Ak Bars winning streak ends at eight

Ak Bars winning streak ends at eight

29 Oct 2013 | Matt Tidcombe

After an eight game winning streak that last nearly four weeks, Ak Bars have finally lost


Ak Bars Kazan could not be stopped for a long time.

Then they played Vityaz.

The Tatarstan club had won eight straight games to jump to first place in the Eastern Conference and hold the third best overall record in the KHL.

However, they are going to have to begin a new winning streak, as they were beaten 5-4 in a shootout by Vityaz on Tuesday for their first loss in nearly four weeks.

After a 3-1 defeat on home ice to SKA Saint Petersburg, on October 3rd, Valery Belov’s squad had been on quite a tear.

They went on the road and picked up four wins, although three of them were worth only two points as they needed overtime twice, and a shootout once to get the win. They beat Yugra 4-3 in overtime, Avtomobilist 3-2 in a shootout and the defeated Eastern Conference rivals Barys 5-0 in their most dominant performance of the season. They concluded the road trip with a 3-2 overtime victory against Avangard.

Upon their return to Tatneft Arena, Ak Bars took it to their opponents on home ice. A 5-3 win over Medvescak began the home stand and was quickly followed by a 5-1 victory over Dinamo. Emil Garapov shutout Spartak Moscow 1-0, then Konstantin Barulin shutout Donbass 1-0 to take the winning streak to eight.

The team has won 17 of their 22 games this season and have 48 points. Outstanding goaltending has been the story for Ak Bars, as Barulin has a 1.58 save percentage in 15 games, while Garipov has a 1.53 save percentage in 7 games.

Alex Burmistrov has 19 points (five goals) in 22 games, while Tim Stapleton has 17 points (seven goals) in 22 games. Canadian defenseman Shaun Heshka has 15 points (five goals) this season.

Ak Bars scoring has come from a wide variety of players, as 23 different skaters have already registered points. Mikhail Varnakov leads the team in goals with nine.

KHL League News:

For the October 22nd-28th period, the following players were named players of the week:

Best goaltender for the second week running was Ivan Lisutin (Vityaz), who recorded shut-outs in both his games.

Best defenseman was Vyacheslav Belov (Sibir), who took 3 points (1+2) from three games and finished the week at a +5. 

Best forward was Martins Karsums (Dynamo Moscow), with 5 points (3+2) from three outings. 

Best rookie was Metallurg Novokuznetsk teenage goalie Ilya Sorokin, who made three appearances, recorded .951 SV% and GAA 1.64.

Standings Update:

In the Western Conference, SKA and Dynamo Minsk are tied for first with 50 points. Both played 23 games this season and have a sizeable lead over the chasing pack. Dinamo Riga have 39 points in third, but then the standings bunch up as fourth place to 12th place is separated by just three points. Those 10 teams are battling for six playoff spots.

In the East, Ak Bars sit top followed by Barys on 46 points, although Barys have played one less game. Salavat (41 points) and Metallurg Magnitogorsk (40) are hot on their heels in third and fourth place respectively. Sibir and Torpedo are sitting comfortably in a playoff spot, but the battle for the final two spots is going to be close as just eight points separate six teams as the season nears the halfway mark.

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