It took some time, but Metallurg Magnitogork got on the board in this year’s Kontinental League Gagarin Cup final in emphatic style in Game 2 against Lev Prague.
Sergei Mozyakin took most of the plaudits with a goal and two assists on the night, but Lev’s resistance was finally broken, 83 minutes into the series, by the largely unheralded Bogdan Potekhin. The 21-year-old forward is reveling in the additional ice time he’s earned in these playoffs and got the opener early in the second period, finding Petri Vehanen’s net with a one-timer from the edge of the circle off a Mikhail Yunkov pass.
Seconds later Mozyakin came close to doubling that lead when he was sent clean through on Vehanen’s net, only to fire against the frame of the goal. That wasn’t the first time the prolific forward had threatened – he was denied by a terrific Vehanen save late in the first period – and it wasn’t to be the last.
Lev has an opportunity to snatch back momentum a bit later when Michal Repik went through on Vasily Koshechkin’s goal, but his first attempt was ended illegally by Evgeny Timkin and the subsequent penalty shot went wide as Repik tried to beat the goalie on the backhand but was forced too far across the face of goal.
That was pretty much the end of Lev’s hopes of taking the series to Prague with a 2-0 advantage: Metallurg got firmly on top of the game to open up a 3-0 lead by the second intermission. First a wonderful, instinctive pass from Mozyakin found Danis Zaripov with a gaping goal to aim at. It was the kind of play that underscores the understanding between Magnitka’s top line and put that trio on the scoreboard for the first time in this series.
One fight and one minute later, with Magnitogorsk on the power play after Ryan O’Byrne and Tim Brent traded blows, Jan Kovar tucked away a rebound with Mozyakin claiming his second assist of the evening. Lev had successfully killed penalties for five games running, but the Metallurg power play finally ended that streak.
Mozyakin wrapped up another personal triumph with a goal of his own in the first minute of the third, sneaking in to tap the puck over the line after Rinat Ibragimov’s shot squirmed through Vehanen’s pads.
Lev got a consolation goal in the 57th minute thanks to Justin Azevedo. He hit the post in the first period but collected a beautiful diagonal from Mikko Maenpaa before beating Koshechkin from close range to score his second goal of the series and deny the goalie a shutout.
The action shifts to Prague on Tuesday with nothing separating the teams: they go into Game 3 tied at 1-1 in the series having shared eight goals between them.