SKA storms through

6 March 2012, 23:10

(1) SKA St. Petersburg 5
(8) CSKA Moscow 0
SKA win the series 4-1
SKA St. Petersburg booked its place in the Western Conference semi-final with an emphatic 5-0 win over CSKA Moscow, securing a 4-1 series success.

The hosts wasted little time in establishing an advantage - with CSKA a man down, Dmitry Kalinin opened the scoring on 2:34. Maxim Afinogenov, scorer of the winner on Sunday in Moscow, doubled that lead on 9:54 and the outcome of both game and series was effectively decided by Mattias Weinhandl’s shorthanded goal on 13:13.

That prompted a goaltender switch from CSKA, with Rastislav Stana heading to the bench, just as he had on the team’s previous game in Petersburg. But new stopper Sergei Gaiduchenko could do little to revive his team’s fortunes, and conceded further goals to Alexander Kurcheryavenko and Andrei Pervyshin as SKA stormed onwards.

Varnakov hands Torpedo the edge
(2) Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 4
(7) Dinamo Riga 3
Torpedo lead the series tied 3-2
Mikhail Varnakov has had a mixed series for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod against Dinamo Riga: in the opening game his hat-trick led the team to a 7-3 win, but in Game 2 his missed penalty shot in overtime cost a precious second victory.

In Game 5 though, Varnakov was once again the key man, grabbing the all-important goal in Torpedo’s 4-3 win. The game winner arrived on 35:51 - the only score of the second period - after the teams had shared five goals in the opening session. Torpedo took the lead twice, only to be pegged back, before Ilya Krikunov scored in the last second of play to give the Nizhny team a 3-2 lead at the hooter.

The final period saw both sides struggle to test the goaltenders - with just eight shots on target altogether. Dinamo made one of their five count, thanks to Janis Sprukts, but the Latvian side returns home for Thursday’s game knowing only a win will keep it in the competition.

There’s no place like home
(4) Atlant Moscow Region 3
(5) Severstal Cherepovets 1
Atlant lead the series 3-2
The series between Atlant and Severstal has seen five games played, and five home wins. Atlant had the advantage of home comforts on Tuesday, and maintained that sequence with a 3-1 win in Mytishchi.

Not that they had it easy: typically for this hard-fought play-off it took almost half-an-hour to open the scoring, with Nikolai Zherdev doing the honors for the hosts. But Severstal recovered to level on 47:11, ensuring more anxiety for the 6,500 fans who filled the arena.

The home side responded, however, with Branko Radivojevic reinstating the lead on 50:45 before wrapping it up with an empty netter 29 seconds from time. Atlant heads to Cherepovets on Thursday knowing that victory will not only end the hoodoo on away teams in this series, it will put them into the next round.

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