Atlant Moscow Region are just one step away from reaching the final of the KHL playoffs, following a 3-1 home victory over Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on Sunday.
The hosts, who entered the game having grabbed two wins on away ice, scored twice in the opening period, with Jan Bulis and Vadim Khomitsky both converting a powerplay.
Lokomotiv came back strongly in the second period, putting Atlant under serious pressure. But despite the run of play, a stroke of terrible misfortune saw Yaroslavl concede again.
The referee called a delayed penalty against an Atlant player, but Loko maintained control of the puck, so keeper Andrey Vyukhin left his goals in order to allow his team to put an extra skater into the game.
Lokomotiv’s Gennady Churilov tried to make a pass to the blue line, but the puck failed to find any of his teammates and ended up in his team’s empty net instead, 3-0.
Ilya Gorokhov was the last of Atlant’s players to touch the puck, so he was credited as the scorer.
All the visitors could do after such a blow was net a consolation goal, delivered by Pavol Demitra in the final period, 3-1.
Atlant’s netminder Konstantin Barulin had an impressive night, coping with 39 shots.
The Moscow Region side enjoy a commanding 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series, so a win in Game 4 on Tuesday will be enough to guarantee them a spot in the finals.
Salavat Yualev lead Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2-0 in the other semifinals.