Eastern Conference final, Game 3
(2) Avangard Omsk 1
(1) Traktor Chelyabinsk 0
Avangard leads the series 2-1
A single goal was enough to give Avangard Omsk a 2-1 advantage in the Eastern Conference final series against Traktor Chelyabinsk. Sergei Kalinin got the all-important goal, smashing home a powerful one-timer after Igor Volkov surged down the left channel and squared it to his team mate on 21:51.
But the battle was won in the center zone, where Avangard battled strongly all game to disrupt Traktor’s attacking play and ensure that dangerman Evgeny Kuznetsov was effectively neutralized. So successful was this tactic that the visitors mustered just 19 shots on Karri Ramo’s goal, while giving up 39 to Avangard.
From the start Avangard played on the front foot, compressing the action and penning Traktor into the end zone for long periods, with goaltender Michael Garnett reacting smartly early on to deny Dmitry Syomin and Yegor Averin.
Traktor did create chances as well, particularly late on when Kuznetsov went close in the dying seconds, but it was Avangard who took the spoils and claim a slender lead in the series. The next game is in Omsk on Wednesday.