KHL champs regain winning form against Spartak

Salavat Yulaev are finally back to winning ways in the Kontinental Hockey League as the reigning champions ended their three-game winless streak in Moscow.

­Both teams entered the game from a poor run. Spartak have won only once in their four-match home series with a disastrous goal difference, 10-20, while the Gagarin Cup-holders Salavat Yulaev had just two wins from 11 matches including a three-match losing streak.

Despite enjoying possession and territory from the very start, Salavat Yualaev squandered their opportunities, while the hosts counterattacked while waiting for their chance. And they received one in the 15th minute and finally broke the deadlock.

Spartak’s Aleksander Komaristy was the quickest on the rebound after a slap shot, 1-0.

Four minutes into the second period and the Red-and-Whites doubled their lead. Marcel Hossa passed to Stefan Ruzicka, who sent the puck into the top corner of the net with a wrist shot.

However, the Bashkir side got back into the game just two minutes later as Salavat’s Vladislav Karataev skated around the net and slid the puck with his backhand to cut the deficit to just a goal, 2-1.

In the decisive period, it seemed like the Muscovites would withstand and secure the cushion. But four minutes before the end, Igor Mirnov riffled it home with a wrist shot for an equalizer and the game went to overtime where the visitors were lucky to claw out a narrow win as Mirnov doubled his tally in style.

Spartak’s netminder Ivan Kasutin, who was flawless throughout the game, failed to deflect the shot.

The win grants a respite for Salavat Yulaev, who return home in a relatively positive mood, while Spartak suffered their third straight defeat on domestic ice and will try to get back on winning track on the road.

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