Amur Khabarovsk is still in with a chance of reaching only its second KHL post-season after a 3-1 victory at Red Star in Thursday’s big game. The other action saw Dinamo Minsk’s prospects stake a claim for a role next season in a 3-2 success over Slovan.
Taylor Beck scored a fantastic goal for Red Star, but Amur took the points from the first of two meetings between these teams in Shanghai.
The result reignites Amur’s playoff push – the team is still in ninth place in the East, but trails eighth-placed Avangard by just three points and has a game in hand on the Siberians. A follow-up success against the same opposition on Saturday would put the two level with two games left in the regular season.
Alexei Byvaltsev was Amur’s game-winner here, grabbing two power play goals either side of the first intermission to set the 3-1 lead that decided the outcome. However, the play of the game came from the home team’s Canadian forward Beck in the eighth minute. He cancelled out Bogdan Potekhin’s opener with a fine individual effort, but Red Star was unable to maintain that level of quality for the remainder of the game.
A rather humdrum end-of-season affair exploded into life at the start of the third period.
With neither team capable of making the playoffs, the opening exchanges were tame. Slovan picked up a first-period lead when Marek Hecl scored on the power play after 10 minutes, Dinamo responded midway through the second period through Evgeny Kovyrshin.
But a blast of three goals in 79 seconds turned the evening into a memorable one, especially for Danila Karaban. The 21-year-old Belarusian potted his first KHL goal in the 44th minute to put Dinamo 2-1 up. One minute later, Quinton Howden added a third, and Slovan called a time-out. Whatever was said on the bench worked: 20 seconds later Michal Repik reduced the deficit.
However, it wasn’t enough to save Slovan – and when … Sloboda missed a big chance late in the game, Dinamo had the win. It might not make much difference to the final standings, but it was a big moment for 23-year-old goalie Mikhail Karnaukhov as he claimed his first ever KHL victory