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Slovan slay the Leopards

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HC SLOVAN Bratislava defeated two times Gagarin Cup Champions Ak Bars Kazan for the second time this season, with a 3:2 victory after a shootout, where Michal Vondrka scored one of the goals of the season.

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HC SLOVAN Bratislava - Ak Bars Kazan 3:2 after shootout (1:0, 0:1, 1:1 - 0:0, 1:0)

Goals: 19. L. Hudáček (Bartovič, Sersen), 53. Bližňák (Sekera, Miklík), winning penalty shot: Vondrka - 37. Immonen (J. Medvedev, Obuchov), 45. Morozov (Kornejev)

Penalties: 7:8 (2 min), additional: 52. Yemelin 2+10 for checking to the head, 63. Kornejev (both Kazan) 10 minute personal misconduct, powerplay goals: 2:1, shorthanded goals: 0:0, officials: Anisimov, Gusev - Streľcov, Tarasov (all Rus.), attendance: 10 055 (sell out).

Shootout: Darziňš goal - 0:1, Lipiansky goal - 1:1, Morozov saved - 1:1, Miklík saved - 1:1, Immonen saved - 1:1, Vondrka goal - 2:1

Rosters:

Slovan: Janus - Ľ. Višňovský, Sigalet, Sekera, Sersen, J. Tabaček, Švarný - Miklík, Bližňák, Vondrka - Bartovič, Lipiansky, J. Hudáček - Kukumberg, Kytnár, Dravecký - Kudrna, A. Šťastný, Ölvecký – from 34. Preisinger

Kazan: Barulin - I. Nikulin, Kornejev, Kuľaš, J. Medvedev, Panin, Jemelin, Zacharčuk - Morozov, N. Kapanen, Zaripov - Obuchov, Immonen, Pesonen - Petrov, Tereščenko, L. Darziňš - Golubov, Bodrov, Lukojanov

A close game was always going to be in store between these two teams, with the opening period characterised by mainly neutral zone play with both teams waiting for each other to make the first mistake. The home side mainly threatened with shots from distance, whilst the two netminders Janus and Barulin comfortably made all the stops they needed to. In the 19th minute, HC SLOVAN were given a powerplay chance, and they managed to convert in the final minute of the first period, as Libor Hudáček received a pass from Milan Bartovič, and the young national team forward fired a shot from a narrow angle which went over Barulin’s shoulder and into the net, giving the home side a 1:0 lead going into the first intermission.

The second period continued with both netminders trying to outdo the other, as Barulin made a fantastic save on a Višňovský shot, while at the other end, Janus did well to deny Zaripov and Nikulin. Janus had the crowd on their feet in the 32nd minute after making a breakaway save to deny Darziňš, who almost equalised. However, Janus could do little about the equaliser which eventually came in the 37th minute, as Immonen buried the puck to send the teams into the second break tied at 1:1.

The start of the third period was marked by the number of penalties the teams were beginning to take. A two minute bench minor penalty for too many men gave Ak Bars another chance to take the lead, which they duly did in the 45th minute, as captain Alexei Morozov fired from the right wing, beating Janus as the puck flew into the top corner of the goal. Ak Bars were in the ascendancy and chasing the puck all over the ice, but HC SLOVAN were never out of it, and when they were given a powerplay opportunity with seven minutes to go, Mario Bližňák tipped in an Andrej Sekera point shot, raising the crowd to their feet. However, the official made the signal for no goal due to a high stick. This begun a review process which lasted for almost ten minutes before eventually to the delight of the sold out crowd, the goal was given. HC SLOVAN had to hold on for dear life as the third period came to an end, as the pressure from the Eastern Conference leaders mounted. However, for the third game in a row, it would go to a shootout. The first scorers for both teams managed to find the net, before Janus was able to stop the efforts from Morozov and Immonen. The scene was then set for Michal Vondrka to amaze the crowd with a goal reminiscent of Peter Forsberg’s goal at the 1994 Winter Olympics, beating Barulin and giving HC SLOVAN two points, and their second victory over Ak Bars this season. 

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