Avangard Omsk’s 7-game winning streak came to an end on Friday with a 4-3 shootout loss to Ray Emery and league-leading Atlant Mytishchi. But another streak stayed alive, as Alexei Cherepanov scored in his sixth consecutive game, tying the club’s goal scoring streak record set by Dmitri Zatonski in the 1998-1999 season. Jaromir Jagr and Dmitri Pestunov each added two assists to remain tied for third overall in KHL scoring.
After an evenly-fought, scoreless first period, Atlant took the first lead of the game with a power play goal at 5:55 of the second period (watch). They held Avangard off the board the rest of the period, taking the 1-0 lead into the final frame, but the Hawks struck quickly in the third when Alexei Bondarev put home the rebound of a Jagr power play shot at the 43 second mark (watch).
Atlant re-took the lead less than a minute later when Esa Pirnes beat Avangard goalie John Grahame with a wrist shot from the top of the circles (watch). They built their lead to two just prior to the half way point of the period on a Denis Arkhipov power play goal (watch).
But Cherepanov started the Avangard comeback at 11:34 when he put the puck in the net off an Atlant defenseman, keeping his scoring streak alive with his fourth power play goal of the season (watch). Two minutes later Bondarev got his second the game, also on the power play, a near carbon-copy of the goal with which he started the period (watch).
The two teams remained deadlocked through the remainder of regulation time, and played five minutes of scoreless overtime before heading to the shootout, where Emery outplayed Grahame to earn his team the extra point, expanding their lead in the standings to 5 points, with a game in hand. But the single point earned by Avangard allowed them to retain sole possession of second place in the KHL, a point ahead of last year’s champions Salavat Ulaev and AK Bars Kazan.
Head coach Wayne Fleming was happy with his wards’ performance, commending both teams on a hard-fought game. “It was a fantastic game between two very good teams,” said Fleming in his post-game press conference. “Both teams wanted to win very badly, and they pushed very hard to the end… and I think both teams can be proud the way they played and competed for 65 minutes. But when you get to the shootout, you can just flip a coin.”
Fleming will have six days with which to further familiarize himself with his players before they head ot Moscow to face Ivan Baranka and Spartak Moscow next Thursday, a game that will be available online beginning at 11:30am EDT.
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