Traktor with a hard-fought victory over a troublesome opponent

First period
Yugra’s Dmitry Altaryov had a decent scoring chance dozens of seconds into the match, but Mezin was on point to prevent the goal. A little bit later Anton Glinkin checked Biryukov’s readiness for the game which was quite impeccable; moments after 17-year old Traktor’s prodigy Valery Nichushkin delivered an annihilating hit to Tomas Starosta, sending him over the boards. Traktor attacked a lot, but did not have any definitive goal-scoring opportunities. Middle-period Traktor’s fourth line rose and shone when Karpov distracted three of his opponents and passed to the puck to the crease, but Nichushkin skated away from the place where the puck came a second ago and did not quite hit it. Visitors responded with Krysanov’s wrap around, but Mezin and his pad did not budge. Two minutes before the buzzer Karpov charged a heavy shot; Biryukov had to show all his experience to turn this threat away. Goalless in the first, the match was destined to pick up the pace, and that was exactly what happened.

Second period

Traktor began the period with a two-man disadvantage, but successfully killed both penalties, rolled up the sleeves and since then never released the reins of the game from their hands, overcoming their opponents 17:2 in terms of shots on goal in the second period. Nichushkin should have scored five minutes into the period, and the fans in attendance thought just that; however, the referees signaled decisively that the puck did not hit the net, not even resorting to the replay. Traktor got the power play momentarily and stormed Biryukov’s net; Yugra’s goaltender rendered all Traktor’s efforts null, at least for the time being. Kuznetsov made Yugra’s defensemen look like pins during this power play, but did not manage to pull off a strike. Dugin, however, did just that, scoring his first ‘home’ goal for Traktor. Some six minutes later Nichushkin created a stellar opportunity for Maksim Karpov, but the latter could not capitalize. As the period was coming to a close and coaches were thinking about what they were going to say to their respective teams in the locker rooms, Yakutsenya doubled Traktor’s lead with his signature laser-like wrist shot – 2:0.

Third period
Traktor continued their dominance in the third period, but the puck just refused to go into the net; Kontiola, Dugin – all fell short of the target. The game then quieted for a little while until Yugra executed a couple of sharp attacks, and Traktor got lucky twice when Skorokhodov did not hit the puck standing beside the empty corner of Mezin’s net. Yugra’s goal was not overdue; on the contrary, it came out of the blue – Belyayev finished solo effort with a goal, but not without controversy as he seemingly hit Mezin and could get the penalty instead of a goal, but the referees decided otherwise. 2:1, and the nervous ending to the match was there again for Traktor. However, tonight’s match MVP Valery Nichushkin could have rid us of the jitters, but for the second time in the match it was the post that thwarted Valery’s efforts. Then it was the nailbite time; Yugra pulled the goalie in an effort to save the match and looked like they could do it, but much to the relief of Chelyabinsk crowd Traktor withstood the pressure and put an end to a budding cold streak.

Stats and details

Traktor (Chelyabinsk) vs. Yugra (Khanty-Mansiysk) – 2:1 (0:0, 2:0, 0:1)

Dugin, 29 (1:0); Yakutsenya (Kuznetsov), 40 (2:0);Belyayev (Ibragimov), 53 (2:1).

Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
Quint – Shinin, Yakutsenya – Bulis – Kuznetsov,
Belov – Vasilchenko, Chistov (A) – Kontiola – Kostitsyn,
Katichev – Ryabykin (C), Panov (A) – Popov – Glinkin,
Nesterov – Razin, Nichushkin – Dugin – Karpov.

Yugra (Khanty-Mansiysk)
Briyukov (0:00 – 59:17);
Grebeshkov – Starosta (A), But – Altaryov – Videll,
Pepelyaev (A) – Troncinsky, Sitnikov – Magogin (C) – Skorokhodov,
Dyakov – Ibragimov, Belyayev – Krysanov – Kuzmin,
Lekomtsev, Bocharov – Yatsenko – Bulyansky.

Penalty Minutes: 12 (6+2+4) - 6 (2+2+2).
Shots: 32 (7+17+8) - 18 (8+2+8).
Faceoffs Won: 31 (15+10+6) - 28 (5+14+9).
Time on Ice: Bulis (19:49), Yakutsenya (18:37), Shinin (17:52) - Altaryov (20:31), Ibragimov (20:21), Grebeshkov (20:03).
Power Play Goals: 0-0.

Referees: Viktor Gashilov (Perm), Ildar Safiullov (Nizhnekamsk).
Linesmen: Dmitry Golovlev (Naberezhnye Chelny), Gleb Lazarev (Perm).
November 23, 2012. Traktor Arena, Chelyabinsk, Russia. Attendance – 7000.