On March 4, Ak Bars won the second game at the East quarter-final with a score of 5:1 – the match against Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) took place in Kazan.
The visitors started the match dynamically and managed to hit a fast goal − Pavel Kulikov tapped in from the goal crease into already empty net. It was a wake-up call for Ak Bars, Kazan moved the game to the offensive zone and began forechecking: Andrei Pedan joined the attack well, Dmitry Voronkov beat the defensemen, Roman Rukavishnikov shot from the blue line. The pressure ended up with a goal of Kazan − Artyom Lukoyanov netted his first goal of the season. A little later, Voronkov extended the lead: the forward played great on the slot and in the fight with the defensemen hit an empty net. A minute later, Matthew Frattin scored the third goal in two games – the Canadian player got out on the goalmouth and fired a wrister. Neftekhimik did not seem to expect this: the guests had fightbacks, but they did not reach the goal. However, there were a lot of fight– at the end of the period Rukavishnikov pushed Kulikov on the Kazan bench, getting applause of the spectators.
Neftekhimik was charged in the beginning of the second and wanted to win back: the visitors had a couple of chances at the start-though they were inaccurate, and Timur Bilyalov saved the team. Ak Bars responded with an organized attack, and drew a penalty: but failed to capitalize on the penalty of Damir Sharipzyanov. Kazan finally scored at equal strength − Stanislav Galiyev got Frattin’s outstanding pass and whipped a one-timer. The first line of Ak Bars managed to score as well − Justin Azevedo got the puck in the center ice, outplayed two defenders and took a shot: the puck bounced from Alexander Sharychenkov’s mask and went into the net. The coaching staff of Neftekhimik decided to change the goalie – Konstantin Barulin came out on the ice. The visitors managed to score, but the goal was waved off − Bilyalov has been attacked at that moment. In the end, Lukoyanov could have scored his second goal – Rukavishnikov set up him into the empty corner, though the forward failed to take a shot.
In the third period, Nizhnekamsk started on the power play, but failed to capitalize. In the period midway, the opponents both played shorthanded and did it well on 4 on 4: Albert Yarullin rushed and Alexander Bryntsev of Neftekhimik attacked in a fightback. Emil Galimov came up with a good chance - he robbed the puck on the center ice, rushed into offensive zone, but the puck went wide. Maxim Groshev, young forward of Nizhnekamsk, suddenly jumped on 1 on 0 and tried to send the goalie the wrong way: Bilyalov did not flinch and played strong. The last chance to score for the visitors was the penalty of Mikhail Fisenko two minutes before the end – vainly, Ak Bars win with the score of 5:1 and stretched its lead in the series (2:0).
The teams will next play in Nizhnekamsk on March 6 at 19:00 Moscow time.
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Artyom Galimov was named the best newcomer of the season in the KHL18 May 2020 18 0
Timur Bilyalov − the best goaltender of the season in the KHL18 May 2020 13 0
Mikhail Fisenko has extended his contract with Ak Bars12 May 2020 13 0
Danis Zaripov has extended his contract with Ak Bars12 May 2020 16 0
Andrey Pedan signed a new contract with Ak Bars12 May 2020 15 0
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