Vorobiev nails his former team

Lada's Maxim Mikhailovsky stopps Yuri Butsayev (photo (c) Sport-Express Daily) MAR.6 (TOGLIATTI, RHI) -- Prior to facing RSL's top club Lada warmed up quite productively against Superleague's elite, defeating Severstal and Avangard and drawing against Ak Bars. At the moment Pyotr Vorobiev's squad is in superb shape and win against Yaroslavl didn't appear as surprise to anyone.

Lokomotiv needed at least a point to secure its top place finish in the regular season ahead of time. But ambitious Vorobiev nailed his former team for the second time this season.

"I would be lying, if I'd say that this game was like all the others for me," - said Lada's head coach, who was quite unpopular among Lokomotiv's players when he coached there. "There's always some sort of sports related anger in the air, whenever I have a chance to face (Yaroslavl)."

Early in the game it looked nothing like Lada had any chances to win. Slava Butsayev almost beat Mikhailovsky during game's opening shift. Than Pavel Vorobiev failed short of capitalizing on a spectacular rush. At 4:26 Vladislav Bulyin was sent to the box for tripping Jan Peterek, who almost got away on a break. It took Loko just eight seconds to cash on a power-play. Maxim Mikhailovsky blocked Alexander Guskov's point shot, but couldn't stop Ivan Tkachenko from banging in the rebound.

Alexander Semin (photo (c) - www.hclada.ru)Suddenly Lada woke up and generated a couple of dangerous rushes on Egor Podomatsky's net. Eventually at 8:14 Alexander Semin pulled the teams back at even terms. Washington Capitals' 2002 first rounder skated into visitors' zone and blasted a powerful slapper, right to the topshelve, from the top of the right circle. Podomatsky barely saw the puck going in.

For the rest of the opening period neither team had a clear advantage. In the second Lada had a few good chances early on. But as the game went on the tempo decreased, as opponents paid more attention to defensive zone coverage.

With less than a minute to play in the period Semin scored another beauty. This time he took a shot from the left face-off circle and beat Podomatsky up high once again.

Lokomotiv attacked more in the third, while Togliatti sat back and tried to protect its lead  - what was the right thing to do against such explosive opponent. Especially considering the fact that at 3:58 Maxim Kondratiev rushed into Lokomotiv's zone down the right and with a perfect cross-ice feed set Mikhail Sevostianov for Lada's third goal.

RHI THREE PROSPECT STARS

1. Alexander Semin
Scored twice, including game winner. Could have finished the night with a hat-trick but couldn't beat Pyotr Malkov on a partial break-away late in the third period.

2. Maxim Kondratiev
Delivered solid performance in his own end and pleased observers with well timed incursions into offensive zone.

3. Anton But
Was kept of the scoreboard, but created a few great chances. Several times was successful in one-on-one duels.
 

SUPERLEAGUE ROUNDUP

Neftekhimik 1, SKA 2
SKA made an important step towards ensuring its place in the Superleague for the next season. With three games to go, SKA leads Moscow Spartak by 5 points... The home side was shocked by visitors' aggressive forechecking early in the game. Neftekhimik's netminder Sergei Zvyagin was extremely busy early on, however his team was the one to score first. Maxim Kraev got his seventh tally in just his 18th game with Tatarstani side. SKA equalized late in the first period through captain Alexei Koznev. In the second engagement, Boris Mikhailov's squad failed on several glorious scoring opportunities. Notably, Egor Bashkatov and David Cooper were stunned by Zvyagin on break-away attempts.  However Bashaktov was able to snatch game winning goal halfway through the third period... Neftekhimik's chances to qualify for the play-offs suffered a severe blow with this defeat.

Dinamo 3, Krylia Sovetov 2
33 seconds into opening period Dinamo was already ahead by two goals, as Alexander Ovechkin and Dmitry Starostenko scored 22 seconds apart. However the Wings, despite having any strategical motivation for the game, fought hard and were able to restore status quo by second period's third minute. Young Dmitry Naumov scored his first Superleague goal, while Minnesota Wild's prospect Askhat Rakhmatullin added another... Alexei Stepanov's goal with less than a minute left to play in the second remained as a game winner.

