the commemoration forms part of the 70th anniversary celebrations for the game in Russia.
Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 2 Kunlun Red Star 4
Finnish goalie Tomi Karhunen made only his second start for Kunlun – and duly delivered his second victory of the season.
The 27-year-old featured in the Chinese team’s first home game of the season, but then missed out due to a combination of injury and the impressive form of Andrei Makarov. But today he returned to the ice and made 34 saves to help his team finish its three-game road trip with a valuable victory that tightens its grip on a playoff spot.
Admittedly, Ugra contributed to its own downfall. After Alexei Ponikarovsky opened the scoring in the first period, the host produced two defensive blunders to help Kunlun open a 3-0 lead. In the 33rd minute, Grigory Zheldakov stumbled in center ice, allowing Martin Bakos to race through and beat Vladislav Fokin. Then, early in the third period, a misplaced pass from Anton Kuryanov went straight to Red Star’s leading scorer Chad Rau. The American duly claimed his 13th goal of the season.
Kuryanov made amends by getting his team on the scoreboard, and a power play goal from Roman Lyuduchin threatened a fightback. But Kunlun sealed the win thanks to a fine goal from Zach Yuen, with the Chinese D-man getting his second of the season to make it 4-2.
Around the league
Avtomobilist picked up a shoot-out win over Admiral, improving to four wins from five thanks to Jan Buchtele’s decider. The visitor led thanks to Alexander Gorshkov’s early goal, but Avto hit back as Artyom Gareyev and Rok Ticar maintained their scoring form from the previous game. Robert Sabolic tied it up in the third, but Admiral could not complete the win.
For the third game running, Medvescak was involved in a game with a shut-out – but this time the result went against the Croatian team. Sibir took the verdict thanks to a Zach Boychuk goal in the first period and an empty-net effort from Stepan Sannikov. At the other end, former Medvescak goalie Danny Taylor enjoyed his return to Zagreb, making 25 saves. Sibir’s 2-0 victory lifts it back into the playoff places.