For the second time in three games, Metallurg turned things around with a couple of third-period goals. Yaroslav Khabarovsk and Nikolai Goldobin were on target to give Magnitka a 2-1 lead over Traktor in the Eastern Conference final.

Traktor Chelyabinsk 1 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 (0-0, 1-0, 0-2)

(Metallurg leads the series 2-1)

There’s a theme emerging in this series – and it suggests that leading at the second intermission might not be a huge advantage. Thursday saw Metallurg score twice in the third period to turn the game around and regain its lead in the series, repeating the stunt it pulled in game one. Even in game two, Traktor had to withstand a fightback as its 5-2 lead was cut to a minimum before an empty net tally sealed the win.

Today’s fightback came midway through the final stanza. Traktor was up 1-0 thanks to Nikita Tertyshny’s goal early in the second, but Metallurg was undaunted by the deficit and continued to play diligent attacking hockey. The visitor had the better of the stats at the second intermission and was able to turn that into a tangible advantage in the third period.

The tying goal came in the 49th minute when Pavel Akolzin’s rush broke down, only for Ilya Nikolayev to recycle the puck back to the point where Yaroslavl Khabarovsk thumped in a slap shot. There was a crowd of players in front of Roman Will’s net, with Arkhip Nekolenko prominent in screening the home goalie, but the goal was credited to the defenseman. The 33-year-old hasn’t scored in the playoffs since 2014, when he scored three times on Metallurg’s run to its first Gagarin Cup.

Magnitka’s second goal came from a more familiar source. Nikolai Goldobin’s game-winner today, his sixth of the playoffs, moves him to 14 (6+8) points and puts him in front in the scoring race. It also maintained his productive run in this series, with an assist in game one and a goal in game two. This one came from a classic counter attack: Grigory Dronov’s clearance was chased down by Brendan Leipsic, who dropped the puck off for Goldobin in the heart of the Traktor zone. The Metallurg forward had plenty to do, ghosting past Artyom Blazhiyevsky before shooting past Will to make it 2-1.

From that point on, the visitor played the situation perfectly. Ilya Vorobyov’s team switched to a pressing game that frustrated Traktor’s offense and limited the host’s hopes of a tying goal. Even after Will went to the bench, the final storm saw Traktor reduced to peppering Vasily Koshechkin with hopeful long-range efforts rather than finding a way to slice through the defense.

Earlier, though, Traktor had got itself in front thanks to a power play goal eventually credited to Tertyshny. The man himself was unsure if it was his goal when asked at the second intermission, but the officials concluded that he had got the final touch as Lawrence Pilut’s point shot found its way into the Metallurg net. That power play goal in the 23rd minute stretches the Swedish defenseman’s productive streak to five games – Pilut has 8 (1+7) points in that time after failing to score in his first eight post season outings.

At the time, the goal was a fair reflection of the game. There were few chances in the first period, but Traktor had the better of them – both in terms of quality and quantity. The closest we came to an opening goal was in the 17th minute when Vladimir Tkachyov’s redirect forced a good save from Koshechkin. After the opening goal, though, Metallurg began to take control of the play. Maxim Karpov was close to an immediate tying goal, and Josh Currie caused chaos on Will’s crease when he fired the puck to the slot and had Traktor’s penalty kill scrambling to stifle the danger.

That pressure eventually paid off in the third period, and Metallurg takes a 2-1 lead in this series.


Related clubs

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