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Kontinental champion!

26.02.2012

Traktor Chelyabinsk secured the Kontinental Cup for the best team of the regular season - but only after a nerve-jangling 5-4 win over Severstal Cherepovets. Jan Bulis got the winner on 53:51, barely a minute after Alexander Ryazantsev had tied the game at 4-4. Earlier Severstal had opened up a 2-0 lead thanks to first period goals from Niclas Bergfors and Gennady Stolyarov, but the home side hit back to ensure it finished top of the table after 54 regular season games. Severstal's defeat meant that Atlant claimed home advantage at the start of the play-offs, despite the Moscow Region team losing heavily to Metallurg Novokuznetsk.

Close, but no cigar
That meant SKA St. Petersburg had to settle for second in the overall standings, despite a 4-1 win over Sibir Novosibirsk. Gleb Klimenko scored twice in a routine home win as the Army Men warmed up for a clash with CSKA starting on Wednesday.

Advantage Magnitka
In the race for third place in the East, Metallurg Magnitogorsk edged out rivals Salavat Yulaev with a 4-3 home win. The result, sealed by Alexander Svitov's goal on 39:51, means that defending champion Salavat slumps to fifth in the Eastern Conference and faces a tough path through the play-offs starting with a series against long-time rivals Ak Bars Kazan. Magnitka will start its campaign against Barys Astana.

Ak Bars beaten
The Kazan team went down to a shoot-out defeat after a 4-4 draw at Yugra. Igor Skorokhodov got the winner, but Ak Bars will feel it should have seen the game out after leading 3-1 in the 24th minute. Two goals from Danis Zaripov helped the visitors gain the upper hand, but Vitaly Sitnikov scored twice in reply for Yugra.

Barys up to sixth
Barys Astana ensured that it won the race for sixth place in the East - and avoided a play-off against either divisional winner - by beating Vityaz Chekhov 3-2 in Kazakhstan. Jiri Novotny got the decisive goal with just 62 seconds to play.

Moscow delight
The three Moscow teams all won, making it a rare case of capital punishment for their opponents this season. For Dynamo, a 5-3 win at home to Lev Poprad was confirmed late in the game, with Dmitry Pestunov (54:07) and Leo Komarov (55:14) wrapping up the regular season in style at Luzhniki. CSKA had a morale-boosting overtime win at Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod thanks to Nikita Filatov's goal. Meanwhile, in the clash of two sides missing out on the play-offs, Stefan Ruzicka added a shoot-out winner to his assist as Spartak edged out Avtomobilist in Yekaterinburg.

Around the league
Avangard Omsk, second in the East, ended the season with a home defeat to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. Igor Polygalov's first-period double gave the visitors an advantage which enabled them to withstand a home fightback and win 4-3.

Metallurg Novokuznetsk enjoyed a last hurrah at Atlant, winning 4-1 in its final game of the current season. Anton Lazerev scored twice, while the Moscow Region side still looks short of form going into the play-offs.

In Latvia, Dinamo Riga signed off with a 3-2 win over Amur Khabarovsk thanks to Martins Cipulis' goal on 49:45.