Loko steams into series lead. Western semifinals, Day 3

24 March 2014, 05:12

(8) Lokomotiv 4
(2) SKA 1
Lokomotiv leads the series 2-1

Lokomotiv successfully built on Friday’s impressive comeback win with a powerful performance to take the lead in the series.

It was a performance that said much about Loko’s increasingly strong claims to be regarded as a serious contender for play-off glory: despite entering the fray as the eighth-placed outsider, Dave King’s roster looks to have a potent threat on every line and delivers disciplined defense when needed. The return of Jonas Holos and Alexander Chernikov to the team for this game gives a further lift to an organization that is hitting its best form at just the right time.

SKA, by contrast, looks like a team carrying too many passengers: while the likes of Roman Cervenka and Tony Martensson continue to look dangerous, too many others are underachieving in this post season. Injuries aren’t helping either, though, with Jukka Jalonen still short of key players, most notably Artemy Panarin.

Cervenka found the net again on Sunday, his wrist shot in the 27th minute cancelling out the lead that Vladislav Kartayev had given Lokomotiv just three minutes earlier. But that was as good as it got for SKA, as the home side ultimately glided to a comfortable victory.

Yegor Averin got the go-ahead goal, collecting Yury Petrov’s pass and making a rush that took him around Alexander Salak to score.

SKA tried to up the tempo at the start of the third period, but its hopes were effectively ended by a terrific long-range strike from Sergei Plotnikov to stretch the lead to 3-1. Sergei Konkov, another in-form Loko forward, made it seven goals in four games with an empty-netter to round off a big night in Yaroslavl.


(4) Donbass 2
(3) Lev 3 (1OT)
Lev leads the series 2-1

After a record-breaking stint of overtime in the previous game, Donbass and Lev proved inseparable inside 60 minutes once again. This time, though, it took just 14 minutes of overtime to produce a winner.

Michal Repik got the vital goal – scoring just seconds after he emerged from the penalty box for the second time in overtime.

He collected a pass from Petr Vrana just inside the blue line and unleashed a powerful shot to wrap up the win in the 74th minute.

Victory puts Lev back ahead in the series and was probably a fair reflection of a game in which the visitor consistently produced more shots on goal.

Yet it was Donbass that twice led in regulation: Evgeny Dadonov tipped in a Clay Wilson shot from the blue line to open the scoring in the first period, but Niko Kapanen tied it up from a tight angle in the 28th minute.

Parity lasted just 50 seconds, however, before Evgeny Belukhin – hero of the epic overtime of game two – converted Dadnov’s pass from behind the goal. That lead was also wiped out, though, with Petr Vrana backing up Martin Thornberg’s counter-attack on the penalty kill and getting his reward when he put away the rebound for a short-handed goal.

The third period proved goal-less, leading to Repik’s eventful overtime exploits.


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