MAGNITOGORSK, Russia – Salavat Yulayev Ufa won the first game of the home-and-away semi-final in Magnitogorsk against Russian rival Metallurg, 2-1.
The full-house of 7,750 had to wait for 35 minutes to see the first goal between the rivals from the Ural region, but both teams nevertheless entertained the fans with high-calibre hockey on both ends of the rink.
Czech defenseman Miroslav Blatak and forward Alexander Perezhogin scored second-period goals for the reigning Russian champion, Salavat, while Alexei Kaigorodov replied for Metallurg, but with only 19 seconds left.
Metallurg missed its biggest chances when on a power play after the game was interrupted by a fight, resulting to four minutes of penalties each for Metallurg’s Jan Marek and Salavat’s Steven McCarthy, and minor penalties against other players.
But, Metallurg couldn’t capatalize on the big scoring chances in front of Salavat netminder Alexander Eremenko.
Salavat had fewer opportunities, but Miroslav Blatak scored on a 6-on-5 situation on a delayed penalty. After receiving a backhand pass from Andrei Sidyakin, the Czech opened the scoring at 35:34. And just two minutes later, Alexander Perezhogin extended the lead to 2-0.
Metallurg tried to come back, and had a 13-7 shots on goal advantage, but only scored the 2-1 goal from Kaigorodov, with goalie Ilya Proskuryakov pulled for a sixth skater. Metallurg led the shots 37-25.
For reigning European club champion Metallurg to advance to the final, they must defeat Salavat in Ufa on January 7 to even the series and force a shoot-out.
Salavat only needs a tie in the game to move onto the final.Click here for the full game recap.