With might and main
Visitors organized several attacks right off the bat, but each time Fokin was able to fend off the assailants; unfortunately, he did so until minute number five when Janne Pesonen showed quick thinking and added the puck into the net underneath the already prone Fokin. Goal deficit brought Traktor to life, and the home team began to set the tone of the game. First Antipov’s solo efforts did not come to a desired finish; then Kontiola garnered a power play for his team, and Barulin had to muster all his skill to keep the opposing team at bay. First Panov could not beat Barulin, but then Kuznetsov took the floor; Yevgeny delivered a candy of a pass to the far post where the lonely Chistov hit the empty corner of the net. One all as both teams headed for an intermission.
Next 20 minutes of the match became one of the best Traktor’s periods in recent games. The home team dominated on the ice, even though the period turned out to be goalless. Two minutes into the period Kontiola fooled two of Ak Bars’ defensemen and had a one-on-one rendezvous with Barulin who to his credit saved his team from trouble on this exchange. Five minutes later Traktor’s first line fared well during their shift, making Ak Bars commit a penalty. Even though Traktor spent almost the whole power play in the attacking zone, it did not bring many dividends to the home team. After a minor gunslingers’ duel of Nesterov and Panin both teams decided to take a breather. Five minutes before the buzzer Ak Bars got their chance at power play, but Traktor played a picture-perfect two minutes as the visitors could not even get a hold of the puck for a minute or so. Trouble came out of nowhere when Traktor was already in full strength; Golubev ran away for a one-on-one, but Fokin neutralized the threat. Right before the break Traktor once again gained a power play chance, but the buzzer nipped their attacking plans in the bud.
Ak Bars began the period well and deservedly pulled ahead yet again; no one was able to move Zaripov from the crease, and Danis capitalized on the opportunity. Traktor got another power play momentarily and was able to tie it up when Quint hit a scintillating back-hander after Kuznetsov’s filigree pass. Traktor was unstoppable during these minutes like a machine that it is, and it was only fitting that the man that returned after suffering an injury gave Traktor the victory. Yakutsenya and Kontiola constructed a soccer-like combination, and the latter hit the far corner of the net as Traktor Arena came unglued. The home team successfully hung on to this lead and finally broke the chains of a cold streak.
Stats and details
Traktor vs.Ak Bars– 3:2 (1:1, 0:0, 2:1)
Goals: Pesonen (Obukhov), 5 (0:1);Chistov (Kuznetsov), 15 (1:1 – PP); Zaripov (Nikulin, Kapanen), 46 (1:2 – PP); Quint (Kuznetsov), 47 (2:2); Kontiola (Yakutsenya, Vasilchenko), 49 (3:2).
Quint – Ryabykin (A), Chistov – Bulis – Kuznetsov,
Belov – Vasilchenko, Panov (A) – Kontiola – Yakutsenya,
Razin – Katichev, Glinkin – Popov – Antipov (C),
Nesterov – Shinin, Nichushkin – Dugin – Karpov.
Ak Bars (Kazan)
Barulin (58:59 – 60:00);
Korneyev – Nikulin (A), Zaripov – Kapanen – Morozov (C),
Medvedev – Kulyash, Pesonen – Immonen – Obukhov,
Tokranov – Panin, Darzins – Tereshchenko (A) – Zherdev,
Lukoyanov – Gloubev – Petrov.
Penalty Minutes:10 (2+4+4) - 16 (4+4+8).
Shots: 44 (16+13+15) - 25 (9+7+9)
Faceoffs Won: 22 (7+3+12) - 27 (10+9+8).
Time on Ice: Kuznetsov (21:13), Ryabykin (21:03), Chistov (19:30) - Nikulin (22:24), Korneyev (21:50), Tereshchenko (20:42).
Power Play Goals:1-1.
Referees: Aleksey Belov (Yaroslavl), Roman Shchenev (Togliatti).
Linesmen: Eduard Metalnikov, Aleksandr Sirotkin (both – Samara).
January 17, 2013. Traktor Arena, Chelyabinsk, Russia. Attendance – 7200.