Niko Ojamaki got his 29th goal of the season, setting a new record for goals in a single KHL campaign by a Finnish player. However, he could not save Vityaz from a home loss against Avangard. Another Finn, Harri Sateri, was instrumental in Sibir’s 1-0 win at Amur, while unheralded Russian defenseman Ruslan Petrishchikov had a three-point game as Neftekhimik won at Dynamo. Barys won a thriller at Metallurg, Admiral beat Spartak and Severstal was too strong for Sochi in the other games to take place on Sunday.

Gutik’s double paces Admiral win

Admiral Vladivostok 4 Spartak Moscow 3 (1-0, 2-1, 1-2)

Admiral made it back-to-back wins, moving further away from the foot of the KHL standings and preserving at least a theoretical chance of making the playoffs. For Spartak, today’s loss sees its Far East tour end with two defeats as it missed the chance to pressure fifth-placed Severstal. The Red-and-Whites were without captain Sergei Shirokov, and young defenseman Alexander Nikishin wore the ‘C’ in his absence.

The Sailors had to weather a stormy start as Spartak looked to force the early tempo. Steadily, though, the home team found its feet and opened the scoring midway through the first thanks to Daniil Gutik. The 20-year-old, making only his fifth appearance for Admiral, claimed his first KHL goal.

Spartak tied it up early in the second on a power play goal from Nikolai Chebykin but subsequently Admiral took control. Defensemen Dinar Khamidullin and Kamil Fazylzyanov both found the net to give the host a 3-1 lead at the 40-minute mark.

Looking to save the game, the visitor made a lively start to the third period. Timur Khafizov missed a good chance on the power play, but shortly after Admiral killed that penalty, Maxim Tsyplakov made it a one-goal game. The Muscovites continued to press, only to be caught out at the other end when young Gutik got his second of the game. That proved to be the game-winner, with Ivan Drozdov’s penalty shot keeping Spartak’s hopes alive until the final hooter.

Photo: 09.01.22. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Admiral (Vladivostok) - Spartak (Moscow)

Sateri backstops Sibir to victory

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

In recent weeks, Sibir is all about those one-goal wins: you have to go back to Dec. 8 to find the last time Andrei Martemyanov’s team won by more than a single marker. That game was also Sibir’s last victory in regulation before today, while two of the four losses suffered in that time were also by a one-goal margin.

Thus, when Nikita Setdikov put the visitor in front in the seventh minute, Amur could be forgiven for feeling that this was going to be a tough day. Setdikov potted his sixth of the season, outwitting Evgeny Alikin up close after Alexander Sharov’s pass found him in plenty of space in the left-hand channel.

Subsequently, Amur had the task of solving Harri Sateri, one of the most effective goaltenders of the season to date. The Finn arrived in Khabarovsk with five shut-out to his name this season — already his best in a KHL campaign — and, 32 saves later, left with his sixth blank of 2021-2022. In the first period, penalties hindered that effort and Sibir was able to control significant passages of the play. Later, Amur began to take control. Late in the third period visiting defenseman Michal Cajkovsky managed the rare feat of collecting six penalty minutes in a single shift — a cross-checking minor and a double minor for high sticks — but Amur’s underpowered power play was unable to take advantage.

In the third period, Sibir relied on its solid defense to keep Amur at bay and, despite rarely venturing into enemy territory, was able to close out the game fairly comfortably.

Vey settles thriller in Magnitogorsk

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Barys Nur-Sultan 4 OT (1-1, 1-2, 1-0, 0-1)

Barys had a difficult trip to Magnitogorsk — a frozen runway forced the visitor’s flight to divert to Chelyabinsk, where the team stayed overnight before resuming its journey and eventually reaching the arena just two hours before the face-off.

However, there was no evidence of a slow start from Yury Mikhailis’ team, despite the arduous travel. Just eight seconds into the game, a mistake from home goalie Juho Olkinuora enabled Linden Vey to set up Alikhan Asetov for the opening goal. Inspired, Asetov had the puck in the net again midway through the frame but this time he was denied due to interference on the goalie. At the other end, 23-year-old Andrei Shutov was making his KHL debut and the Kazakh international had a quieter time of it in the first period, only to be beaten by Nikita Korostelyov’s tying goal in the 13th minute.

After struggling to generate much offense in the first period, Metallurg was rather more threatening in the second. However, Barys proved more efficient in front of goal. Jakob Lilja restored the lead midway through the session and, after Brendan Leipsic tied it up once more, Anton Sagadeyev made it 3-2 at the second intermission. Shutov saw his workload increase at the other end, and made 13 saves in the session.

The second period ended with a fight between Tomas Jurco and Andrei Chibisov and that set the tone for a bad-tempered third frame. Twice, Metallurg had a 5-on-3 advantage. Linus Hultstrom parleyed the first of those into a tying goal; the second double power play saw the on-ice officials award a fourth Magnitka goal, only for the video review to show that Olle Alsing had managed to get the puck off the goal line to safety.

As a result, the game was decided in overtime and Vey grabbed the winner for Barys when he combined with Lilja before beating Olkinuora. A dramatic encounter went to the visitor, which tightens its grip on eighth place. Metallurg is back on top of the standings, but is level on points with Traktor, which plays Kunlun Red Star tomorrow.

