A battling 3-2 at Lokomotiv puts Vityaz back in first place in the Western Conference. Barys concluded its stay in Almaty with another shut-out win, this time defeating Traktor. Amur suffered its ninth loss of the season at Sibir.

Yet another defeat for Amur

Sibir Novosibirsk 2 Amur Khabarovsk 1 (0-0, 1-0, 1-1)

Goals: 1-0 Morozov (Chesalin, Yermakov 35:16); 2-0 Puustinen 43:30; 2-1 Vy Ushenin (Vl Ushenin, Kamalov 55:17)

Goalies: Sateri – Langhamer

Amur’s wait for a victory this season goes on after the Tigers slipped to yet another loss. The reverse at Sibir was the ninth since the start of the campaign – and also the ninth by a single-goal margin. Head coach Alexander Gulyavtsev insisted that he did not feel any special pressure from the board despite the team’s difficult start but added that in a results business like hockey he realized his position was under threat.

Friday’s loss was especially frustrating. Amur had the better of most indicators, with more shots on goal and more time on offense. However, converting those chances has been a problem all season and Sibir proved more clinical in front of the net. Ilya Morozov opened the scoring late in the second period before Juuso Puustinen doubled the lead at the start of the third, giving Amur too much to do. Vyacheslav Ushenin managed to pull one goal back late in the game but it wasn’t enough to end the visitor’s unhappy run.

More success for Barys in Almaty

Barys Nur-Sultan 2 Traktor Chelyabinsk 0 (0-0, 2-0, 0-0)

Goals: 1-0 Starchenko (Shalapov, Shestakov 21:34) 2-0 Pakarinen (Blacker, Boyd 23:11 PP)

Goalies: Pasquale – Demchenko

Another shut-out win for Barys means that Kazakh team completed its residency in Almaty with a perfect record. Two games, two wins, no goals allowed.

Photo: 20.09.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Barys (Nur-Sultan) - Traktor (Chelyabinsk)

The home team picked up where it left off against Spartak, firing in 11 shots in the first seven minutes and dominating the first period without finding a way to goal. But the start of the second period brought a quick double to leave Traktor with too much to do. First, Roman Starchenko opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, converting a terrific feed from Yegor Shalapov. Then, after a flurry of penalties including a 5+20 for Dmitry Shevchenko, Iiro Pakarinen made it 2-0 on the power play.

Later in the middle session, Pavel Akolzin became the second home player to be sent to the locker room, but Traktor was unable to capitalize on the major penalty. In the third, the visitor failed to score in a 5-on-3 situation and the game drifted away from Peteris Skudra’s team. The last minute brought another flashpoint and Vitaly Menshikov became the third player to be ejected as the teams compiled a total of 95 PIMs. For the second game in a row, a capacity crowd of over 12,000 came to the Almaty Arena.

Vityaz returns to the top

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 Vityaz Moscow Region 3 (1-0, 1-2, 0-1)

Goals: 1-0 Lander (Sannikov, Rattie 15:24); 2-0 Kudryavtsev (Svitov, Ilyenko 22:46); 2-1 Aaltonen (Nattinen, Semin 35:34 PP); 2-2 Jerabek (Yevseyenkov, Semin 37:00); 2-3 Grebenshchikov (Pylenkov, Aaltonen 41:30)

Goalies: Lazushin – Samonov

Vityaz is starting to look like the real deal this season and a comeback victory at Lokomotiv returned the team to the Western Conference summit. Mikhail Kravets’ team showed its battling qualities to recover from 0-2 down and add to the unease about Loko’s start to the season.

Photo: 20.09.19. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) - Vityaz (Moscow Region)

Things started well for the home team, which was looking to build on Wednesday’s win in Riga which lifted the Railwaymen off the foot of the Western Conference. Anton Lander opened the scoring late in the first period and Pavel Kudryavtsev doubled the lead early in the second.

However, when the game reached its midway point, it began to change. Penalty trouble gave Vityaz a 5-on-3 advantage and Miro Aaltonen scored on the rebound after an Alexander Semin shot was redirected by Joonas Nattinen. Semin was involved again less than 90 seconds later as the visitor tied the game with some slick play in the Loko zone, culminating in Jakub Jerabek’s angled shot past Alexander Lazushin.

The winner came early in the third when Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov, one of the finds of the season so far, got his fifth of the season. Last season, by contrast, he had just four goals in 33 games for Sochi. The home side threw everything at Alexander Samonov in the remaining 18 minutes, but the visiting goalie held firm, turning away 16 shots to preserve the lead.

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