Andy Potts,
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Jokerit Helsinki 7 HC Sochi 2 (2-1, 4-0, 1-1)

(Series tied at 1-1)

Yesterday, there was little between these teams as Sochi claimed a win in double overtime. Today, Jokerit took the shackles off its offense, and powered to an emphatic victory to square the series.

Photo: 04.03.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Playoffs. Jokerit (Helsinki) - HC Sochi (Sochi)

A purple patch of four goals in 10 minutes at the start of the second period was the key to this game. Jokerit had shaded the opening stanza 2-1, just as it had 24 hours earlier, before letting rip in the middle frame.

John Norman started the fireworks, sliding home a Matt Gilroy pass in the 22nd minute. Then came Gilroy himself, on the PP, winding up a blast from the centre point to beat Konstantin Barulin and end the goalie’s evening. With Dmitry Shikin in the firing line, Pekka Jormakka welcomed him to the game with a fifth Jokerit goal before Niklas Jensen added another entry to his highlight reel when he took Sami Lepisto’s pass in his own zone and charged through a beleaguered Sochi defense to make it six.

All this, and no mention of Eeli Tolvanen? Fear not. The teenage prodigy got the 2-1 goal back in the first period, wiring a one-timer off a Lepisto feed to convert another power play. Then, with 10 minutes left, he produced a similar shot from a similar position – off another Lepisto pass – to wrap up a convincing Jokerit win.

There was little consolation for Sochi following this loss, but Adam Polasek and Dmitry Lugin did find the net for the visitor. The action in this series now heads south, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, with every tied up at 1-1.

Andy Potts,
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