Belevich's brace and Kamalov's goal from a negative angle
On the eve of the second match with SKA Torpedo was in a difficult situation. In the event of another defeat, Nizhny Novgorod could allow St. Petersburg to lead in the series 2:0 and create an excellent reserve before the away games. Therefore, they needed to win on the road and equalize the score.
At the same time, the result of the first game can be largely called unfair. Igor Larionov's charges had the advantage, created much more chances, but lost in overtime - 1: 2. For example, their expected goals (xG) was 2.3 versus their opponent's 1.3. This time, additional support for the automakers was to be provided by fans who left for the match on six buses.
If in the previous game the spectators waited for the first goal until the last period, then the hockey players did not pull in the reporting period. The hosts started the match actively and instantly earned the majority. But the fairy tale "There would be no happiness, but misfortune would help" worked - the Nizhny Novgorod team managed to open an account in the minority. Andrei Belevich ran away on a counterattack on the right flank and tried to make a transfer to his partner to the left. The puck landed on the skate of Alexander Nikishin and flew back to the Belarusian, who calmly sent it to the nearest. For SKA, such goals have already become a trend, because it missed for the fourth time in the current playoffs in the majority.
Rotenberg's charges reacted to the incident as befits one of the contenders for the trophy. Just a few minutes later, Vasily Glotov restored the balance and scored his fifth goal in the Gagarin Cup. It is hard to believe that the striker started the season in the modest Sochi, and for the entire regular season he scored seven times.
Further, st. Petersburg repeatedly carried out quick lunges and caught the opponent on excessive enthusiasm for the attack. In some episodes, luck smiled on them. For example, Belevich lost his balance in his own zone, and Nikita Gusev ran away to a rendezvous with Ivan Kulbakov, but failed to beat him. Involuntarily I remembered the goal of Nikolai Prokhorkin and the fall of Nikolai Burenov in the first game. And in the 15th minute, another counter-attack by the hosts still brought them success. Valentin Zykov raced down the right flank and delivered an excellent cross pass to Mikhail Vorobyov. He, being right in front of the goalie, worked the puck under a comfortable hand and sent it into the net. Again, Belevich did not play well, leaving his opponent alone on the spot.
In the second period, the teams continued to delight the audience with bright effective hockey. In the Northern capital, finally, there was an open game with a large number of goals. In many ways, this was facilitated by the ugly actions of the visitors in defense. They continued to make gross mistakes and allowed opponents to organize dangerous counterattacks. And even Kulbakov was unable to help his partners.
For example, in the situation with the goal of Emil Galimov, Daniil Bokun allowed himself to be robbed by his opponent from someone else's board. Then Nikita Kamalov was left on the spot all alone. His first click was handled by the goalkeeper, but then the unguarded defender scored with a shot from a negative angle. St. Petersburg residents were lucky. The puck hit Kulbakov's skate and flew into the net. And then the aforementioned Kamalov left two defenders in fools at once and gave a pass to the free Nikita Gusev, who did not miss his chance.
At the same time, in a foreign zone, the automakers always found the strength to revive the intrigue and create a moment. In the 27th minute, Artem Mikheev equalized, putting his stick under the sketch of a teammate. But then Larionov's charges conceded twice. Then Belevich was the most agile on the finish, scored a double and reduced the gap to a minimum. Finally, just before the break, Nikolay Kovalenko ran away from the defender and converted the majority – 4:5.
But the final period was the complete opposite of the previous one. After receiving appropriate recommendations from the coaching staff, the hosts went on defense. They settled into their own zone and didn't even try to go forward, throwing the puck away at the first opportunity. At first, this did not help to restrain the guests. As soon as they got back on the ice, they created a few one hundred percent chances. For example, Alexei Kruchinin, having received a pass right in front of the goal, miraculously did not hit the far one. And then Nikolaev repelled the dangerous clicks of Kirill Voronin and Vasily Atanasov.
But gradually the forces left the hockey players of Torpedo. SKA also benefited from an almost six-minute stretch without pauses. To top it all off for the automakers, Maxim Letunov grabbed an unnecessary sending-off. As a result, Larionov's team did not even manage to organize the final assault. Two minutes before the siren, Kulbakov was changed to a sixth fielder, but this did not help either. On the contrary, Rotenberg's charges almost hit an empty target. And Nikolaev was close to this. From his own goal, he threw the puck to someone else's, but it hit the rounding of the post.
St. Petersburg, taking advantage of a large number of mistakes of the opponent in defense, won an absolutely deserved victory and led with a score of 2:0 in the series. Nizhny Novgorod will have to play this handicap on home ice.
Berlyov's luck and Shipachev's fateful throw
Admiral was also preparing to fight Ak Bars in the second match. Like Torpedo, leonid Tambiev's team was defeated in the first place with a minimal difference in the score - 2: 3. And the coach called controversial decisions of the judges one of the main reasons for the failure. Kazan scored all the goals in the majority, and in the opening period they scored twice in the "five on three" format. A little help to the team from the Primorsky Territory was to return Anton Berlyov to the ranks. It was he who scored the decisive goal in the sixth meeting with Salavat Yulaev, but then was out of action due to injury. In total, the forward scored four points (2 + 2) in the first round of the playoffs.
It was he who managed to open the scoring in the 15th minute. Although rather for this the hockey player should thank a successful ricochet. After a pass from behind the goal, Berlev, who pushed the opponent with his body, accidentally threw at the goal. But on the way to them, the puck hit the defender and literally flew over Timur Bilyalov. Vasily Tokranov was not so lucky. He tried to take the projectile off the line, but caught his stick on the post.
What happened was a great injustice, since Ak Bars owned the initiative. In attack, the experienced Alexander Radulov and Vadim Shipachyov showed themselves magnificently, both looking for partners with passes and trying to score themselves. But Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's charges lacked a fart. So, after the click of Stanislav Galiev, the guests were saved by a barbell. And then Ilya Safonov miraculously did not get into an empty corner. Nikita Serebryakov stopped another 16 shots.
Still, this could not go on for long. After the break, the advantage of the favorite became even more serious, and in the 28th minute he restored the balance. Moreover, Tambiev's team had recently survived in the minority and conceded already in equal lineups. Safonov took advantage of Dmitry Voronkov's excellent cross from the front board and sent the puck on target past Serebryakov.
And the decisive goal was recorded by Shipachyov, who had previously been content with only assists in the playoffs. From the starboard side, he tried to make a transfer to his partner, but the puck bounced back to him. The striker, without hesitation, immediately sent her to the open near corner. Serebryakov moved almost to the center and did not have time to return.
The Admiral had plenty of time left until the end. In addition, Tokranov earned a small disciplinary fine. The visitors took off the goalkeeper and stormed someone else's goal. Only by a miracle Bilyalov did not miss again. In the end, he stopped 22 shots. And Ak Bars won the second victory in a row and, like SKA, secured a comfortable advantage before a trip to the Far East.