We begin our weekly countdown visiting St. Petersburg when Alexander Perezhogin found Kirill Semyonov right in front of the net as Avangard ties the game up in the third period. Scoring your first KHL goal is already a good feat, but what if you do it in style? Pavel Tkachenko got you covered in the game against Vityaz when he first outskated the defense and then outsmarted Joni Ortio for the ninth place in this week. Speed is critical in hockey, and Veli-Matti Savinainen showed it why against Ak Bars Kazan, with a blistering breakaway and a laser shot on Alexander Sharychenkov. Dinamo Riga got the seventh place in our countdown with a beautiful combination between Mathew Maione and Linus Videll, and the sixth spot sees again the SKA – Avangard clash as the home team got the short-lived 2-1 lead with a Gusev-to-Hersley-to-Yakupov orchestration.
Avtomobilist is one of the teams that improved the most, and a big reason is Stephane Da Costa. His huge solo effort in last week’s triumph against Dominik Furch and Severstal is worthy of the fifth place. Another brilliant individual effort got to the fourth place as CSKA’s forward Konstantin Okulov undressed an HC Sochi’s defenseman before finding the sweet spot on one of the top KHL goalies, Konstantin Barulin. Great offensive rushes were on trend last week: Alexander Kadeikin’s shorthand masterpiece against Traktor Chelyabinsk was worthy of the bronze medal, while Teemu Pulkkinen’s great rush and laser-like wrist shot brought the silver medal to Minsk. The gold medal, however, was captured by Barys’ Curtis Valk. The Canadian forward got the puck at center ice, skated past an aggressive Dinamo Riga defense and put the puck past Kristers Gudlevskis with a swift move. Strength, speed, smartness: Valk showcased all these qualities in the first part of the regular season and deservedly won the gold medal with the best goal of the week.
Four goals from this week’s finest plays deserved mention in the month’s top 10, but Curtis Valk’s impressive effort got only to the fourth place. The bronze medal goes to Nizhny Novgorod, courtesy of a sublime long-range pass by Philip Holm to Denis Parshin on a win against SKA St. Petersburg. On second place was Maxim Rybin’s incredible breakaway against Vityaz Podolsk, but the very best of the month was Wojtek Wolski’s pass on his knees to Iiro Pakarinen during the Ural battle against Traktor Chelyabinsk.
In tenth place is Amur’s goalie Evgeny Alikin with a triple save against Ak Bars Kazan. Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s young forward Pavel Dorofeyev was incredibly close to his first KHL goal during the Tuesday’s win over Severstal Cherepovets, but Sergei Magarilov denied him with a huge pad save. Sibir isn’t having the best season, but its players keep on getting featured in the week’s best. Alexei Krasikov deservedly got the eight place for a big glove save on SKA’s forward Nikolai Prokhorkin.
Barys’ Henrik Karlsson deserves the fifth position with a big save on Vityaz’s Pavel Chernov, while Alexei Murygin saved Avangard’s crease in-style against Amur to get the fourth place. The podium starts with Kunlun’s Alexander Lazushin. The Russian netminder stood on his head during a long shorthand spell and stopped Daniil Ilyin’s shot with a superb diving save. For the second place, we get back to the Avtomobilist – Severstal game and the Da Costa – Furch duel. If the Frenchman had the best in the week’s fifth-best goal, Furch’s tremendous stop was good enough for the silver medal. On top, Admiral’s Nikita Serebryakov. With Ak Bars up by one goal in the third period, he kept his team’s hopes alive with a glove save that was simply nothing short of phenomenal on Alexander Burmistrov after the first attempt by Artyom Lukoyanov.
However, Serebryakov’s save was only the fifth best in September. Fourth place for Dominik Furch’s save on Vityaz’s forward Nikita Komarov. Latvian goalie Janis Kalnins conquered the bronze medal saving Jokerit’s crease from a dangerous attempt by SKA’s forward Andrei Kuzmenko. Second place for Alexander Samonov’s save on his former teammate Maxim Afinogenov, but the gold medal goes to Slovan’s Marek Ciliak with his incredible double save against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
Ak Bars Kazan is renowned for its physical game, and this is confirmed by the presence of three players in the top ten. Kazan’s top hit was Rafael Batyrshin’s hit on Barys’ Nikita Mikhailis on the sixth place. Many players on the smaller side were active in puck fights and were featured in our top ten: Stanislav Galiyev, Andrei Sigaryov, Darren Dietz, and Zach Boychuk. Second place for SKA’s Viktor Tikhonov with a huge hit on HC Sochi’s Denis Mosalyov. But the very best of September, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is Avtomobilist’s Denis Bodrov. His incredible hit on Danil Yurtaikin is already a great candidate for the hit of the season. Not only he sent the opposition forward directly on the bench, but his sublime defensive play started an excellent offensive rush that led to a goal for his team.