Staying alive

21 April 2012, 17:22

Gagarin Cup final, Game 5
Avangard Omsk 2
Dynamo Moscow 3
Avangard leads the series 3-2

The Gagarin Cup series continues after Dynamo pulled off a 3-2 win at Avangard Omsk to deny the Siberian side the cup - at least for now. The road win makes the series score 3-2 in favor of Avangard, but ensures that the Moscow team has the chance to level it up on home ice on Monday.

And it was a day of firsts for the Blue-and-Whites - leading play-off scorer Mikhail Anisin ended his drought to get his first goal of the final series, while captain Yury Babenko got his first play-off goal to set the team on its way to the highest scoring win of this hard-fought clash of two well-drilled defensive line-ups.

With Dynamo knowing that only victory could keep the series alive, the visitors started the game on the attack and grabbed the lead after 3:44. Anisin opened the proceedings, firing home from the right-hand circle after collecting a perceptive pass from Konstantin Gorovikov. Then Babenko doubled the advantage, albeit with a large slice of luck. Denis Kokarev rounded the goal before his shot was parried into Babenko’s path, and although Karri Ramo blocked the initial effort the luckless goalie accidently pushed the puck over the line.

No team has recovered a two-goal deficit in this series, and if the stats were already against Avangard the task got even harder in the second period. Gorovikov made it three in the 25th minute - the first time in this hard-fought final series that any team had scored three in a game - before Avangard finally got on the scoresheet thanks to Anton Kuryanov. He cut in from the left, along the goal-line, and with Dynamo’s defense in disarray his pull-back deflected home off a skate. Then with 20 seconds left Yury Alexandrov made it 3-2 as Avangard pulled the goaltender to blitz the Moscow goal, but it was too late to force overtime and clinch the cup at the first attempt.

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