For the second game running, Metallurg’s Canadian forwards each got on the scoresheet. Those three tallies helped Magnitka record its third successive victory in this Eastern Conference semi-final, turning a 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 lead.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 5 Avangard Omsk 2 (1-1, 1-0, 3-1)

(Metallurg leads the series 3-2)

After four consecutive road wins left this series deadlocked, Metallurg found a way to change the script and get a win on home ice. Now Ilya Vorobyov’s team can complete the job in Balashikha on Monday.

The opening goal came early through the first period and, with a nod to Alexander Kadeikin’s effort for Salavat Yulaev, it came out of the corner. Andrei Chibisov fired the puck towards the slot and saw it bounce off the back of Simon Hrubec and into the net. In front after just three minutes, Metallurg looked to increase its lead but found that Avangard was creating the better chances. Midway through the opening session, the visitor was close to tying the game on the counter attack when Kirill Semyonov set up Peter Cehlarik in a great place for a shot. However, the Slovak forward was unable to beat Vasily Koshechkin.

Indeed, the sudden fall in Cehlarik’s productivity has been a feature of the turnaround in this series. After game two, the Olympic bronze medallist led the playoff scoring with 10 assists. Since then, though, nothing. Missing that offensive contribution slows the Hawks’ attack, although late in the first period they managed to draw level when Alexei Bereglazov’s point shot went through traffic to beat Koshechkin.

The other big problem for Avangard in post season is a shortage of numbers on defense. Bob Hartley simply does not have the personnel to compensate for the absence of Ville Pokka and Oliwer Kaski and with each passing game, the inflated workload for the likes of Bereglazov and Alexei Emelin takes more of a toll. In today’s game, fatigue led to penalties – and penalties led to Metallurg goals.

Late in the second period, Vladimir Bryukvin’s tripping call set up the home team for Philippe Maillet to restore its lead. Nikolai Goldobin’s vision from the center point deserves a mention here, pulling play away from the defense’s expectations and helping uncover a shooting lane for Maillet to score.

Then, in the third period, discipline fell away and Avangard suffered. Nikita Soshnikov’s needless shoulder-charge on Pavel Akolzin saw him ejected from the game and Avangard forced to kill a major penalty. Metallurg’s power play took its time, but came up with a goal 14 seconds before the visitor returned to full strength. Josh Currie was the scoring, beating Hrubec at the third attempt to give his team some daylight. A minute later, Bereglazov hauled back Brendan Leipsic as he shaped to shoot at Hrubec and conceded a penalty shot that the Canadian picked himself up to convert.

Late in the game, Ivan Nalimov went into the Metallurg net for a spot of competitive action. Almost immediately, Hrubec left as Avangard tried to force the pace with fully four minutes left to play. However, there would be no stirring fightback; instead Nikita Korostelyov scored into the empty net to make it 5-1. Avangard managed a late consolation when young defenseman Timofei Davydov potted his second of the playoffs 17 seconds from time, but this was very much Metallurg’s day as the Eastern top seed hits the front in this series for the first time.

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Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
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