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One more step for Dynamo. Gagarin Cup Final, Game 4


(3) Traktor Chelyabinsk 0
(3) Dynamo Moscow 1
Dynamo leads the series 3-1

As Russia celebrated Cosmonaut’s Day, marking the anniversary of Yury Gagarin’s first flight into space, Dynamo Moscow’s hopes of retaining the trophy which bears his name are cleared for take-off. A single-goal win in Chelyabinsk on Friday puts the team within one win of resolving the series – and the action moves back to Moscow on Monday where the Blue-and-Whites will hope to bring the season to a conclusion in front of their own fans.

Jakub Petruzalek, Dynamo’s leading post-season point-scorer, broke a 0-0 tie deep into the second period to give the defending champion the narrowest of wins – and a vital 3-1 series lead. He got the decisive touch in front of goal to tip Dominik Granak’s shot past Michael Garnett, atoning for an earlier miss on the powerplay when he fired wastefully wide of goal after Filip Novak’s diagonal pass picked him out in front of goal.

There was still term for some nervous moments: Traktor battled hard in the third period, even as Dynamo’s defensive tactics sought to stifle the game as far as possible. And a penalty against Dmitry Vishnevsky with barely five minutes to play handed the home side the initiative, with Deron Quint, Jan Bulis and Stanislav Chistov all forcing Alexander Yeryomenko to work hard for his shut-out. Then, in the final seconds, Maxim Yakutsenya fired wide of goal from a good position before Sergei Soin charged down a last attempt from Dmitry Ryabykin to preserve Dynamo’s lead.

Although neither side rattled up a huge number of shots on goal the early exchanges made for compelling viewing as both teams wrestled for the initiative. Traktor’s youngsters, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Valery Nichushkin, were particularly lively for the home side – never more so than the moment midway through the second session when Kuznetsov got away from Dynamo’s recalled defenseman Roman Derlyuk, deked Yeryomenko, but saw his shot strike the foot of the post and bounce safely away. Earlier still, in the 17th minute, Petruzalek and Nichushkin both saw good chances denied as play flowed from end to end – but it was the Czech forward who ultimately had the final say.

See also

02.05.2014 Iron Mike: Still the same, but slightly softened

01.05.2014 Alexander Medvedev: Interest in the final was colossal

01.05.2014 Keenan’s victory dance

01.05.2014 Malkin’s message to the men of steel