Slovak forward Martin Bakos was the game-winner for Admiral, scoring twice in regulation and adding a shoot-out winner for good measure.
Bakos twice wiped out a Jokerit lead. First, he scored a short-handed effort in the first period to level Ahti Oksanen’s opener. Then, after Sami Lepisto restored the visitor’s lead, Bakos scored again to covert a 5-on-3 power play and make it 2-2.
Neither the third period, nor overtime, could produce a winner – although the extras produced big chances at both ends as goalies Juho Olkinuora and Antti Niemi proved their worth with some game-saving stops. Then in the shoot-out, Bakos had three attempts and converted two of them as Admiral won it on the 16th attempt.
Kirill Marchenko is a young man making a big impact. SKA’s 19-year-old forward emerged in the KHL this season and has already proved his worth at this level. Today he added an overtime winner to his recent exploits, which also include a goal in Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Amur and the shoot-out winner against Dinamo Riga in the last game before the international break.
Marchenko’s winner ensured that SKA kept up its winning record against Red Star: the teams have now met seven times in the KHL and this was the first time Kunlun managed to take even a point from the Petersburg powerhouse. Curt Fraser’s men showed great character to recover from allowing two goals in 30 seconds at the start of the second period and battled back to tie the scores thanks to two goals from Victor Bartley.
Defenseman Bartley got his first goals of the season in this game, a feat also achieved by SKA’s Anton Belov and Alexander Dergachyov. But it was Marchenko who had the final say, with another youngster, Danila Galenyuk, collecting two more assists to take his tally to 5 for the season.
Former Sochi forward Eric O’Dell got the only goal of this game to sink his old club and extend Magnitka’s winning streak to five games. The visitor, though, will be wondering how it failed to take anything from a game that it dominated for long periods.
O’Dell effort came late in the second period. The Canadian gloved a Dennis Rasmussen pass to the ice and advanced to lift a backhander over Ivan Nalimov’s shoulder, breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute. On the Sochi bench, head coach Alexander Andrievsky was concerned that O’Dell had caught the puck and carried it forward, but the officials overruled his objections and awarded the goal.
However, O’Dell and his team-mates were indebted to Vasily Koshechkin. The veteran goalie produced an inspired performance to deny a lively Sochi offense. He made 33 saves (by contrast, Metallurg had just 14 shots all night) and was particularly strong in the third period as the visitor tried to salvage something from the game.
Dinamo Riga climbed off the bottom of the Western Conference with a convincing victory against Vityaz. The Latvians recorded back-to-back wins and now join Dinamo Minsk and Severstal on 22 points. However, with more wins in regulation than those two teams, Riga moves up to 10th in the table, six points behind Lokomotiv in eighth spot.
For Vityaz, though, current form is alarming. When Mikhail Kravets last brought his team to Riga on Oct. 7, a 2-1 victory took it to the top of the league. Since then, though, a run of just three wins in 13 games has seen the Moscow Region club go from red-hot to ice-cold.
Dinamo took the lead midway through the first period with a power play goal. Oskars Bartulis fired in a point shot and Carter Ashton was waiting on the slot to turn it past Ilya Ezhov. Late in the middle frame, Gints Meija doubled the lead and Nikita Setdikov scored for the second game in a row to make it 3-0 early in the third. Nothing was going right for the visitor, and when Kravets gambled on withdrawing his goalie to force a 6-on-4 situation midway through the final frame it ended in failure as Andris Dzerins scored into the empty net.