KHL: Avangard Wins Eastern Top-Two Battle

© RIA Novosti . Aleksey Malgavko / Go to the mediabankKHL: Avangard Wins Eastern Top-Two Battle
KHL: Avangard Wins Eastern Top-Two Battle - Sputnik International
Avangard Omsk edged Ak Bars Kazan 2-1 on penalty shots Saturday to extend its leading position in the Eastern Conference.

MOSCOW, January 26 (R-Sport) - Avangard Omsk edged Ak Bars Kazan 2-1 on penalty shots Saturday to extend its leading position in the Eastern Conference.

Ak Bars is now three points behind Avangard in second, but has six more regular season games to play, one more than the conference leader.

Igor Volkov put Avangard in the lead on 15 minutes with a power-play goal before Ilya Nikulin equalized early in the second with a precise wrist shot.

After a goalless third period and overtime, Dmitry Semin converted the final penalty shot to seal victory for Avangard.

Elsewhere in the East, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk won a crucial clash 5-2 against its main rival for the last playoff spot, Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk.

Neftekhimik broke its three-game losing streak to go eighth and is now one point ahead of ninth-placed Yugra with one game in hand.

Renat Mamashev, Egor Milovzorov and Oscar Osala gave the hosts a 3-0 lead in the first two periods. In the third period, both teams scored twice with Stanley Cup winner Martic Cibak and Mamashev once striking for Neftekhimik.

Western Conference leader SKA St. Petersburg consolidated its first place after a 4-1 thrashing of lowly Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, last in the East.

Petr Prucha opened the score 25 seconds after the first puck drop, before former Los Angeles Kings player Kevin Dallman hit his 13th goal of the season, to become the league’s top-goalscoring defensemen.

In the second period, SKA continued the pressure as Prucha completed his double and Patrick Thoresen made the score 4-0.

However, Avtomobilist's Stanislav Zhmakin refused to allow SKA goaltender Ilya Ezhov to leave with a shutout, converting a power play in the third period.

SKA goes seven points ahead of second-placed Dynamo Moscow, which gained a 2-0 home win against fourth placed Eastern team Traktor Chelyabinsk.

Gagarin Cup holder Dynamo saw goals from Marek Kvapil and Denis Mosalyov.

Meanwhile, CSKA Moscow suffered a surprise 2-1 home defeat to Vityaz Chekhov, but remains Tarasov divisional leader and second in the West, while Vityaz is 12th, with theoretical playoff hopes.


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