Avangard first to reach KHL Eastern Conference finals

Avangard became the first team to make it into the KHL’s Gagarin Cup Conference finals, edging Metallurg Magnitogorsk on home ice and claiming the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Regulation time wasn’t enough to decide the winner in the encounter. The Omsk side were close to clinching victory, taking a 2-1 lead eight minutes from time, but veteran forward Sergey Fedorov saved Metallurg by scoring seconds before the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

However, Fedorov’s efforts turned out to be in vain as Avangard needed less than four minutes to net the winner and send the home crowd wild. Avangard are through to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in Gagarin Cup history.

In the meantime, it’s been a do-or-die affair for double Gagarin Cup Champions AK Bars, who trailed in their best-of-seven series 3-1 against Traktor going into Thursday’s game in Chelyabinsk. And again, 60 minutes of play wasn’t enough to find the winner.

The regular season champions managed to level things on the ice early in the third period only to lose the game three extra periods later. AK Bars star veteran Danis Zaripov stopped the clock at 109 minutes and 11 seconds, meaning this was the second-longest game in KHL history.

As for the West, last season’s runners-up Atlant trail 3-2 following a 3-1 away victory in Game Five in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. In the other line-up, Dynamo have taken a 3-2 lead against HC Torpedo, as the Muscovites were 4-2 winners in Nizhny Novgorod.

Both series will continue on Friday in the Moscow region and Moscow respectively.

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