Plyuschev alongside his mentor Moiseev earlier this season (photo(c) Alexander Wilf)Plyuschev's record almost perfect

JAN.23 - Third coaching switch took place in the Superleague this season a couple of weeks ago. Ak Bars head coach Yuri Moiseev stepped down voluntarily due to health reasons, his long-time assistant and Russian National coach Vladimir Plyuschev officially took the control of the bench. Since than Ak Bars won three straight matches outscoring their opponents 17-6.

Tonight in Novosibirsk Plyuschev's squad chipped two more points in its baggage defeating Sibir in overtime 2-1.

Veteran NHLer Valery Zelepukin scored at 3:27 of the ensuing engagement to lift Kazan to their sixth consecutive win.

The game blew wide open from the opening face-off with both sides getting quality chances.

The junior unit of Artyom Kryukov, Alexander Golovin and Alexei Mikhnov was a stand-out for the home side generating the majority of Sibir's scoring opportunities. Late in the opening period Golovin and Mikhnov failed to capitalize on a two-on-one rush, albeit a few seconds later former Chicago Balckhawk Sergei Klimovich put the home side ahead with his eighths tally of the season.

Sibir should have extended its lead right away, but Golovin missed on another great chance seconds before the intermission. Same Sibir youngsters blew another 2-on-1 rush on their first shift in the second period.

Ak Bars leveled the scoring halfway trough the game on the goal by defenseman Oleg Shargorodsky.

The visitors had the better chances in the third, but needed overtime to grab the victory.

In Novokuznetsk, Metallurg rallied from a two goals deficit to draw against Moscow Dynamo at three apiece. Oleg Antonenko, Dmitry Pankov and Ajrat Kadeikin scored for the home side. Getting on board for the visitors were Alexander Ovechkin, his first goal in a while, Alexander Savchenkov and Alexei Tereschenko. Savchenkov also added an assists. On the downside for the Moscow side Czech rearguard Robert Kantor will not join them - preliminary accord concluded by Dynamo officials with Kantor's current rights holder Finnish side HIFK Helsinki was nullified.

In Magnitogorsk, Valery Belousov's side beat hopeless Molot-Prikamie 2-0. Valery Karpov had a goal and an assists in winning cause. Dmitry Khristich continued his hot streak with his fifth tally over the last six games.

In Khabarovsk, Lada defeated Amur in overtime. Alex Boikov got the winner at 3:46 of the OT, while Amur's newcomer Kirill Alexeev served high-sticking double minor.

Finally in Chelyabinsk outsiders Mechel and Krylia Sovetov skated to a 1-1 tie.

-- Russian Hockey Insider

(C) RSB