Great goals, spectacular saves and the hardest hits, starring Pavel Chernov, Dominik Furch and Maxim Tsyplakov – the KHL is proud to bring you the best moments from the eighth week of the tenth Championship.
We open our Top Ten with a super solo strike from Salavat Yulaev forward Igor Makarov, who skated a graceful arc behind the net to stroke the puck past a stranded goalie. Next is Moscow Army Man Valery Nichushkin leaving Metallurg Magnitogorsk defenseman Yaroslav Khabarov trailing in his wake before tapping the puck home. In eighth place is SKA forward Evgeny Ketov, who in the match with Neftekhimik supplied a crisp, backhanded finish to a beautiful long-range pass from Vyacheslav Voynov. Dynamo Moscow fell victim to a similar move, this time from the men of Ufa, with Zakhar Arzamastsev the provider and Denis Kokarev the scorer. Yet another Salavat Yulaev goal is at number 6 in our ranking – Evgeny Korotkov producing a superb burst of pace to surge between two defensemen before deceiving the goalie with a neat body-swerve.
Traktor's visit to Ak Bars resulted in the hosts hitting seven goals, and one of these opens our Top Five: Vladimir Tkachyov spotted a slither of net, caught a return pass, and whipped a true sniper's shot through the gap. In fourth place is Quinton Howden of Dinamo Minsk, who timed his foray perfectly to take one touch and tap past Torpedo goalie Ivan Lisutin. The bronze this week goes to the Kazan Men, namely Jiri Sekac and Anton Lander, the latter spotting and setting up the former for a great goal in Helsinki. The silver goes to Vitaly Atyushov of Amur, who supllied the coup-de-grace to cap a smart three-man combination – not a bad way to score your first goal of the season. There are few dashing solo efforts in our ten best goals of the past seven days, and so the gold-medal strike of Week 9 came from yet another precision passing move - Severstal's Pavel Chernov scoring with a searing one-timer from Dmitry Kagarlitsky's sublime assist.
As mentioned above, Traktor's tussle with Ak Bars was a hard one for the Chelyabinsk team, and it would have turned out even tougher were it not for several saves from Pavel Francouz, the pick of which was when the Czech goalie's eagle eye followed a Kazan foray from behind the net and he produced an impressive dive across his goal to shut out the danger. Next up is Sibir's Alexander Salak, who kept a cool head to thwart a 1-on-0 break in the match against Kunlun Red Star. Our eighth-finest save of the week comes from the man named Goaltender of the Week, Emil Garipov of Ak Bars, who showed calmness under pressure to keep Jokerit from scoring during a desperate melee around his goal. Young Ilya Sorokin of CSKA is another who never wilts when a goal seems certain, and he held his nerve to deny Yaroslav Kosov when the latter had time and space in which to pick his spot, while Igor Bobkov of Admiral had to rely on sharp instinct to stop a close range strike from Avangard.
We go into the top five with Dynamo Moscow's Ivan Bocharov, who foiled a smart Salavat Yulaev attack with a slick save with the glove from point-blank range. One of last week's finest, Jakub Kovar of Avtomobilist, is back this week, expertly picking the trajectory of a pass which outfoxed his defense and getting down swiftly to smother the shot. Spartak's Swedish goalie Markus Svensson displayed great agility to save one shot at his right-hand pipe and then leap across goal and get a leg to the second, and in runner-up spot is Marek Mazanec of Slovan, who dramatically dropped to the ice to prevent what seemed a certain goal by Lada. However, for the second time in three weeks, the finest stop came from Avangard's Dominik Furch. Under siege from the Spartak attackers, he showed vision, athleticism and lightning reactions to spot the shot, spring to his far corner, and make a spectacular catch.
A “Magnificent Seven” of hits this week, and the first two came in Kunlun Red Star's “home” game against Sibir: first is Jesse Blacker of Kunlun getting in a crunching hit by the boards, and then at number 5 is Sibir's Kirill Vorobyov putting a stop to Red Star's Brandon Yip on the red line. In sixth place is CSKA forward Mat Robinson, for forcefully heading off a raid down the flank by Lokomotiv danger man Brandon Kozun. Evgeny Kurbatov of Torpedo seemed to take offense when an opponent drifted into the high slot, and his intervention is fourth in our hit parade. In third is Admiral's Samvel Mnatsyan, with an shuddering bodycheck in the corner, while our runner-up is Magnitogorsk enforcer Oscar Osala, for an almighty check behind the goal which saw his opponent bounce back off the boards. Our hit of the Week is from a Spartak player, Maxim Tsyplakov, who halted a member of the Avangard vanguard in true gladiatorial fashion.