Ak Bars beats Lokomotiv in OT thriller; forces KHL Gagarin Cup Game 7

Ak Bars Kazan won a back and forth battle over Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3-2 in overtime Friday to force Game 7 of the inaugural KHL Gagarin Cup final.

Alexei Morozov put Ak Bars on the board with 19 seconds remaining in the opening period to give the visiting team an early lead.  After a scoreless second period, Lokomotiv tallied two quick strikes (Zbynek Irgl, 45th minute; Alexei Mikhnov 46th minute) to take the lead and, seemingly, the momentum in the match.  Ak Bars quickly regrouped, however, as Danis Zaripov evened the score 2-2 in the 49th minute.

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The score remained tied for the rest of regulation, forcing the second overtime match of the series.  During the extra period, Ak Bars sniper Jukka Hentunen beat Lokomotiv goalie Georgy Gelashvili in the 62nd minute to notch the win and force a winner-takes-all Game 7 in Kazan for the KHL Gagarin Cup.

Game 7 of the KHL Gagarin Cup will be played Sunday, April 12, the 48th anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, namesake for the KHL’s ultimate prize, becoming the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth.