Goals and assists: 5. Hossa (Surový), 18. Chára (Němec, Vrána) - 26. Yefimov (Mereskin, Lazarev), 39. Robitaille (Metlyuk, Kagarlitsky), 62. Metlyuk. Scoring sequence: 2:0, 2:3. Shots on goal: 43:21 (12:6, 16:9, 13:3, 2:3). Referees: Deyev, Karabanov. Linesmen: Mikhayevich, Nesterov. Penalties: 7:1. PP goals: 1:2. Attendance: 5012.
Lev: Pöpperle - Oystrick, Němec, Chára, Krejčík, Sersen, Hunkes, Porseland, Cingel - Christensen, Vrána, Klepiš - Surový, Mikúš, Hossa - Bartečko, Novotný, Řepík - Sekáč, Svoboda, Birner.
Novokuznetsk: Sexsmith (18. Lazushin) - Metlyuk, Megalinsky, Romanov, Kuklev, Arzamastsev, Sopel, Grishin, Kapotov - Kagarlitsky, Robitaille, Islamov - Yefimov, Mereskin, Lazarev - Vyglazov, Chernykh, Zhafyarov - Simon, Turukin, Nazarov.
Sometimes a coach makes the right decision at the right time to swing the game in his team´s favour. For Metallurg Novokuznetsk´s Anatoli Yemelin on Monday night, his decision to make a goaltending change after his team fell behind by two goals in the first period turned out to be pure genius. After that, Alexander Lazushin bolted the door shut, giving his team the chance they needed to come back and take two of three points.
It would have been easy not to make the move, as HC LEV´s 2-0 lead could not be pinned on the shoulders of starting goalie Tyson Sexsmith. The Lions dodged an early bullet after being penalised twice in the game´s opening minute and then dominated. Just past the four-minute mark, Tomáš Surový´s pass from the boards was re-directed in by a streaking Marcel Hossa going hard to the net. Then with under three minutes to go in the frame, at the start of their one-and-only power play of the evening, Ondřej Němec sent a nice pass across the point to Zdeno Chára, whose one-time blast found the back of the net through traffic.
At that point, Yemelin decided the status quo just wasn´t going to do and lifted Sexsmith, who had stopped 10 of 12 shots.
Early in the second period, Lazushin made his first big statement of the game. Just after Tomáš Pöpperle stopped Alexei Yefimov on a breakaway, Michal Řepík came back the other way and was hooked, which drew a penalty shot call. With a chance to give his team a commanding 3-0 lead, Řepík went to his backhand but Lazushin read it perfectly and gave him nothing. Then a minute later, Erik Christensen and Jakub Klepiš each set each other up for brilliant chances on the same shift that were turned back. Alexei Yefimov, who was Novokuznetsk´s most dangerous forward in the first half of the game, cut the score to 2-1 when he snapped a shot from the slot that beat Pöpperle to the glove side.
Then late in the period they tied it. After successfully killing off the firsts four penalties they were assessed, the visitors finally cashed in on their fifth opportunity. They managed to sustain pressure in the Lev zone and eventually break down the box, with the puck eventually coming to a wide-open Randy Robitaille at the side of the net, who had a quick shot at the open near side.
Right after the tying goal, it looked for a moment like Lev had re-taken the lead. In a crowd of players around Lazushin´s crease, sticks went in the air and the goal horn blasted, but video replay decided a goal that would have been very big for Lev turned out not to have crossed the line.
The third period brought more Lev chances but no goals. The best might have been with under seven minutes to play, after a shot from a sharp angle bounced dangerously in front of the net, but Ľuboš Bartečko, in prime shooting position and Lazushin down and out, couldn´t put find the net. Then with under two minutes to play, Christensen teed up a shot from the top of the slot and Klepiš was on the doorstep for the rebound, but Lazushin stopped both of them (again). At the end of the third period, the shots were 41-18 in Lev´s favour, but the score was 2-2.
He might have saved his best stop for overtime. On Lev´s first rush, Petr Vrána looked like he had the game on his stick, but Lazushin somehow came across to knock away his backhander that was headed upstairs. Then the play went to the other end of the ice, where the Lions got their worst break of all. Klepiš´s stick caught a Metallurg player in the face and cut him, drawing a double-minor penalty.
With a four-on-three advantage, their seventh power play of the game, Robitaille had a couple of dangerous shots from the point that Pöpperle kept out, but the puck took a weird bounce at the side of the net and hit forward Filipp Metlyuk standing in front. His unassisted power-play goal in overtime gave two points to Novokuznetsk, while Lev added to its growing total of painful defeats.
Comments of coachesAnatoli Yemelin (Metallurg Novokuznetsk): I would like to commended Lev for the way played throughout the game. And of course, I thank my team for their victory.
Jiří Kalous (HC Lev Praha): I thank the team. I think we played well, we battled, we created a lot of chances, but unfortunately we didn´t convert. It just so happened that we made enough mistakes to offer our opponents a chance. Goalkeeper Pöpperle did all he could in overtime but they finally scored a goal, which was unlucky for us.