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Ak Bars posts second shut-out. Eastern semi-finals, Day 3

16 March 2015, 22:41

(4)Avangard 0 

(1) Ak Bars 2

Ak Bars leads the series 2-1

For the second game in a row Ak Bars shut out Avangard to move ahead in this series as injuries begin to bite into Raimo Summanen’s line-up.

Shorn of the talents of Vladimir Sobotka and Denis Parshin the home team was struggling to field more than one line with a potent goal threat and a well-drilled Kazan defense was always going to make it hard to find a breakthrough. By the first intermission in a game where there were few clear-cut chances, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s team was confident that it could step up the pace without fear of being caught on a counter-attack.

It still took until almost halfway through the game before Ak Bars got in front, though. Ilya Nikulin, still a reliable goal-scorer from the blue-line, followed up a neat move to score from mid-range. Avangard looked short of ideas, and even if it was able to spend more game time around Anders Nilsson’s net it wasn’t really stretching the Swede.

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By the middle of the third period the game was up: Justin Azevedo delivered the coup-de-grace after Yakov Rylov’s swift break, firing home a one-timer off Igor Mirnov’s pass. At the other end Nilsson blocked 25 shots for his shut-out and Avangard fell behind in the series. The main consolation comes from a sense of déjà vu – the Omsk team found itself in similar circumstances against Barys but still managed to come through in seven games. 

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