First finalist

22 March 2012, 19:12

Eastern Conference semi-finals, Day 5
(2) Avangard Omsk 3 OT
(3) Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2
Avangerd wins the series 4-1
Avangard became the first team to book its place in the Eastern Confernce final with an overtime win over Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Thursday. That success sealed a 4-1 series win and puts the Siberian side into the third round of play-off action after just nine games.

The vital goal came on 63:50 from Igor Volkov, who battled past Lasse Kukkonen to beat Ari Ahonen at the second attempt.

Earlier the teams had tied 2-2 in regulation time: free-scoring Roman Cervenka’s 15th point of the play-offs looked like it might be enough to win inside 60 minutes, but with 39 seconds left to play Sergei Fedorov leveled it up as Magnitka gambled on an extra attacker to try to save the game.

Avangard now has a week to prepare before it faces the winner of the Traktor Chelyabinsk – Ak Bars series in the Eastern Conference final, which is due to start on March 29.

The longest night … almost
(1) Traktor Chelyabinsk 1
(4) Ak Bars Kazan 2 3OT
Traktor leads the series 3-2
Ak Bars pulled off an overtime win in Chelyabinsk to keep the series against Traktor alive – and continue its invincible run in sudden death hockey.

Danis Zaripov got the game winner on 108:54 to settle an epic encounter which went into a third period of extras. And that was the fourth time in four attempts that Ak Bars had won in overtime in this year’s play-offs. The game was the longest played this season, and Zaripov’s winner came just 18 seconds before the clock would have ticked on to the longest game in Russian hockey history.

The win pegs Traktor back to 3-2 in the series, although Deron Quint’s first post-season goal had given the Chelyabinsk side hope of joining Avangard in the conference final when he cancelled out Kirill Petrov’s opener early in the third period.

The teams meet again in Kazan on Saturday, with Ak Bars knowing that once again, only a win will do.

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