Albert Yarullin marked his 500th KHL game with a goal and two assists to help Traktor square this Eastern Conference final series. Metallurg battled hard to recover from 2-5 in the third period, twice withdrawing goalie Ivan Nalimov to boost the power play and claw back to a single-goal deficit.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4 Traktor Chelyabinsk 6 (0-0, 2-4, 2-2)

(Series tied at 1-1)

Metallurg made the brighter start, with Denis Zernov getting a one-on-one breakaway against Roman Will in the second minute. Nikolai Goldobin sent the home center beyond the Traktor defense, but Will denied Zernov twice to keep the scoreboard blank. That set the tone for the early exchanges, and by the middle of the first period Traktor was still awaiting its first shot on target.

Gradually, though, the visitor came into the game. Traktor got a further boost when it earned the first power play of the day when Grigory Dronov was called for tripping and in the latter stages of the opening frame Metallurg had difficulty clearing the puck from the slot on more than one occasion.

That led to the opening goal early in the second period. Sergei Kalinin was the player in the danger zone, and Albert Yarullin picked him out with a pass from the right-hand boards to set up the scoring chance.

Soon after that goal, Josh Currie and Sergei Telegin dropped the gloves after the Traktor defenseman took exception to Currie’s hit on a team-mate and sought to discuss the matter further after the whistle. Both players were handed fighting majors.

The lead was cancelled out midway through the second period when Metallurg got a 5-on-3 power play. Vladimir Tkachyov’s penalty did not cause too many problems for Will, but when Alexei Byvaltsev followed his team-mate into the box, Magnitka upped the tempo. Tkachyov returned to the game, but Traktor could not hold out. Metallurg engineered an open goal for Phillippe Maillet but he fluffed his shot and looked inside to pick out Anatoly Nikontsev, who fired home the tying goal.

Traktor regained the lead in the 33rd minute thanks to its first defensive pairing. Lawrence Pilut brought the play from one end of the ice to the other. He drilled a feed across the face of the net, where Kalinin could only steer it back to the point. There, Yarullin was waiting to fire in a slap shot that Vasily Koshechkin could only deflect into his own net.

Then came two goals in 30 seconds, with Kirill Kapustin extending the visitor’s lead before Andrei Chibisov’s ingenious set-up produced an emphatic finish from Yegor Yakovlev to make it a one-goal game once again.

However, that wasn’t the end of the action in a breathless middle frame. In the final minute of play, Traktor restored its two-goal lead thanks to Tkachyov. The forward finished off a classy move involving Yarullin and Pilut.

The third period began with Tkachyov scoring ahead and Traktor’s 5-2 lead seemed solid. But Metallurg refused to give up. Ilya Vorobyov swapped his goalies, bringing Ivan Nalimov into the game in place of Koshechkin. A power play chance soon came and went, and the home bench decided to up the ante. Next time Magnitka got a man advantage, with 13 minutes to play, Vorobyov went for broke and brought Nalimov back to the bench in favor of a sixth skater.

And it worked. Not once, but twice! The first attempt needed just 19 seconds before Brendan Leipsic exchanged passes with Yakovlev and fired home from the right-hand circle. The second throw of the dice took longer to deliver: Traktor was already back to its full complement by the time Nikolai Goldobin fired home at the back door to make it a one-goal game with seven minutes to play.

Traktor managed to calm the game somewhat and, crucially, stayed out of the box for the remainder of the play. Inevitably, Metallurg called Nalimov back to the bench once again in the closing minutes – but this time the gamble did not pay off. The goalie barely got his backside on the bench before Traktor forced a turnover and Tomas Hyka fired into the empty net. There were still 80 seconds on the clock, but that wasn’t enough time for Magnitka to save this game and the series moves to Chelyabinsk with the teams deadlocked at 1-1.

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Related clubs

Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
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