Back from nowhere

4 March 2012, 21:08

(8) Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk 6
(1) Traktor Chelyabinsk 7
Traktor lead the series 2-1
A sensational recovery from 6-2 down saw Traktor to an astonishing 7-6 win at Yugra and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Yugra, which had leveled the series in Chelyabinsk on Friday, seemed certain to make the most of home advantage after firing in six goals in less than 20 minutes after Petri Kontiola had given Traktor an early lead. Two each for Igor Skorokhodov and Sergei Demagin – Traktor’s chief tormentors last week - left the Kontinental Cup winners looking ragged as they trailed 6-2 on 26:03.

But an incredible final period saw the visitors fire in five unanswered goals to snatch the unlikeliest of victories with just over two minutes remaining in the game. Jan Bulis led a breakaway from his own zone and fed Maxim Yakutsenya, who fired inside the far post to cap a famous fightback. Vladimir Antipov weighed in with two goals in the recovery, which saw the game transformed with a run of five goals from 44:57 to 57:50.

Experience has the edge
(5) Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3
(4) Ak Bars Kazan 4 OT
Ak Bars lead the series 2-1
Both Salavat Yulaev and Ak Bars have rosters crammed full of play-off know-how - but Sunday proved to be the day when the Kazan side’s title-winning veterans came to the fore in an overtime win in Ufa. Long-serving captain Alexei Morozov got two goals in regulation time, with defenseman Ilya Nikulin finding a third for the visitors. And it was Morozov who set up the winner for Danis Zaripov, another much-medaled Ak Bars star, nine minutes into overtime.

The visitors had been within a minute of winning the game outright, leading 3-2 until Igor Grigorenko forced home an equalizer on 59:07. But Salavat Yulaev couldn’t take that initiative into the extra period and now trails 2-1 in a series it had led 1-0 after an assured opening victory in Kazan.

Barys battles ahead
(6) Barys Astana 3
(3) Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2
Barys lead the series 2-1
Barys Astana took a 2-1 lead in its series against Metallurg Magnitogorsk thanks to a 3-2 win in Kazakhstan. The victory, sealed by Andrew Hutchinson’s goal, sets up a turnaround in a series which looked to be going to form when Magnitka won the opening game last week.

However, Metallurg ended the regular season in surprisingly poor form, and even the boost of a Juhamatti Aaltonen’s opener on 6:08 could not settle Fyodor Kanareikin’s side in Astana. Nigel Dawes and Andrei Gavrilin turned the game around, and even though goaltender Ari Ahonen was benched with more than three minutes to play, Sergei Mozyakin’s goal proved too little too late for Magnitka.

Avangard on the brink
(7) Amur Khabarovsk 2
(2) Avangard Omsk 4
Avangard lead the series 3-0
Another assured display from Avangard put the ‘Hawks’ one game away from reaching the conference semis - but questions still remain over coach Raimo Summanen’s first choice goaltender.

After a goalless first period, with Alexei Kuznetsov making 14 saves for Avangard, it seemed that the visitors would ease through after taking a 2-0 lead through Andrei Ivanov and Dmitry Syomin early in the second period. But two quick goals from Amur saw the game tied by 37:10, and Karri Ramo coming off the bench to replace Kuznetsov.

Ramo proceeded to deliver a shut-out in the final session, and goals from Alexander Nesterov and Roman Cervenka ensured a happy end for Avangard, which can now book its place in the next stage with a win on Monday.


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