Metallurg Nk 0, Sibir 2
Following the game Metallurg head coach Nikolai Soloviev announced his resignation at the end of the season. "When I signed a contract with the team last spring I promised that we'll make the play-offs. I couldn't keep my promise and will resign at the end of the season," - said Soloviev... Needless to point out, but in case some of you didn't get it - Metallurg is out of the play-off race... 18-year old Anton Kurianov scored his first pro goal at 5:01 of the opening period. It was enough for the visitors, as netminder Christian Bronsard registered his fourth shut-out of the season.

Ak Bars 5, Molot-Prikamie 2
Ak Bars put an end to its four game winless streak on home ice... Jiri Hudler scored his first RSL goal. At 11:59 of the opening period young Czech one-timed a short Jan Benda's pass from the slot area past Martin Klempa. The goal came while Ak Bars enjoyed power play and stood as game winning.

Metallurg Mg 2, Spartak 1
With this win Magnitogorsk officially qualified for the post-season... Spartak's Andrei Medvedev played another outstanding game registering 40 saves. Unfortunately he had almost no support from his team-mates... Scoring for Metallurg were Vancouver Canucks' prospect Evgeny Gladskikh and Ottawa Senateurs' Alexei Kaigorodov. Gladskikh scored from in close on his own rebound, while Kaigorodov got his goal after a spectacular rush.

Amur 3, CSKA 5
CSKA clearly outplayed the home side in the opening period. Viktor Tikhonov's youngsters were both faster and more creative than their opponents. However Amur headed for the intermission with a 1-0 lead. At 17:16 Vadim Pokotilo failed to beat Dusan Salficky on a penalty shot, given for a fault against Maxim Spiridonov. However Pokotilo was able to redeem himself with a goal two minutes later. Sergei Krivokrasov flew into CSKA's zone and made a cross-ice feed for Andrei Yasakov who spotted Pokotilo on the edge of the crease and pint-sized forward had no trouble redirecting the puck into an open corner. The visitors tied it early in the third while being a man short. Alexei Kolkunov kept the puck on a two-on-one rush and beat Alex Westlund with a quick wrister from the bottom of right face-off circle. During the closing five minutes of the second period CSKA outscored Amur 3-1. First Sergei Mozyakin capitalized on another two-on-one rush, scoring his 12th goal of the season after a nifty give-and-go with Dmitry Subbotin. Than Sergei Zolotov sent Alex Drozdetsky on a break-away for his 14th tally of the year. A minute later Spiridonov made it 2-3, as he scored for the league-leading 19th time this season on a great spinorama move. But just 28 seconds after Nikolai Zherdev restored his team's two goal lead, as he redirected Miroslav Guren's shot from the point. Another redirection, this time by Amur, of Yasakov's shot by Vadim Averkin at 14:50 of the third period brought the home side back within a goal. However late in the game as Andrei Pyatanov prepared to take his goalie out for an extra skater Zherdev set up captain Nikolai Pronin for an intrigue ending break-away goal... This victory was seventh in a row for Tikhonov's club.

Avangard 2, Severstal 1 OT
All three goals in this game were scored on the power play... Avangard went ahead on Tomas Vlasak's 19th tally of the season late in the opening period. Pavel Patera made a cross-ice pass to Vlasak who beat Viktor Chistov with a perfect wrist shot from the bottom of left face-off circle. Severstal pulled back at even early in the second. Ruslan Nurtdinov likewise got his 19th goal banging in from the edge of the crease a perfect pass from Vadim Epanchintsev. Avangard outshot Severstal 10 to 1 in the third and 5 to 0 in the overtime before captain Maxim Sushinsky solved the outcome of the game with his 13th goal of the year.

Salavat Yulaev 3, Mechel 2
Sergei Nikolaev's team had no other choice than to win in order to remain on top in the battle with CSKA for the only remaining play-off spot... With the defeat Mechel is officially out of Sup[erleague for the next season.

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