Wednesday, 8 February 2017

KHL - Moscow - Round Up January 23-31, 2017

Torpedo (a) 3-1 - Wednesday, January 25

Torpedo’s impressive start to 2017 is becoming a distant memory after a fourth successive defeat cost the team the chance to return to third place. CSKA was always in control of this game, taking the lead through Greg Scott’s power play goal in a first period that the visitor dominated. The middle stanza was tight, with just 12 shots between the two teams, but the Army Men marched clear in the third. Andrei Kuzmenko made it 2-1 in the 45th minute before Scott got a second to put the game out of reach. A last-minute Dmitry Shulenin goal was scant consolation for the host.
Sochi (a) 2-0 - Friday, January 27

A shut-out from Viktor Fasth dealt a blow to Sochi’s playoff prospects as the Black Sea team failed to increase its advantage over Jokerit. The Swedish international made 23 saves, while the visiting offense kept Konstantin Barulin under pressure throughout the game. That pressure was at its most intense in a first period which saw the Russian international face 22 shots. Only one of them got past him, Geoff Platt scoring on a power play in the seventh minute. The middle stanza was more competitive, but produced no further goals. Platt then made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, despite Sochi starting to create more chances.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk (h) 3-1 - Sunday, January 29

Last season there was little to separate CSKA and Metallurg in the Gagarin Cup final; this time, as the regular season comes to an end, there was nothing much between them in their latest encounter. A game that featured controversy and goals was the perfect way to whet the appetite for the playoffs. Like that final series, the score ended 4-3, although this time it was CSKA coming out on top. And like the final series, there were plenty of twists and turns before Jan Mursak grabbed the overtime winner. The opening was cautious, it took 26 minutes for Geoff Platt to open the scoring. Then came the first key moment. Igor Ozhiganov was ejected from the game for checking from behind, and Magnitka took full advantage of the penalty. Sergei Mozyakin tied the game and Oskar Osala put the visitor 2-1 in front. Early in the third period the teams traded more power play goals, with Stephane Da Costa tying the game only for Mozyakin to get his second of the night. It seemed that it might be enough for Metallurg, but as the game entered its final minute, Platt got his stick onto a powerful shot from Denis Denisov, beating Vasily Koshechkin to force the extras with 35 seconds left. Into overtime, and the initiative lay with CSKA. Mursak got the winner in the 64th minute, firing in a one-timer off a Kirill Petrov feed to settle a pulsating encounter

Traktor (h) 6-2 - Monday, January 23

Two goals from Juuso Hietanen helped Dynamo to a convincing win at home to Traktor and saw the Finnish D-man bring up 50 career KHL goals. The early stages saw the home power play take control: after five minutes Lukas Kaspar’s power play goal opened the scoring, then Hietanen got his first of the night and his 50th career marker in the ninth minute to set Dynamo on the road to victory. Another Traktor penalty resulted in Artyom Fyodorov making it 3-0 in the 17th minute and the first period finished with the Blue-and-Whites absolutely on top.
Maxim Yakutsenya pulled one back for Traktor in the 29th minute, but it took less than 30 seconds for Maxim Karpov to respond for Dynamo. Artyom Podshendyalov added a fifth before the second intermission. The third period offered little drama with the result already beyond doubt, but Hietanen added a sixth before Traktor’s last penalty of the game led to another goal, but this time it was a short-handed effort in the last minute from Yury Petrov.

Ufa (h) 6-2 - Wednesday, January 25

Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist to take his points tally for the season to 42 (20+22) points and set a new KHL record for an under-20 player. The youngster overtook current Washington Capitals star Evgeny Kuznetsov’s 41-point haul for Traktor in 2011-12 – but could not save his team from defeat in Moscow. For Dynamo, Lukas Kaspar led the way with two goals, and there were further contributions from Ansel Galimov, Vladimir Bryukvin, Martins Karsums and Artyom Fyodorov to set the Blue-and-Whites on the road to a convincing victory.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk (h) 1-2 - Friday, January 27

Another week, and another record for the unstoppable Sergei Mozyakin. This time he improved on his personal best return for a KHL regular season, scoring twice to win the game and take his personal tally to 77 points for the season. That’s already up on his 76-point haul of 2012-13, and puts him just three behind Alexander Radulov's all-time KHL best of 20+60=80, set in Salavat Yulaev’s championship team of 2010-11. The ace marksman also did enough to slow the progress of in-form Dynamo, which had climbed to third place in the Western Conference prior to today’s game. Initially the Blue-and-Whites seemed set to continue their winning run, with Artyom Podshendyalov opening the scoring in the second minute. But Mozyakin did well to convert a Jan Kovar feed in the 10th minute and tie the game, before going on to get the winner in the 45th.
Medvescak (a) 6-3 - Tuesday, January 31

