Salavat completes the final four. Eastern semifinals, Day 6

29 March 2014, 18:07

(4) Salavat Yulaev 3
(2) Barys 2
Salavat Yulaev wins the series 4-2

Victory for Salavat Yulaev in Game 6 of this series wrapped up the second round of this season’s play-off and confirmed that the hosts would be the fourth and last team to make it to the Conference finals.

Igor Mirnov got the goal that broke a 1-1 tie and set Salavat Yulaev on its way to face Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Eastern Conference final. His seventh play-off marker came early in the third period and like Salavat’s opening goal it came on the power play; this time Arturs Kulda’s shot was saved but Dmitry Makarov was first to the rebound and his pass presented Mirnov with a simple finish.

That set the tone for a third period where the home team finally exerted control over a close game. Moments after taking the lead Alexander Mereskin came close to stretching that advantage, with only a fine save from Vitaly Yeremeyev denying him.

Then Anton Slepyshev made it 3-1, flashing a wrist shot upstairs on Yeremeyev’s near post to leave Barys with too much to do despite a late goal from Nigel Dawes on the power play setting up a tense finale.

Earlier there had been little to choose between the teams as they traded chances fairly evenly for 40 minutes. Salavat Yulaev took an early lead through Ivan Vishnevsky on the power play. His initial shock was blocked, but he collected a pass from Alexei Kaigorodov and fired past Yeremeyev.

But that lead did not last: Evgeny Blokhin tied it up in the 13th minute with a powerful long-range effort, although goalie Andrei Vasilevsky might feel that he saw it early enough to do better with the shot.

The youngster produced several second period saves to keep his team in it, however, most notably denying Mike Lundin in the 31st minute during a session where both goalies were kept busy but neither yielded to their opponents.