Prochazka fights back
NOV.26 -- If there was someone unhappy in Omsk about Avangard acquiring Jiri Slegr, it had to be Martin Prochazka. RSL clubs have no right to dress more than three foreign players per game and since Tomas Vlasak and Pavel Patera were two of Hawks' best players it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Prochazka had to be the odd man out on nights when Ivan Hlinka would decide to dress Slegr.
Former Thrasher and Maple Leaf had to sit for three straight games until Slegr was out with minor injury.
Hungry for action Prochazka played well against the Soviet Wings and Neftekhimik, but had just an assist to show for his efforts offensively while the rest of the team pocked in ten goals.
One's misfortune is other's gain however. Slegr's close to recovering but isn't there yet, while Vlasak got injured against Neftekhimik. Therefore 30 year old veteran was sure to play in key contest against Ak Bars.
After last night Ivan Hlinka may not be as sure about living Martin out of the line-up in near future, as Prochazka gained important stature by delivering arguably his best performance of the season, as Avangard defeated its dearest RSL rival.
Prochazka scored twice and added a helper on Dmitry Ryabykin's goal in a 4-2 win. Moreover, Martin's goals came after Yuri Moiseev's side erased Avangard's two goal lead in a five minute span midway through the second period.
In addition to injured Czechs, Avangard was without speedster Alexander Kharitonov, while Ak Bars had Evgeny Namestnikov, Sergei Korolev and Valery Zelepukin out with injuries.
The home team was the one to open scoring. At 12:10 Ryabykin slapped the puck past Andrei Tsarev from inside the right circle.
Despite being outshot and outscored Kazan players had the better scoring opportunities in game's first half.
Late in the opening period Dmitry Gogolev's stickhandling tricked giant Avangard defenders, as veteran puckwiz flew by Ryabykin and Panov and took a dangerous shot at Alexander Viyukhint.
Early in the second period Kirill Koltsov, who didn't have his best game finishing the night at -2, coughed the puck in his own end providing Alexei Tertyshny with a break-away opportunity, fortunately for the home side Viyukhin was up to the task once again.
Soonafter Avangard doubled its lead, as Alexander Prokopiev topshelved the puck from 30 feet out for his 100 career goal. However four minutes later Ak Bars got back within a goal. Bruins' draftee Sergei Zinoviev flew into Avangard's zone and slotted the puck into the top corner from inside the left circle.
Dmitry Kvartalnov equalized at 18:47 of the second period. Veteran accepted a cross-ice pass from Alexander Korolyuk and beat partially screened Viyukhin between the pads.
With only 29 seconds left to play in the period Prochazka scored what turned out to be game winning goal. Alexander Perezhogin displayed good patience prior to sliding the puck across the goal crease. Prochazka had a wide open corner to hit and did so.
Prochazka's second tally came on a two men power-play. Yuri Panov took a hard shot from the point, Patera seized the rebound and pocked the puck towards his wide open linemate for successfull conversion.
Avangard is 5-1-0 since the Karjala Cup break. Overall Ivan Hlinka's squad has 55 points and joins Yaroslavl and Cherepovets on top of the standings. Ak Bars trails the leading threesome by seven points.
In SAINT-PETERSBURG, SKA fought back from two goal deficit to beat Lokomotiv in overtime 3-2. SKA netminder Sergei Naumov made 32 saves in another outstanding performance. Lokomotiv failed to score on back-to-back two-men power plays midway through the third period, while the home side got Alexei Kozyrev's winner when Vyacheslav Butsayev and Alexei Vasiliev were in the box for Vladimir Vujtek's squad. Yaroslavl is winless in its last three games.
At the Luzhniki Arena in MOSCOW, Amur ended six games long loosing streak drawing against Dynamo 2-2. Sergei Krivokrasov scored twice for Khabarovsk. Dynamo played without injured Alexander Ovechkin and Alexei Tereschenko. Bruins' draftee Vladislav Evseev played his first RSL game for the blue-and-white.
-- Max Dostoevsky