(Jokerit leads the series 3-1)
Jokerit is just one game away from reaching the Western Conference semi-finals for only the second time in its KHL career after overcoming a battling Sochi team.
The Finns thought they had this game won in regulation, but with five seconds left Sochi snatched a dramatic equalizer, tying the scores at 2-2. Ironically, it was Finnish defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka who frustrated his compatriots. He stepped up from the point to meet Sean Collins pass and thumped it through traffic to beat Ryan Zapolski and force the game into overtime.
Once into the extras, though, Pekka Jormakka gave Jokerit the win and put the team 3-1 up in the series. After losing the opening game in Helsinki, Jokerit roared back with a pair of 7-2 victories and this time it held its nerve in OT to take a big step towards winning the series.
Jormakka’s goal, in the 72nd minute, came after he picked up a loose puck in centre ice and headed for the net. He ran into trouble between two D-men, but a helping hand from Mika Niemi put Jormakka into a shooting position and Konstantin Barulin was unable to save his team.
That winner meant Jokerit could finally celebrate a victory it thought it had claimed after taking the lead for a second time in the last five minutes. Matt Gilroy’s point shot flashed through the sticks of Tolvanen and Brian O’Neill – the latter was credited with the touch that beat Barulin.
The late scoring flurry echoed the start of the game, when the teams traded goals inside the first 10 minutes. Jokerit got an early lead when it converted the first power play of the game. Eeli Tolvanen did the damage, given time and space to unleash his devastating wrist shot from the top of the circle and leave Konstantin Barulin with no chance.
But the lead lasted less than two minutes before Sean Collins tied the game. The Canadian took up a position wide right on the goal line after Sochi won an attacking face-off and managed to squeeze in a shot from an incredibly tight angle to beat Zapolski and make it 1-1. That early exchange set the tone for a close encounter, with both teams creating chances but neither able to settle the outcome in regulation.