Eastern Conference final, Game 5
(1) Traktor Chelyabinsk 0
(2) Avangard Omsk 1
Avangard wins the series 4-1
Avangard Omsk completed a 4-1 series success over Traktor Chelyabinsk - but booked its place in the grand final by the narrowest of margins.
A 1-0 win in Chelyabinsk on Friday proved enough to seal the series and set up a Gagarin Cup showdown with Dynamo Moscow starting in a week's time.
Anton Belov got the all-important goal on 14:10, unleashing a powerful drive from the blue line after collecting Martin Skoula's pass. That prompted howls of derision from the home crowd, still incensed that no action had been taken against the Omsk defender following an incident in which he appeared to kick out at Evgeny Kuznetsov in the previous game.
However, it was Avangard goaltender Karri Ramo who played the key role in his team's success. The Finn made 30 saves in all to secure his second shut-out of the series, and few were more impressive than his reflex block early in the second period to deny Maxim Mamin. Ramo had fumbled Gennady Razin's blue-liner, but just when it seemed Mamin could not be denied the goalie stretched out his leg and deflected the puck to safety off the blades of his right skate.
Avangard's win means that neither conference will be represented by its strongest team from the regular season. The grand final will get underway on Friday, April 13, with Avangard having home advantage for the start of the best-of-seven series against Dynamo Moscow.