SKA win Continental Cup

SKA win Continental Cup

02 Feb 2013 | Dennis Mende

Nine games were played in the KHL on Friday. SKA St. Petersburg won the regular season title while Barys and Sibir both grabbed three points and made the playoffs so that almost everything is decided in the East.


In the top game of the day league leaders SKA St. Petersburg defeated their biggest rivals in Western Conference, Dynamo Moscow. Viktor Tikhonov and Kevin Dallman pathed the way for the home side's win with their goals in the first 40 minutes before Yuri Babenko brought tension back at 47:01. With five minutes left to play in regulation Petr Prucha decided everything in power play. Guest goalie Alexander Sharychenkov left his net already three minutes before the end of the game but Dynamo couldn't force the equalizer anymore. For SKA that means that they have won the Continental Cup, the regular season title of the KHL, for the first time in their history as second-placed Avangard Omsk can't reach them anymore. 

With a superb performance Sibir Novosibirsk gained their ticket to this year's Gagarin Cup playoffs. On the road they defeated Metallurg Novokuznetsk, who were already out of the playoff race, with 7-1. Arturs Kulda and Alexander Kutuzov pathed the way for the Sibir win in the first period before Alexander Mereskin cut the lead to the half at the start of the second period. Alexander Romanov, Jori Lehterä (2) and again Arturs Kulda made everything clear for Sibir even before the second intermission though. At 54:41 Alexander Kutuzov even added the 7th for Sibir.

Barys Astana's players also have to delay their holiday plans. The team defeated top side Avangard Omsk at home and also won entrance to the playoffs. In a game that was a steady up-and-down for both clubs Nigel Dawes scored the late game winner for the 5-4 win of the Kazakhs at 55:45. The guests tried it without their goalie in the last minutes of regulation but without the wished success.

In a rather meaningless game of two teams already qualified for the playoffs, Severstal Cherepovets beat the recently struggling Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Denis Kazionov, Vadim Shipachyov and Alexander Ryazantsev already gained a three-goal lead for Severstal in the first 20 minutes before Mikhail Anisin added another one around "half time". Only then did Magnitka react through a double by Evgeny Biryukov and Vladimir Malinovsky at the end of the middle period. At 58:56 Bogdan Kiselevich decided the match for the hosts in power play. For Metallurg it was already their 5th consecutive loss after the departure of their lockout stars and they lost all matches of their four-game road trip.

In the duel of two teams still fighting for the playoffs Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk made a big step into the right direction when they defeated guests Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. Maxim Berezin, Tomas Netik, Oskar Osala and Ruslan Nurtdinov grabbed a solid four-goal lead for Neftekhimik before Torpedo's Pyotr Schastlivy scored the consolation goal for Torpedo at 56:47. Neftekhimik now have a four-point advantage to the non-playoff spots in the East while Torpedo can say goodbye to the season with an eight-point deficit to the playoff spots in the West and only three games left to play.

Spartak Moscow, second last in the West, showed character in the city derby against CSKA Moscow but still they lost the away match. Super star Alexander Radulov and his brother Igor Radulov brought CSKA in front in the first period. Around "half time" did Nikolai Bushuyev score for Spartak but Yakov Rylov answered almost immediately for the hosts. At 37:57 it was again Bushuyev who kept the game close with a power play strike but with ten minutes left on the clock Niklas Persson made everything clear for CSKA.

Atlant Moscow Oblast once more kept their playoff ambitions alive by beating higher-positioned conference rivals Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. In the first period Sandis Ozolins and Alexei Mikhnov grabbed a 2-0 lead for Atlant before Lokomotiv answered at the begin of the last 20 minutes through Yegor Averin and Alexander Chernikov. Still Atlant didn't give up and in power play Ivan Vishnevsky and Igor Ignatushkin restored the two-goal lead before Maxim Mayorov scored the final 5-2 with just two seconds left on the clock with an empty netter. For Atlant it was their 6th (!) consecutive win and they remain just two points behind the playoff spots with three matches left to play - all at home.

League newcomers Slovan Bratislava earned a solid 3-0 home win against Vityaz Chekhov that puts them in a great position but there is still the possibility that they miss the playoffs despite their eight-point advantage towards the non-playoff spots in the West. Milan Kytnar, Michal Vondrka and Marek Svatos scored the goals for Slovan while their goalie Jaroslav Janus gained a shutout for his 20 saves.

Last but not least Salavat Yulayev Ufa took revenge for the humiliating 3-9 loss at the start of last month when they beat archrivals Ak Bars Kazan easily 5-0. Alexei Glukhov, Sergei Zinovyev, Anton Slepyshev, Nikita Filatov and Antti Pihlström were the goal scorers for Ufa. Their goalie Iiro Tarkki only needed 12 saves to earn a shutout.

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