Dynamo Moscow’s 5-2 win over Avangard on Monday night means the Gagarin Cup final will go to a decisive seventh game - and Avangard head coach Raimo Summanen can’t wait.
Despite seeing his team throw away a 3-1 series advantage, the Finn remained upbeat when speaking to journalists after Monday’s game in Moscow.
“I think the party is just starting now, and it’s all warming up. There’s nothing more to say,” he said in the post-match press conference.
For Dynamo’s Oleg Znarok, however, his experience of a game seven decider against Ak Bars in 2010 is not necessarily a key factor.
“It’s completely different this time. What happened [two years ago] is something else,” he said.
And the trainer added that he couldn’t honestly explain how his team had transformed its game in the last two fixtures to save the series and set up the final showdown.
Summanen goes into that decider without two key players - injured forward Sergei Kalinin and suspended defenseman Anton Belov - but despite his sympathy for the missing men he reassured Avangard fans that all was well within the squad.
“Sometimes these things happen, but it’s a team game,” he said. “Kalinin, unfortunately, needs to go to Germany for an operation. You always feel bad for a player when this happens.
“But we will be ready. Like I said before, it’s just getting started and the next game is at home, in front of our own fans.”
The coach ruled out any extended post mortem into the previous two games, even though on both occasions Dynamo forced Avangard on to the back foot from the first face-off.
“The biggest thing in sport is how you react to something you don’t expect, whether you still concentrate and play your game,” he said. “That’s when you really know how good you are.
“We just need to concentrate on our game, and we can think about the rest after the season. It’s useless to start thinking too much now. We have one game left, and then the whole summer to think about things.”
And Summanen even had time to joke about a tear in his jacket sleeve after he stumbled against the perspex late in the game.
“I think maybe it’s a cheap Italian jacket - I should get a Russian one!”