One step away

1 April 2012, 22:29

Western Conference final, Game 3
(3) Dynamo Moscow 3
(1) SKA St. Petersburg 1
Dynamo lead the series 3-0

Mikhail Anisin was Dynamo’s hero once again as he fired home the winner in a dramatic play-off clash in front of a sell-out Luzhniki crowd in Moscow. For long periods of the game the home side found itself under pressure as a feisty SKA showing forced the Blue-and-Whites on to the back foot. But after clinging on to a 1-1 game, Dynamo finally profited as the visitors ran into penalty troubles in the third to win it 3-1. Just as SKA returned to full strength Filip Novak found Anisin in space and the young forward glided forward to fire home his tenth goal of the play-offs on 52:46.

He wasn’t done there - another powerplay saw him pick out veteran forward Konstantin Gorovikov who chipped home from a tight angle on 54:48 to send the home crowd into raptures and give Dynamo an imposing 3-0 cushion in series which many expected to go the distance.

Yet for long periods it had seemed that SKA would reduce the arrears after escaping the intensity of the Petersburg sporting goldfish bowl. A vigorous fore-checking game kept Dynamo on the back foot for long periods, and it took a courageous performance from goaltender Alexander Yeryomenko to ensure that the first period finished goalless even as SKA outshot the hosts 15-3.

Shortly after midway SKA finally got the goal its pressure deserved, with Vladimir Tarasenko breaching Yeryomenko’s defenses at last with a mid-range one-timer. Mattias Weinhandl was then inches away from doubling the advantage as he sent Tony Martensson’s pull-back squirming across the face of goal.

But profligacy has its price - and Dyanmo exacted it in full. A penalty against Weinhandl relieved the pressure at last, and while the visitors survived that barrage there was no answer when Dmitry Vishnevsky popped up in the right-hand channel to force Denis Mosalyov’s pass beyond Jakub Stepanek and transform the atmosphere in the arena.

An evenly-fought third period could have gone either way, but turned on the ejection of dangerman Maxim Rybin with a 2+10 call from a challenge to the head of Gorovikov. From that moment, in the words of the t-shirts given out to Dynamo fans, it was "Nobody, apart from us", and the capital club is one game away from contesting its first championship final since its 2005 success.

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