(8) Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2
(1) Avangard Omsk 3
Series tied 3-3
The Omsk managed to level the series but it was far from easy. Indeed, with just six and a half minutes left until the final siren they were facing a defeat which would have completely killed off their Gagarin Cup campaign. But then two quickfire goals (moreover, one them short-handed) in under three minutes from Anton Kuryanov brought them a stunning regulation time victory.
“We had to win today so we tried to do everything we possibly could,” said victorious defenseman Dmitry Ryabykin. “Thank the Lord that it all worked out; we even got a short-handed goal, which I think was lucky. Even better that it was a difficult, hard-fought victory. It gives you extra confidence. I see nothing bad about the series going down to the wire - a long rest can also be bad for you.”
The decisive Game 7 takes place Sunday in Omsk. It is worth keeping in mind that of the six games completed in this series, the visitors have won four.
(5) Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk 1
(4) Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4
Metallurg win the series 4-2
Yugra came very close to emulating the Omsk men and taking their series to a seventh and final game. Indeed, the KHL new boys opened the scoring, and in previous games in this series the team which scored first has gone on to win. This time, however, it was not to be. A mere seven minutes after home forward Dmitry Altaryev drew first blood, the visitors were leading 3-1 and for the remainder of the game they calmly coasted to victory.
“It’s probably an accumulation of fatigue,” admitted Yugra head coach Sergei Shepelev. “I think we poured all of our emotional energy into the earlier games in the series. The signs appeared in the previous game, in the third period, when we couldn’t score playing 5-on-3. That’s all. After that, you could say we were running on empty.”
“Yugra is an excellent team,” Shepelev’s opposite number at Magnitogorsk, Kari Heikkila, was full of praise. “Our opponents played very well tactically. We got through because we have a lot of experienced players in our roster. In the play-offs timing can be crucial, so that game two days ago proved decisive, when we won in overtime on our own ice.”