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The underdogs bite back

2 March 2012, 23:37

Day three of the KHL play-offs saw some surprise results, with regular season table-toppers Traktor Chelyabinsk humbled at home by lowly Yugra Khanty Mansiysk, and misfiring Metallurg downed by Barys in Magnitogorsk.

About turn
(1) Traktor 2
(8) Yugra 5 
Series tied 1-1

It all seemed so easy for Traktor on Thursday as the Chelyabinsk side rained down the shots on Yugra’s goal and won 3-1. But a day later the tables were turned with a blistering brace at the start of the third period shattering Traktor’s calm progress and set Yugra on the way to a 5-2 win.

The game had been evenly poised at 2-2, but the visitors struck twice in just nine seconds to change all that. On 41:41 Igor Skorokhodov beat Michael Garnett with a wrist shot which the goalie will feel he should have covered, and almost instantly it was 4-2 when Linus Videll’s attempt from a tight angle was deflected home by Alexander Ryazantsev. Sergei Demagin claimed an assist on that goal, and applied the coup-de-grace on 50:33 to make it 5-2 and tie up the series ahead of Sunday’s clash in Khanty Mansiysk.

Metallurg loses its luster
(3) Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1
(6) Barys Astana 4
Series tied 1-1

Metallurg Magnitogorsk came into the play-offs in unpredictable form, and so it continued in game two against Barys Astana. After winning the first match 3-2, Magnitka came unstuck in a 4-1 defeat which sees the action head to Kazakhstan with the series all square.

The visitors dominated throughout, and took an early lead through Lukas Kaspar. Daniil Markov equalized at the start of the second period, but there was little respite and Barys regained the lead when Andrei Gavrilin turned home the loose puck following a blue-liner from Alexei Litvinenko. Talgat Zhailauov increased the lead on 35:23, and there was no way back for Magnitka in the final session even before Dustin Boyd’s empty-netter completed the scoring.

Leaving it late
(
2) Avangard Omsk 4
(7) Amur Khabarovsk 2
Avangard lead the series 2-0

Avangard Omsk took a 2-0 lead in its series against Amur Khabarovsk – but left it late to finally subdue the men from the Far East. The visitors led three times in the game, but on 58:42 Alexander Popov burst through in a one-on-one and beat Alexei Murygin at the second attempt to seal a dramatic 4-3 win for Avangard.

The evening had started much better for Amur, looking to recover from Thursday’s 4-2 defeat. Alexei Kopeikin stunned the home crowd with a goal on 49 seconds, and even though Roman Cervenka got on the score-sheet again to level, home goalie Karri Ramo was soon heading for the benches after Alexander Osipov made it 2-1.

Again, though, Avangard hit back, only for Dmitry Tarasov to reinstate the away team’s lead in the second period. That set the scene for a big turnaround in the closing stages: Cervenka set up Alexander Perezhogin to make it 3-3 on 43:28 before Popov settled matters with overtime beckoning. The teams renew battle in Khabarovsk on Sunday, with Avangard fans hoping for ‘victory at the edge of the world’ against their famously far-flung opponent.

Ak Bars squares as well
(4) Ak Bars Kazan 3 OT
(5) Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2
Series tied 1-1

An overtime goal from Niko Kapanen tied up the heavyweight clash between Ak Bars and Salavat Yulaev at one game apiece. Kapanen got the decisive strike just 48 seconds into the extra period to give Ak Bars a 3-2 win and cancel out Salavat's 3-0 triumph in Thursday's opening game.

The decisive goal came as Kapanen surged forward after winning a face-off and fired across the face of goal into the far corner beyond Erik Ersberg.

Earlier in the game the home side had led twice, with Kirill Petrov opening the scoring on 2:31 and Alexei Morozov scoring early in the second session. But Oleg Saprykin's strike on 41:10 tied the game at 2-2 and set up the overtime and Kapanen's big moment.

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