RSL Roundup

FEB.15 (RHI) -- As of today Super League teams have exactly one more month to enjoy the regular season action and to settle their priorities in the league standings. As many as four clubs have (or almost did) secured their participation in the post-season with just nine games left to play in the schedule. Yaroslavl and Cherepovets are ahead of their pursuit by a considerable margin and shall fight for the top seed. Ivan Hlinka's and Vladimir Plyuchev's teams still have chances to reach the leaders, but are likely to finish no higher than 3rd and no lower than 4th. It's highly doubtful that Moscow's Dynamo and Togliatti's Lada will give up their top eight positions. That leaves Magnitogorsk and Ufa facing a few middle table clubs in battle for the remaining two play-off seeds.

Magnitogorsk has a solid corp of veteran players and leads 9th place Nizhnekamsk by 6 points. With a couple of wins in upcoming week Valery Belousov's squad may secure its appearance in post -season. Meantime, Salavat Yulaev is experiencing an internal crisis. The team was winless in four matches before today's victory over Lada and club chairman made public long ago the fact that head coach Sergei Nikolaev will be fired if the team misses play-offs. Ufa's dressing room suffered another blow when recently club decided to part ways with captain Vitaly Karamnov.

Both Nizhnekamsk and Novokuznetsk have good chances to take over Salavat Yulaev's spot in the top eight. Andrei Pyatanov's Amur Khabarovsk shouldn't be written out of play-off race as well.

At the bottom of the standings Molot's and Soviet Wings' chances to remain in elite are getting slimmer with every hour, it would take a miracle for one of those teams to avoid relegation. Viktor Tikhonov's CSKA is in quite solid position, therefore expect Novosibirsk, St.Petersburg, Moscow Spartak and Chelyabinsk to battle for the safe 13th and 14th spots.

If league's structure remains intact for the next season, two High League clubs shall replace the relegated quartet. At the moment Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, Khimik Voskresensk, Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk and Energia Kemerovo are favored to battle for promotion.

SATURDAY ROUNDUP

Amur 1, Lokomotiv 3

New Jersey Devils' prospect Alexander Suglobov had a rare chance to dress for Lokomotiv's main squad and made the best out of it scoring game winning tally early in the third period. Suglobov skated on the line with Vladimir Antipov and Vladimir Samylin in what was just his 15th RSL game this season. Ivan Tkachenko and Samylin also scored for Lokomotiv, while Alexei Badyukov got Khabarovsk on board.

Metallurg Nk 1, Severstal 1 (OT)

Calgary Flames' draftee Roman Rozakov scored his first goal of the season for Severstal. The home side went ahead on Dmitry Pankov's power-play tally 2:36 into the second period. However eight minutes later Rozakov stepped on the ice after serving an interference minor and scored the equalizer on a break-away preceded by a nice pass from Vadim Epanchintsev.

Metallurg Mg 2, Avangard 3 (OT)

Tomas Vlasak set the game to the overtime with just seven seconds left to play in regulation. With just eight secs left in the extra period Alexander Prokopiev's goal earned Ivan Hlinka's side an extra point. Montreal Canadiens' prospect Alexander Perezhogin had a helper on the game winning tally. Also scoring for Avangard was Maxim Sushinsky. Defenders Alex Boikov and Nikolai Ignatov had Metallurg's goals.

Neftekhimik 4, Ak Bars 6

2000 Boston Bruins' third-rounder Sergei Zinoviev delivered one of his best performances of the season scoring twice and assisting on two other goals in a winning cause. Neftekhimik went ahead by two on Almaz Garifullin's and Rinat Kasianov's first period tallies. However Vladimir Plyuschev's side came out strong for the final two periods. Rearguard Dmitry Balmin scored GWG at 7:38 of the third... Also scoring for Kazan were  Alexander Zavialov, Vladimir Tsyplakov and Jan Benda who as well added three assists. Maxim Kraev and Alexei Vakhrushev scored home side's other goals, while Habs draftee Andrei Kruchinin had two assists.

Dinamo 3, Molot-Prikamie 0

Zinetula Belyaletdinov's team dominated for much of the game and created a lot of great scoring opportunities, however Molot's Slovak netminder Martin Klempa gave up just three goals. Alexander Kuvaldin, Alexei Kudashov and Denis Kartsev scored for the blue-and-white, while netminder Alexei Volkov, property of Los Angeles Kings, registered his second shut-out in as many starts. Volkov signed with Dinamo in November but hasn't appeared in a game until last Wednesday's blanking of Salavat Yulaev.

Salavat Yulaev 2, Lada 0

Ufa returned to the top eight after defeating Pyotr Vorobiev's Lada on home ice. Belorussian Andrei Skabelka tallied the winner with less than two minutes left to play in the second period. Latvian International defender Atvars Tribuntsov sealed Salavat's victory with a goal late in the third period... Konstantin Simchuk registered his second shut-out of the season.

CSKA 7, Krylia Sovetov 0

A few of CSKA's highly touted youngsters got on board during this blow-out of hopeless Soviet Wings. Columbus Blue Jacket's Sergei Mozyakin had four assists. Flyers' Alexander Drozdetsky had three points, including a goal that came on cross-crease pass from Mozyakin. Dmitry Subbotin, another forward from Columbus system, had two goals (both came with a man advantage) and an assist. NY Islanders' saw netminder Dusan Salficky getting a shut-out and forward Vladimir Gorbunov scoring his third goal of the season - it came on a quick shot of the face-off... Veteran Sergei Zolotov had a goal and three assists. Former Hamilton Bulldog Alexander Zhurik and Alexei Kolkunov recorded CSKA's other tallies.

Sibir 1, Mechel 2  (OT)

Sergei Paramonov registered his second win in as many games since returning behind Mechel's bench. Igor Varitsky scored the decisive tally at 4:32 of the overtime. Sibir went ahead on Lev Berdichevsky's goal 14:18 into the second period. However 81 seconds later Mechel's Evgeny Galkin pulled the teams back at even.

SKA 6, Spartak 1

The game in St.Petersburg between RSL's outsiders saw an all-time attendance record established. 12,350 seats Ice Palace was sold out, as Boris Mikhailov's side registered it's most impressive and likely to date most important win of the season. SKA had goals from six different skaters: Alexander Galchenyuk, Marat Davydov, Roman Gorev, Alexander Kharlamov, Egor Bashkatov and Oleg Boltunov. Maxim Rybin, Anaheim Mighty Ducks prospect, scored Spartak's loan goal. Netminder Andrei Medvedev came in for Steve Plouffe late in the third period for the second straight game.

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