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Paying the penalty

14 March 2012, 22:56

 Eastern Conference semi-finals, Game 1
(1) Traktor Chelyabinsk 3
(4) Ak Bars Kazan 1
Traktor lead the series 1-0

It took almost 55 minutes for the officials to call a penalty in Wednesday’s clash between Traktor Chelyabinsk and Ak Bars Kazan – but when they did the game’s first powerplay proved decisive as the home side won 3-1.

Stanislav Chistov got the game-winner 25 seconds after Oleg Petrov was sinbinned for interference on 54:27 and gave Traktor the early advantage in the Eastern Conference semi-final series.

The sequence pits together the double Gagarin Cup winner from Kazan and the 2012 Kontinental Cup holder, and it was Ak Bars which struck first through Evgeny Skachkov on 23 minutes. That effort was cancelled out by Andrei Popov and after Chistov’s game-winner, Konstantin Panov scored his second play-off goal into the net which Petri Vehanen had vacated just seconds earlier.

Magnitka digs deep
(2) Avangard Omsk 0
(3) Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1 OT
Metallurg lead the series 1-0

Metallurg Magnitogorsk handed Avangard Omsk its first defeat in the play-offs – and recorded a fourth successive overtime win into the bargain.

Sergei Mozyakin got the game’s only goal on 67:26, converting Alexei Kaigorodov’s pass to the far post to finally beat Avangard’s Karri Ramo at the end of a gritty encounter.

The outcome might also illustrate the truth of the old axiom that the only way to stay game fit is to play games: Avangard cruised into the conference semis with a 4-0 sweep of Amur Khabarovsk, and had a week without competitive action in preparation for Magnitka. Metallurg, by contrast, went to Game 7 against Barys Astana, and has seen its last four encounters go to overtime – and yet still found the energy to prevail in another extended encounter.

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