Going to the wire

2 February 2012, 23:33

The race to top the Tarasov Division - and with it claim second place in the Western Conference - is set to go down to the wire. Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod took advantage of a slip-up by Dinamo Minsk to sneak ahead, while Severstal's win over Lev Poprad means the Steelmen stay with Atlant in a four-horse race. Six points separate the quartet with 10 less than 10 regular season games to go.

Torpedo on top
In Nizhny Novgorod, Torpedo moved clear with a 2-1 win over struggling Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Martin Thornberg and Robert Nilsson struck in quick succession early in the second period to keep the home crowd happy and move the hosts up to 79 points.

Dinamo stumble
Spartak Moscow's play-off hopes are vanishingly slim, but that didn't stop the Red-and-Whites dealing a blow to Dinamo Minsk. The Belarussians are stuck on 78 points, one behind Torpedo, after a 5-2 defeat at Sokolniki. The decisive action came in the second period when Stefan Ruzicka and Alexander Komaristy got two quickfire goals to open up a 4-2 cushion. Earlier Ruzicka had opened the scoring, but Dinamo fought back to tie the game at 2-2 by the end of the first session.

Severstal still in it
Severstal Cherepovets kept in touch with its divisional rivals thanks to a 3-0 win over Lev Poprad - but the scoreline did not entirely reflect the efforts of the Slovak side. Although Severstal took the lead through Mikko Lehtonen on 16:19, the visitors just shaded the second period but could not force an equalizer. In the end, two goals in the last 10 minutes settled the outcome, but home goalie Vadim Tarasov did well for his 24 saves.

Babenko's bonus
Dynamo Moscow has already booked its play-off place, and an overtime win against Amur Khabarovsk stretched the Blue-and-Whites' winning streak to three games. Yury Babenko got the all important goal, 20 seconds before the final siren. Earlier Sergei Konkov and Sergei Soin each posted 1+1 following Jakub Petruzalek's opener for Amur.

The art of finishing
Goals win games, as Vityaz Chekhov demonstrated at home to CSKA Moscow on Thursday evening. While the visitors had by far the greater share of the chances, forcing Danila Alistratov into 32 saves, the hosts skated to a 2-1 win thinks to clinical finishing in the second period. Vityaz only mustered seven shots in that session - and just 17 in total - by Evgeny Timkin and Sergei Lesnukhin made sure that two of them counted. Tomas Surovy's goal for CSKA was too little, too late.

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