Young forward Dmitry Voronkov was the star for Ak Bars as the Eastern Conference leader moved to within a point of CSKA in the race to top the regular season table.
The youngster, part of the World Junior silver medal roster last month, had a goal and an assist in his team’s 2-1 win at lowly Riga. The Latvians, meanwhile, suffered their 12th consecutive loss – an unwelcome club record in the KHL era.
This game was tighter than the league standings would suggest. Ak Bars got an early lead through Emil Galimov in the fifth minute but could not build on that. Andris Dzerins tied the scores late in the first period and the game remained deadlocked until Voronkov’s winner arrived with 66 seconds on the clock.