Severstal too strong for Sochi

Severstal Cherepovets 4 HC Sochi 2 (1-0, 2-0, 1-2)

After some uncertain form of late, Severstal was hoping that its 7-1 win at Kunlun last week might kickstart a surge that could bring Andrei Razin’s team back in touch with the top four. Against Sochi, the winning run continued with another comfortable success.

David Dumbadze, who had two points against Red Star, opened the scoring here with a ninth-minute goal. Sochi remained in contention after a first period of few chances, but Ilya Khokhlov extended the lead at the start of the second. Late in that middle frame, Khokhlov turned provider, picking up an assist as Yegor Morozov made it 3-0.

Early in the third period, Nikita Makeyev jumped out of the penalty box and raced away to beat Magnus Hellberg with a shot that crept in off the back of the goalie’s pads. Sochi quickly pulled one back through Kirill Petkov and a last-minute power play goal from Ivan Morozov — his first since joining his new club from SKA — made the final scoreline more respectable, but this was very much Severstal’s day.

Ojamaki sets record in losing cause

Vityaz Moscow Region 1 Avangard Omsk 4 (0-3, 1-0, 0-1)

Niko Ojamaki set a Finnish scoring record but Avangard’s power play proved to be the decisive factor in Podolsk. After defeating last season’s runner-up in overtime, Vityaz fell to the defending champion on Sunday.

In the past, games between Vityaz and Avangard were notorious for brawls at the start. Today, there was no shortage of action from the initial puck drop, but happily we saw no serious conflict. However, after 14 seconds Yegor Voronkov took a minor penalty for Vityaz and Avangard needed just three seconds to execute a move from Bob Hartley’s playbook. Oliwer Kaski’s shot opened the scoring. With barely a minute played, Vityaz was on the PK once more. This time the home team survived, but Ildar Shiksatdarov had been back in the game for a mere 21 seconds when Vladimir Zharkov made it 2-0. At even strength, there wasn’t much to choose between the teams, but the home team could not stay out of the box and when Kirill Lyamin sat out a minor, Arseny Gritsyuk made it 3-0 in the 16th minute.

If the first period belonged to Avangard, the headlines in the second were all about Niko Ojamaki. After 26 minutes, he scored on the power play after a Daniel Audette shot skittered across the danger zone and found him at the back door. That’s Ojamaki’s 29th goal of the season, and sets a new record for a Finnish player in a single KHL season. Last season, Teemu Hartikainen scored 28 goals for Salavat Yulaev to break a record that lasted from the first ever KHL campaign; his mark has been overtaken in less than a year.

Ojamaki’s achievement notwithstanding, Vityaz was unable to find a way back into the game. Despite a good second-period showing, the home team could only get one goal and Avangard responded with a fourth at the start of the final frame. This time, Alexei Bereglazov’s low shot was redirected home by Ilya Kablukov, a delicate touch that took the game decisively away from the home team.

Photo: 09.01.22. KHL Championship 2021-2022. Vityaz (Moscow Region) - Avangard (Omsk)

Petrishchev opens his account in style

Dynamo Moscow 3 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 4 SO (0-1, 2-1, 1-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Ruslan Petrishchev is far from a well-known name — in 65 KHL appearances before today, the 24-year-old defenseman had yet to register a point for Salavat Yulaev or Neftekhimik. That all changed as he scored one and assisted two more in Moscow to help his team to a shoot-out win.

These teams were in need of points for contrasting reasons. Dynamo is battling with Jokerit, SKA and CSKA for top spot in the Western Conference, while Neftekhimik is trying to avoid getting dragged into a fight for its playoff place in the East.

Neftekhimik got the better start to the game, with Petrishchev opening the scoring after three minutes. The 24-year-old defenseman grabbed his first KHL goal in his 32nd game for Neftekhimik. He arrived in Nizhnekamsk in the summer after failing to force his way into the first-team picture at Salavat Yulaev.

Petrishchev’s tally was the only goal of the first period, a fact which owed much to the hard work of the visiting defense. Neftekhimik blocked 13 shots in the opening frame, meaning Alexander Sudnitsin only had nine saves to make.

The second period, too, began with an early goal for the visitor, this time with Andrei Chivilyov on target and Petrishchev among the assists. However, Dynamo rallied and began to turn its territorial advantage into greater pressure on Sudnitsin’s net. Late in the frame, Stanislav Galiyev scored on the power play, then grabbed the tying goal on 37:14 to set up an intriguing finish.

At the start of the third, Dynamo had a great chance to put the game to bed. Eric O’Dell gave the home team the lead for the first time in the 42nd minute, then a video review determined that Sergei Kuptsov’s open-ice hit on Galiyev was high and dangerous. Kuptsov was tossed from the game and the Blue-and-Whites had a five-minute power play to extend the lead.

However, Neftekhimik defended strongly and after killing the major penalty, the visitor tied the game through Pavel Poryadin. Once again, Petrishchev had an assist. The pendulum swung once more and it was Dynamo’s turn to deal with penalty trouble when it faced a two-man shortage for 1:35. Once again, the penalty kill did its job and the game went into overtime.

The extras could not separate the teams, and in the shoot-out Sudnitsin won all his duels as Eduard Gimatov sent the points to Nizhnekamsk.

Photo: 09.01.22.KHL Championship 2021-2022. Dynamo (Moscow) - Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)

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