What would the playoffs be without the antics of a series deciding seventh game? Thanks to Barys Astana and Avangard Omsk, hockey fans won’t have to wait until the NHL playoffs to have their first taste of Game 7 in 2014-15.
Minutes into the final game of the first round series between Omsk and Astana, Barys winger Dustin Boyd had an incredible chance to get the game started right. After taking a pass in the middle of the ice, Boyd fired a wrist shot that sailed over the net and ricocheted off the glass back in front.
With Avangard goaltender Konstantin Barulin down and searching for the puck, Boyd looked to have the opening goal on his stick. Barulin, however, managed to contort his body and stretch out for a miraculous kick save.
Barulin’s stop kept the score locked at zeroes until just minutes later when Nigel Dawes found the back of the net to give Barys a 1-0 lead. Less than five minutes later, controversy struck and so did Avangard.
Following a dump in to the Astana zone, Omsk winger Chad Kolarik gave chase to Barys defenseman Alexei Litvinenko. As soon as Litvinenko turned to fire the puck up the wall, he was met with a check from Kolarik, who left his skates right before impact. The force of the hit caused Litvinenko’s stick to come up and catch him in the face, causing Litvinenko to fall to the ice clutching his head.
With Litvinenko down on the ice, Avangard held the puck in the zone and, ten seconds later, Kolarik was the recipient of a nice centering pass that gave him an empty net to fire the puck into. Kolarik’s tying goal came with Litvinenko still lying on the ice.
Kolarik’s game tying goal kept the score even until early in the second frame when Alexander Perezhogin scored to put Omsk up 2-1. With the Astana net empty late in the third, Kolarik added his second of the game and Omsk skated away with a 3-1 victory and 4-3 series win.
Avangard moves on to play the East’s top-seeded Ak Bars Kazan in the second round.