We have a winner in the East Group of the 9th Gazprom Neft Cup. In the final, Avangard outplayed their long-time chief rival Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) and made it through to the tournament Super Final!
But first Ak Bars and Neftekhimik fought for bronze position in the East Group. The Kazan hockey players quickly opened the score, but the Nizhnekamsk team, as has happened more than once in this tournament, evened the result, and at the very end pulled ahead. The incredible efforts of the “leopards” took the game to a series of penalty shots, although Neftekhimik proved themselves more talented. 3:2 — and Kazan is left with no prize, and Nizhnekamsk is celebrating success!
And finally, the final! After a beautiful opening ceremony, more than 4,000 fans got to see a real battle of character. In this game everything was just like with adult masters battling in the play-offs — a minimum of errors and a maximum of commitment. The goalies and the defenders played excellently, which left the strikers without success for a long time. Finally, in the beginning of the second period the “hawk” forward Vladimir Bashkatov put a puck right over the Magnitogorsk goalie’s head and Avangard pulled ahead 1:0!
It was Metallurg’s turn to attack next, since the young “steelmakers” had nothing to lose. The Omsk goalie pulled several dazzling saves and allowed his teammates an extra measure of confidence. In the end the “hawks” scored another three goals. 4:0! Avangard is the first through to the Super Final!
The deciding game in the Gazprom Neft Cup will be held at the Omsk Arena on April 29, at 19:30 Omsk time (16:30 Moscow time). The game will be broadcast live on KHL TV, as well as the official tournament website. Tomorrow the winner of the West Group final will arrive in Omsk, but who that will be is yet to be decided, in St Petersburg, in a face-off between Dynamo (Moscow) and Vityaz.