KHL Play-Offs: Avangard is back in the conference finale after 7 years

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Bary’s Astana was the best way to celebrate a home win, but two Powerplay goals and a total of four goals in the second third brought Avangard to victory in the KHL East Conference final.

Avangard Omsk had the opportunity to move to a conference final for the first time since 2012 with a win at Barys Astana. Astana did everything against it. So today the Czech Hrachovina started in Barys Tor. The home side got quickly the game and Valk and Bochenski had the first chances. There was still a lot to see from Avangard on offense, the best chance after a break was Manukyan in the 6th minute. A minute later, the Omsk goalie failed a trip, he could barely prevent the gate of Bochenski with his stick. Now Astana also had its best phase. After a bully, a shot was deflected several times and jumped at the end of the pole back into the field. The deserved lead followed in the 11th minute. Valk brought with luck the puck in the attack third, Bochenski served the puck the free-standing Canadian compatriot Frattin, who scored the 1-0. Omsk was now offensive, but the scoring had further the host. Omsk was dangerous only by a long shot from Shirokov.

The second period could not start better for Astana. Bochenski caught a pass in his own zone and the puck came to Frattin. He drew on Bobrov alone and with a hook defeated the Omsk goalkeeper a second time in this game. This led Astana after only 27 seconds in the second section with 2-0. Avangard could give the right answer. After Galimov failed in the 24th minute still Hrachovina, the action continued and Pivtsakin scored to 1-2. Omsk relented and after Talbot tackled a peasant trick, Petrov scored just 31 seconds later for a 2-2 equalizer. Astana coach Skabelka immediately took a time-out, but the next big chance had again the guests. In the 29th minute, Bary’s goalkeeper Hrachovina had to let off a shot from Petrov and Talbot had the chance to even bring his team into the lead. Astana fought back more games in the remaining minutes and Mikhailis had a good shot attempt in the 24th minute. However, the clear superiority from the first 20 minutes was gone and this also showed that Svedberg conceded in the 35th Minute and a Barys player the first penalty in the game. Avangard took advantage of this power-paly for a 3-2 lead. Beck defeated the goalkeeper Barys only 40 seconds later with a shot over his catching hand. 23 seconds after the guests‘ power play goal, the next Astana player was sent to the penalty box with Shalapov. It took another minute for Shirokov to score 4-2 for the visitors with a shot in the upper corner. Then Karlsson came for Hrachowina in the Barys Goal.

This looked very bad after just over four minutes in the final period. Avangard switched and Chudinov slammed the puck out of their own zone towards Astana goal. The puck was probably deflected at the height of the blue line easily by an Astana player. However, this shot was more than tenable and led Avangard Omsk to a three goal lead. Astana continued to show morale and tried to come back, but the guests hardly allowed anything. In addition, Bobkov showed no weakness in the Omsk goal. He held on to a shot from Ibraibelkov in the 51st minute and gave Valk no chance to rebound. Omsk just did not let it go and in the 56th minute Omsk came back to overpowering. This time, Astana got away without conceding. This was the final game. Astana was able to do the final result by Mikhailis 10 seconds before the end, but at the second appearance of Avangard Omsk in an East Conference final this changed nothing. For Barys, however, after 2014 and 2017 for the third time in the Conference Semi-finals.

Barys Astana vs Avangard Omsk 3-5 (1-0, 1-4, 1-1) – Series 1:4

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