Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (1-1, 0-1, 1-0, 0-1)

(Lokomotiv wins the series 4-0)

Lokomotiv became the first team to book its place in the second round of the 2018 KHL playoffs, wrapping up a series sweep of Torpedo. But, not for the first time in this series, it was a hard-fought game that ended with Artyom Ilyenko claiming the winner.

Photo: 07.03.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Playoffs. Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) - Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)

The youngster, who got the decisive goal in the first game but also suffered an injury, was back in action and reannounced himself at the perfect time, claiming the overtime winner for Lokomotiv. His goal came in the 85th minute, and he scored at the second attempt after seeing his first shot blocked. Ilyenko headed around the back of the net to score on the wraparound and wrap up the series. The home bench quickly appealed for goalie interference, having successfully had a third-period effort ruled out, but the video found no evidence and Ilyenko’s effort stood.

An Ilyenko winner was not the only familiar feature to reappear in this game. For the third time in four games, Torpedo took the lead – but was unable to hold on to its advantage. And, for the second game in a row we saw a big goal from Staffan Kronwall – this time getting Loko’s go-ahead goal early in the second period. However, where Tuesday’s overtime winner was the finishing touch on a delicate passing play, Wednesday’s winner was more of a traditional blue-line blast from the Swedish defenseman. Home goalie Ivan Lisutin looked to have a decent view of the shot but was left on his need with his hand out in supplication as the puck whistled into the net. Stanislav Galimov was called off the bench to see out the remaining 36 minutes of play. It was the second time Lisutin had been beaten from long distance: Loko’s first goal, late in the first period, was a point shot from Alexander Yelesin after the defense had scrambled the puck clear of the net.

That cancelled out an impressive opener from Denis Parshin. He collected the puck in his own zone and showed some blistering speed to scorch down the left wing, circle behind the Loko net and emerge to fire a low shot that slithered through Alexei Murygin’s five-hole to the delight of the home crowd.

But after Loko’s rally, it took a Yury Sergiyenko effort early in the third to extend Torpedo’s season – if only by a few minutes. His point shot took the game into overtime but could not help his team escape its fate in the series.

Andy Potts,
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