The greatest goals and most spectacular saves from the Conference semi-finals, starring Vitaly Kravtsov, Mika Niemi, Ilya Sorokin and Alexander Sudnitsin – the KHL is proud to bring you the best moments from the second knockout round of the tenth Championship.
We begin our countdown of the ten best semi-final goals with a fine effort from Lokomotiv youngster Artur Kayumov, with the Railwaymen's opening goal in the series against reigning champion SKA. In the other Wild West confrontation, CSKA forward Sergei Andronov charged down the right flank, beat the Jokerit defenseman, and not even Karri Ramo could stop him from claiming an impressive individual goal. For Number eight, we now head East to savour the sublime pass from Ak Bars legend Danis Zaripov to Justin Azevedo. There was a similarly telepathic understanding between SKA pair Nikolai Prokhorkin and Viktor Tikhonov, who conjured up our seventh-best strike of the round, and between Ufa pair Linus Omark and Ilya Zubov, bewitching the Traktor defense and claiming sixth spot.
One of Russia's Olympic heroes, young Kirill Kaprizov of CSKA, had suffered a bit of a dry spell for the Army Men, but he snapped it with a goal made of pure determination, still falling as he scored. Ak Bars fans are unlikely to forget Jiri Sekac's sublime solo strike against Magnitogorsk, but this was bettered by our bronze medal goal, another individual masterpiece by a legend already mentioned, above: yes, it's Omark! The longest game in KHL history was settled by our silver-medal strike by Jokerit's Mika Niemi, but the Goal of the Round came from the Rookie of the Round, Traktor's exciting young forward Vitaly Kravtsov. Hard to believe he is still only 18, and even harder to find a way to stop him from scoring.
Traktor's Vasily Demchenko proved a worthy stand-in for Pavel Francouz, and his heroic effort kicks off our Top Ten Saves of the Semis. Vasily Koshechkin of Magnitogorsk is also no stranger to spectacular stops, as Ak Bars defenseman Atte Ohtamaa can testify. Mikko Koskinen was one of the biggest factors (both in the figurative and physical sense) in SKA Saint Petersburg's triumph over Lokomotiv, and only he knows how he conjured up this amazing rescue following a shot from Yaroslavl forward Daniil Apalkov. Emil Garipov of Ak Bars refused to wilt in the face of an onslaught from Magnitka's formidable Kovar line, while Railwayman Alexander Sudnitsin fought like a lion in the series against SKA, and the pain of defeat should be soothed by memories of this superb save.
Pavel Francouz was undoubtedly one of the heroes of the Conference semi-finals, and the Traktor's keeper deservedly gets our Top Five saves underway. At the other end, Salavat Yulaev's Ben Scrivens had a less successful series, but the Canadian was nonetheless good enough to record our fourth finest stop of the round. In third place is Karri Ramo of the Fighting Finns – the veteran Jokerit goalie expertly dealt with Army Man Alexander Popov's accurate shot. In second-best spot is a second appearance from Lokomotiv's Alexander Sudnitsin, who made SKA battle every inch of the way, while the Save of the Semi-finals was from CSKA's Ilya Sorokin – the young goalie's heroics against the Helsinki Men has to be seen to be believed.