Thursday, January 12, 2017Amur v Minsk 1-0
Amur goalie Juha Metsola posted his fifth shut-out of the season to deny Dinamo Minsk. The 27-year-old Finn made 33 saves, 19 of them in a heroic third-period display that preserved his team’s slender advantage. At the other end, an unassisted goal from Vyacheslav Litovchenko in the 51st minute gave Amur the points. Litovchenko stripped Dmitry Korobov of the puck in center ice and raced through to beat Ben Scrivens for his third goal of the season. Dinamo, so strong at the end of 2016, has now lost three games in a row in the New Year. It remains in a playoff position, but its cushion over ninth-placed Vityaz is down to five points.
Ufa v Torpedo 1-6
Ufa is gearing up to host the KHL’s All-Star week starting Sunday, and at times Torpedo produced some exhibition hockey to blitz the home team in this game and make it five straight wins in 2017. Peteris Skudra’s team, third in the West, is getting hot as the regular season comes to its end, with all five of those victories coming on the road. Throw in a 3-2 home success over Vityaz in December, and it’s six without defeat right now. Carter Ashton led the way here, scoring twice for the second time in three games. He snapped a 1-1 tie with a power play goal in the 18th minute, then made it 3-1 early in the second period. Both efforts were assisted by Ivan Vishnevsky, scorer of Torpedo’s opener. All the while Salavat Yulaev dominated the shot count, eventually finishing 39-22 ahead, but could not add to Linus Omark’s first-period goal. At the other end, though, Torpedo was clinical. D-man Denis Barantsev found time to make it 4-1 despite collecting nine PIMs during the game, emerging from a five-minute fighting penalty to score in the 34th minute after trading blows with Enver Lisin. Kirill Urakov and Danil Veryayev added two more goals in the final stanza. For Torpedo, the winning run continues; for Salavat Yulaev, this was the heaviest home defeat of the season so far.
Friday, January 13, 2017Traktor v Sochi 1-2 SO
Yegor Morozov’s shoot-out winner lifted HC Sochi back into the playoff places following a 1-1 tie in Chelyabinsk. With two points from today’s game, Sochi climbs to seventh in the table, level on points with Jokerit and two clear of ninth-placed Vityaz. However, the Black Sea team has played 50 games, more than any other team in the West. Morozov won his duel with Pavel Francouz, who made 41 saves in the game, to secure the victory for the visitor and hand Traktor a second shoot-out loss in three days, but the home team came close to winning it in overtime. Kirill Koltsov hit the bar with one effort, and a penalty against Sochi helped Traktor dominate the play without finding a way past Konstantin Barulin. Earlier Maxim Yakutsenya gave the host a 14th-minute lead with a power play goal, but Andrei Kostitsyn tied it up just before the first intermission. The rest was goalless until the shoot-out went Sochi’s way. Severstal v Avangard 0-2
Oleg Shilin’s second shut-out of the season helped Avangard to a 2-0 win at Severstal. The 25-year-old made 31 saves to backstop his team to victory in the absence of first-choice goalie Dominik Furch.
Avangard, second in the East, is now just one point away from confirming its playoff spot thanks to Vladimir Sobotka’s power play goal early in the second period and Ilya Zubov’s clincher into an empty net as the Siberian team bounced back from a 3-5 defeat at SKA on Wednesday.Slovan v Barys 4-1
Head coach Milos Riha sat out a one-game ban, but his team had few problems in his absence and proved too strong for Barys. After a goalless first period, the host assumed complete control in the second. Jeff Taffe opened the scoring on the power play in the 28th minute, and 34 seconds later Patrik Lusnak doubled the lead. Nick Plastino added a third in the 39th minute to put the game out of reach of the visitor. Brandon Bochenski pulled one back on the power play, but Kyle Chipchura completed the scoring for the host.Medvescak v Avtomobilist 0-2
Avto goalie Vladimir Sokhatsky made 25 saves to keep Medvescak at bay and help his team to a victory that maintains its outside chance of sneaking into a playoff place. Avtomobilist came into the game without star forward Anatoly Golyshev, but found goals from Evgeny Chesalin in the 13th minute and Oleg Gubin midway through the third period were enough to clinch victory. The win keeps Avto in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, but the gap to eighth-placed Admiral is now down to three points.
Saturday, January 14, 2017Kunlun v Minsk 2-3 OT
Dinamo Minsk goalie Ben Scrivens had a moment to forget, and then a shoot-out to remember as the Belarusians edged a victory in Beijing. The Canadian’s blunder handed Kunlun the lead on 10 minutes when his airshot enabled Sean Collins to latch on to Chad Rau’s hopeful play up the ice and score a shorthanded goal into an empty net. But, after the game finished tied at 2-2, Scrivens was at his best in the shoot-out, denying Damien Fleury and Jonas Enlund to snatch victory for Dinamo. Fredrik Pettersson and Aaron Palushaj scored their attempts for the visitor. Pettersson also found the net in regulation, cancelling out Collins’ freakish opening goal, but Tommi Taimi quickly put Kunlun back in front. The second period saw Evgeny Lisovets tie it up on the power play, and the third was goalless thanks to a big save from Tomi Karhunen to stop Dinamo’s Andrei Stas with 90 seconds to play.
Lokomotiv v Neftekhimik 3-1
Neftekhimik’s playoff hopes took a dent despite a spirited display in defeat at Lokomotiv. Andrei Nazarov’s team remains three points adrift of the top eight in the East despite taking a 10th-minute lead through Gennady Stolyarov, who stuffed the puck into the net after a series of ricochets around the slot.
Lokomotiv was well on top of the shot-count, but only had Staffan Kronwall’s 31st-minute rocket from the blue line to show for its efforts after two periods, and Neftekhimik had a great chance to regain the lead through Terry Galiardi early in the third, only for Alexei Murygin to make the save.
Then the home team got in front. Artyom Ilyenko scored his second goal in as many games to break the deadlock. Murygin was called upon once more to deny Richard Gynge and Bogdan Yakimov before Brandon Kozun put the game out of reach.