Gordie Dwyer’s last game behind the bench in Zagreb ended in a defeat that extinguished Medvescak’s theoretical chance of reaching the playoffs.
Dwyer, who is heading to a new job in Switzerland, announced his departure prior to Tuesday’s game but his team could not give him a successful send-off.
Instead, it lost out to a Dynamo team that confirmed its own playoff spot after a fast start to the game. Alexei Tereshchenko and Maxim Karpov scored in the first four minutes to put the Blue-and-Whites 2-0 up and not even a quick response from Alexandre Giroux could change Medvescak’s fate here.
Ilya Nikulin added a third in the middle stanza before Vladimir Bryukvin made it 4-1. Medvescak tried to rally, with Mark Katic reducing the deficit, but Dynamo was always in control. Semyon Kokuyov made it 5-2 with his first goal since October 12 and the final minutes saw Lukas Lessio and Lukas Kaspar trade goals.

SKA (h) 1-2 - Wednesday, January 25

Berated by its fans and humbled by its local rivals, Spartak needed a performance to restore some pride in a beleaguered team. And, despite slipping to a tenth successive defeat, the Red-and-Whites got that in a battling display against the table-topper. An even start to the game saw both teams have chances in the first period, but it wasn’t until the 28th minute that the deadlock was broken, and Vyacheslav Leshchenko gave the home team an unexpected lead. Boosted, but still fragile, Spartak’s chances took a fatal hit with a string of penalties just after the half-hour; SKA, enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage after Vadim Berdnikov’s ejection from the game, tied it up through Vadim Shipachyov. Then the visitor’s added class proved decisive. A Pavel Datsyuk assist, an Ilya Kovalchuk goal, a SKA victory. Teams in better form than Spartak will struggle to deal with that combination.
Severstal (h) 3-2 OT - Friday, January 27

After 10 successive defeats, Spartak finally had something to cheer with an overtime success over Severstal. Igor Mirnov’s 64th-minute goal snapped a 2-2 tie and brought some relief for the Red-and-Whites after a dismal sequence dating back to the turn of the year. Tim Stapleton gave the home side the lead in the first period, only for Sergei Monakhov to level early in the second, but the real drama was still to come. In the final two minutes Spartak thought it had got the winner when Lukas Radil scored on the power play, but Severstal hit back with 12 seconds left as Yury Trubachyov pressed home the advantage after goalie Jakub Kovar was called to the bench. That forced the game into overtime, and threatened to prolong Spartak’s misery, but Mirnov rose to the occasion to settle the outcome.
Torpedo (a) 1-5 - Monday, January 30

This game went according to form as high-flying Torpedo overwhelmed lowly Spartak to secure a top-eight finish once again. The first period ended up tied at 1-1, but even then it was clear that the home team was enjoying the better of the game. Torpedo opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Nikolai Zherdev reacted fastest to the rebound from a Evgeny Grachyov shot and in general the host held the initiative. However, Spartak found an equalizer through Konstantin Glazachev barely a minute after Zherdev’s opener. The middle stanza brought just one goal, with Zherdev putting Torpedo back in front, but the home team took complete control early in the third. Artyom Alyayev scored twice, both on the power play, to make the score 4-1 before Evgeny Mozer added a fifth to chase Markus Svensson from the net with 10 minutes to play. His replacement, 20-year-old Alexander Trushkov, kept Torpedo at bay for the remaining minutes.
Spartak v CSKA 1-6 - Monday, January 23

An eight-game losing streak and an angry exchange with fans at Sunday’s training session piled up the pressure on Spartak ahead of this local derby, but the result offered little to calm the club’s unhappy ultras. Video footage of a group of supporters haranguing the team in the locker room appeared online late on Sunday and prompted a strong statement from KHL’s management condemning the aggressive and abusive language of the fans, with the threat of further sanctions. But the supporters’ key demand, win the derby, proved beyond their team after a rampant second-period performance showed just why CSKA is riding so high in the table. The visitor held a 1-0 lead at the first intermission after Yaroslav Dyblenko picked up a 5+20 penalty for boarding in the sixth minute and Stephane da Costa converted that power play. But the home team’s woes really started in the middle session as CSKA fired in four unanswered goals to the dismay of the Red-and-White crowd. Sergei Andronov got the second, wrestling back possession after his shot was saved and forcing home the puck from close range. Next, Alexander Popov was given too much time and space on the slot to tuck away Kirill Petrov’s pass from behind the net. Denis Denisov made it 4-0 with a trademark thunderbolt and da Costa got his second when he snaffled the rebound from Artyom Blazhievsky’s shot. In the final stanza, Spartak belatedly showed some spirit, killing a five-on-three power play before clawing a goal back from Konstantin Glazachev. But Alexander Kutuzov added a sixth for CSKA to complete an emphatic victory for the Army Men. For Spartak, now on a run of nine losses, things don’t get any easier, the next visitor to the Red-and-Whites is table-topping SKA.

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