Andy Potts,
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Avangard Omsk 3 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2 (2-1, 1-0, 0-1)

(Series tied at 3-3)

The epic battle between Avangard and Salavat Yulaev is all set up for a game seven showdown after Avangard kept its season alive with victory in Omsk.

Photo: 12.03.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Playoffs. Avangard (Omsk region) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

Faced with a must-win game, Avangard began brightly but faced a difficult early penalty kill before taking the lead after seven minutes. Andre Petersson’s fifth goal of the playoffs wasn’t the prettiest the Swede will ever score, forcing the puck home after a series of rebounds and deflections, but it was a vital tally early in the game. With nerves somewhat settled, the host added a second goal in the 18th minute. Salavat Yulaev saw an attack break down and Yegor Martynov’s clearance found its way to Andrei Stas as the visiting defense failed to make a telling intervention. Stas shot, Ben Scrivens made the block, but Ansel Galimov was on hand to convert the rebound despite claims that he had encroached on the crease before scoring.

Avangard looked to have a dominant position in the game, but it was a matter of seconds before Salavat Yulaev got right back in contention. In the last minute of the opening frame, the Ufa team pushed forward and got its reward when Ilya Zubov fed Igor Makarov from behind the net. Makarov’s shot got through Dominik Furch, and Enver Lisin was on the spot to tap into an empty net for his first goal of this year’s playoffs.

The first-period stats highlighted how slender Avangard’s advantage was – the teams were almost levels in terms of shots on goal and time on offense. But an early power play in the second frame saw the host reinstate its two-goal cushion. Anton Burdasov found himself in the box against his former club and Avangard took advantage to record its ninth power play goal of these playoffs. Kirill Semyonov was the scorer, getting his first of post season when he swept home the rebound from a Dmitry Kugryshev shot.

Salavat Yulaev wasn’t done. Another Makarov effort early in the third period produced a rebound that Zubov forced home, setting up a tense finale. With 15 minutes still to play, the visitor had hopes of settling the game and the series in its favor without the need to return to Ufa for a grand finale. However, Furch would not yield in the closing stages and Avangard tied the series and took the action back to Bashkiria on Wednesday.

Andy Potts,
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Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
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