East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
Medvescak Zagreb 4
Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1
Whisper it, but Medvescak could be heading for a repeat of the highs of its debut season. Almost unnoticed the Zagreb team has set off on a six-game winning streak – and tonight’s 4-1 success at home to Metallurg Magnitogorsk could be the most impressive success to date for Croatia’s Bears.
Key to that success was taming the irrepressible Sergei Mozyakin, who came in with five points from the previous two games but could not muster a shot on goal until the third period. Considering Magnitka had complete control of the opening session, the work required to keep Mozyakin’s line away from the danger areas was striking.
In the middle session, buoyed by surviving the initial onslaught, Medvescak got its own offense rolling. Goals from Milan Jurcina, Radek Smolenak and Marek Kvapil opened up a 3-0 lead while Gasper Kroselj remained unbeaten until the 43rd minute when Vladislav Kaletnik finally got Magnitka on the board.
That was as good as it got for the visitor, though: Kroselj held firm to finish with 33 saves and Kvapil completed the scoring into the empty net as Zagreb celebrated the joy of six.
Winning start for Zakharkin
Slovan Bratislava 3
Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 (OT)
Salavat Yulaev responded to its unimpressive form by shuffling its coaching pack. Igor Zakharkin, previously working as ‘coaching coordinator’, was ushered behind the bench for Friday’s game at Slovan, while his immediate predecessor Anatoly Yemelin was given an assistant coach’s role.
The switch generated some pluses – most notably a three-goal blitz in the space of six second-period minutes to turn the game around. Andreas Enqvist, Ivan Vishnevsky and Nikolai Prokhorkin found the net to cancel out Milan Bartovic’s first-period opener for the host.
But Zakharkin’s biggest coaching calls came in the third period as he sought to revitalize his team after it lost that 3-1 lead. Radovan Pulis and Tomas Surovy pulled Slovan level; Zakharkin called a time-out on 52:12 to try to refloat his leaking vessel.
His words did enough to see the game into overtime without further mishap and once there he saw Salavat snatch a much-needed victory thanks to a power play goal from Alexander Loginov with just 26 seconds left to play.