The Gagarin Cup final continues! CSKA came to Magnitogorsk knowing that it was win or bust in game five – and Klas Dahlbeck’s overtime goal kept the Muscovites in the competition. Now Sergei Fedorov’s team can tie up the series on Thursday when the teams return to Russia’s capital.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 CSKA Moscow 3 OT (0-0, 0-1, 2-1, 0-1)

(Metallurg leads the series 3-2)

Metallurg was just six minutes away from securing its third Gagarin Cup. The Steelmen led 2-1 in the third period after cancelling out Konstantin Okulov’s opening goal for the visitor. But CSKA hit back through Maxim Sorkin to force overtime, and then got the season-extending winner in the 74th minute when defensemen Nikita Nesterov and Klas Dahlbeck went charging forward to open the way to Vasily Koshechkin’s net and seal a 3-2 verdict.

Earlier in the game Koshechkin set a KHL record as he extended his shut-out streak to 156 minutes, 34 seconds. That included back-to-back shut-outs in Moscow as Metallurg took control of the series, and eclipsed the 137:55 that Ilya Sorokin had as he backstopped CSKA to the 2019 title.

However, his epic resistance ended late in the second period when Okulov opened the scoring. The home team seemed to be getting on top as Josh Currie almost forced home the rebound from a Yegor Yakovlev shot and Grigory Dronov set up Anatoly Nikontsev for a dangerous effort that tested Ivan Fedotov in the CSKA net. Then came a quick counter attack, Nesterov releasing Okulov into the Metallurg zone and a devastating wrist shot put the visitor ahead.

Late in the second stanza, a penalty on Pavel Karnaukhov gave Metallurg a chance to respond and the home team took advantage at the start of the third. Maxim Karpov, a beaten finalist with Traktor in 2013, got Magnitka level when he drilled a shot to the slot and got a helpful bounce from Andrei Svetlakov’s attempted block.

Now the home crowd believed the title was there to be won, and their players responded accordingly. Currie went close to creating the go-ahead goal, but Andrei Chibisov could not convert his feed. A few minutes later, though, the Yegor Korobkin – an infrequent scorer – became the unlikely hero when he stripped John Gilmour of the puck and advanced to shoot past Fedotov.

With 12 minutes to go, Magnitka had one hand on the trophy. CSKA, though, was determined to grab it back. A penalty on Nikontsev in the 50th minute changed the momentum of the game, putting the visitor deep into Metallurg territory, and that pressure finally delivered when – with the teams already back to equal strength – Danil Yurtaikin won his battle on the back boards and got the puck to the unaccompanied Maxim Sorkin on the slot. The youngster added to his collection of clutch goals in this year’s playoffs with a finish to the far corner and sent the game to overtime.

For much of the extras the teams traded chances. Brendan Leipsic might have finished the season on a couple of occasions, Currie also had an opportunity that got away from him. At the other end, Koshechkin was tested by some well-worked team play from CSKA before the winning goal arrived in the 14th minute of the extras. Dahlbeck delivered a shot at redemption for CSKA, and we get to do it all again in Moscow on Thursday.

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Related clubs

Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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