Kunlun Red Star 3 SKA St. Petersburg 5
Table-topping SKA made its first ever visit to China – and it needed a Evgeny Dadonov hat-trick to overcome a lively home team.
Red Star refused to freeze in the face of such powerful opposition and took the lead in the first period despite conceding much of the territory. It was a goal created by two new signings: Tommi Taimi fired in a shot and Tomi Sallinen turned it into the net in the 15th minute.
The home team could have extended its lead, but was quickly punished for missed opportunities when Sergei Plotnikov wrapped up a neat move to tie the game going into the first intermission.
Two quickfire goals early in the second put SKA in control: Dadonov and Jarno Koskiranta scored twice in two minutes, threatening to overwhelm Kunlun. The host hit back on the counter-attack when Damien Fleury halved the deficit just before the intermission, but Dadonov made it 4-2 on the power play early in the third. He went on to complete his hat-trick with a 55th-minute marker before Tuukka Mantyla pulled one back for Kunlun. SKA stretches its winning run to four games; Kunlun remains in the thick of the race for a top-eight finish in the East.
Amur Khabarovsk 1 CSKA Moscow 2
CSKA picked up a narrow win in Khabarovsk despite falling behind early in the game.
The visitor still seemed to feeling the effects of its long journey east in a first period that Amur dominated. Vladislav Ushenin got the opening goal in the 16th minute with a sweet backhand flipped over the shoulder of Ilya Sorokin and the home team led at the intermission.
CSKA tied it up midway through the second period on a power play goal from Kirill Petrov. He rifled home a one-timer off Vyacheslav Osnovin’s pass as the Army Men produced a dominant display in the middle stanza.
The winner, which came in the last seconds of a CSKA power play, was as good a definition of ‘tic-tac-toe’ hockey you could hope to see. Petrov pinged a pass to Alexander Popov on the left-hand face-off spot, Popov’s first-time pass found Osnovin in front of the net and the forward’s one-timer beat Juha Metsola.
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 6 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 5 (OT)
Head coaches love to talk about the importance of getting the basics right, of building success on solid defensive displays, of forechecking and forwards who aren’t afraid of doing the dirty work on defense.
So, if a game takes place without a head coach working with either team, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of those ideas go out of the window. And so it proved in Nizhnekamsk, where Neftekhimik’s Andrei Nazarov and Torpedo’s Peteris Skudra sat out their suspensions as their teams went head to head.
The first period saw the teams trade six goals – enough to have any coach tearing his hair out in frustration. The stanza started with a flurry of goals as Igor Polygalov’s strike for the host was sandwiched by Brandon MacMillan and Carter Ashton for Torpedo in the first eight minutes. It ended in similar fashion, as Richard Gynge and Dan Sexton scored on either side of a John Norman marker to leave the scores tied at 3-3.
In the second period things calmed down a little, but Neftekhimik still managed to give up two goals in three minutes. MacMillan got his second of the night and Alexander Frolov made it 5-3 as Torpedo looked to be on course to win the game.
But the away defense was caught napping late on as Yegor Milovzorov scored twice in the last five minutes to salvage the game for Neftekhimik. The tying goal came with just two seconds left, taking us into overtime where Kirill Lyamin snatched a winner for the home team.
Around the league
HC Sochi snapped Ak Bars’ five-game winning streak to climb back into a playoff spot. The South Coast team had dropped into the dogfight after losing its last two games but responded in style after falling behind to a Vladimir Tkachyov goal in the 13th minute. Alexander Mereskin tied it up in the first period before Yegor Morozov gave the visitor the lead late in the second. An empty-net goal from Andrei Kostitsyn completed a 3-1 win.
Rasmus Rissanen scored an overtime winner with just 22 seconds left to play as Jokerit’s late rally beat Traktor. The visitor took the lead through Dmitry Pestunov in the ninth minute, although the forward enjoyed a fortunate deflection off Oliver Lauridsen’s skate. Traktor held that lead until midway through the third period when Ville Lajunen scored a power play goal. Jokerit dominated overtime but had to wait for its reward when Rissanen shot home from a tight angle off a Sakari Salminen feed.
Three points for David Booth led Avangard to a comfortable win at Medvescak. The recently-signed American forward had an assist on Yegor Martynov’s opener after 19 seconds and went on to score two of his own inside the first 12 minutes. Terry Gailiardi, another newly-arrived American, got his first goal for Medvescak to reduce the deficit late in the middle stanza, but Mikhail Yunkov added a fourth in the 52nd minute to put the result beyond doubt.
Spartak’s mini-revival came to a halt after a collapse midway through its game at Lada. The Motormen scored three goals in four minutes in the second period, with Nikita Filatov, Viktor Komarov and Alexander Streltsov finding the net. Matt Gilroy got one back for Spartak in the third, but could not save the game.
Severstal slipped to its eighth defeat in a row with a 2-1 reverse at Admiral. All the scoring came in the second period with Dmitry Lugin giving Admiral the lead before Denis Ezhov equalized. Sergei Barabashev got the winning goal in the 33rd minute.