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Avangard in retreat

12.03.2010

Result of the day
Neftekhimik - Avangard 6-2. After two games, Neftekhimik have a 2:0 lead, and is anyone really surprised? Saddest of all for the Omsk men is that no one is likely to regard this result as much of a sensation. Why should things be any different at a club where they change the coach a matter of hours before the play-offs start? Moreover, the wording of the explanation of Igor Nikitin’s dismissal reads somewhat bizarrely, “The team had not been performing at the end of the regular championship”. They seem unable to comprehend that coaches, having already secured the necessary position in the table, need to focus on preparing for the decisive games to come. And on top of this they appoint a successor who has not the slightest experience of this competition. And Raimo Summanen does not even know the language.

So justice is being done in this pairing. At the first sign of any weakness, a coach as cunning as Vladimir Krikunov will put his opponents to the sword without mercy.

Mini-series
Vladimir Antipov and Alexander Radulov at Salavat Yulaev have scored points in both games played so far in this round of the Gagarin Cup. The two have each contributed a goal and an assist.

Magnitogorsk’s Denis Khlystov has scored a goal in each encounter with Traktor, and Jan Marek has also earned points in both games, with an assist in the first and a goal in the second.

Ak Bars also boast two players who have notched points in both matches. Niko Kapanen’s account already stands at three goals, whereas his fellow countryman Hannes Hyvonen has two goals and an assist to his name.

Neftekhimik’s Maxim Pestushko and Dmitry Makarov are also yet to leave the ice empty handed. Pestushko has struck a goal in each game while Makarov has supplied the decisive passes.

Vasily Koshechkin has now kept his goal intact for 57 minutes and 8 seconds, the second longest current unbeaten spell. Top spot is currently occupied by Spartak’s Dimitrij Kotschnew, who has played over 101 minutes since he last conceded.

Into an empty net
Niko Kapanen has become the fourth player in the current play-offs to score into an unguarded net, following similar goals by players from Magnitogorsk, Nizhnekamsk and Riga. The most surprising exchange of a goaltender for a sixth skater came in the Neftekhimik vs Avangard game, when the Omsk coach pulled the goalie at 37:04 with the score at 4-0.

Six doubles
Maxim Yakutsenya is the sixth player to score a double in this year’s Gagarin Cup. Fans of both Neftekhimik and HC MVD have already celebrated seeing two doubles from their teams so far.

Figures of the day
44 shots at the Barys goal from the Ak Bars players.

7 shots at goal by Avtomobilist attacker Alexei Simakov and Metallurg Magnitogorsk forward Jan Marek.

27 minutes 5 seconds spent in play by Barys defenseman Tomas Kloucek.

76% of 25 face-offs won by Ak Bars attacker Niko Kapanen.

Key players
Vasily Koshechkin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Was equal to all but one of the attacks he faced, saving 27 shots in all.

Renat Mamashev (Neftekhimik). Spent more than 19 minutes in play and earned an efficiency rating of +2.

Vitaly Proshkin (Salavat Yulaev). Scored a goal and spent more than 20 minutes in play.

Maxim Yakutsenya (Neftekhimik). Struck a double, with one goal in powerplay and the other short-handed.

Alexei Tereshchenko (Ak Bars). Scored a goal, made two assists, and spent 18 minutes 16 seconds on the ice.

Alexander Radulov (Salavat Yulaev). Had five shots in total, scored one goal and created another.

Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru