2017 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs resumed on March 15th with four Western Conference quarterfinal games. All four games ended with one team enjoying a shutout win. No team was eliminated from the post-season.
Gameday began in Nizhny Novgorod where Chayka, cheered on by soldout hometown crowd, faced SKA-1946 St. Petersburg at Konovalenko Ice Palace. In Game 2 of the best-of-five series Chayka managed to get a win, tying the matchup at one.
However, the ‘army men’ didn’t get intimidated by Nizhny Novgorod crowd and had a solid opening period of play, opening scoring at 15-43 – Nikita Moyseyev got the assist and Nikita Veytov got the goal. Moyseyev made a stretch pass to Veytov and he sent it past Andrei Sukhanov from mid-range. Late in the period the teams got off-setting minors – Yegor Seranov hooked Mikhail Milyokhin, but SKA-1946 player got a minor penalty as well for embellishing.
In the second period Nizhny Novgorod continued to play nervously. Mikhail Smolin got a 10-minute misconduct for checking to the head. The visiting team couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing powerplay but soon after that Kirill Klopov got two minutes for boarding and this time around SKA-1946 made Chayka pay – Vladimir Barabanov improved his team’s lead to 2-0. Mikhail Milyokhin’s side was still out for more. They continued to have the momentum on their side and almost outshot the opposition two-to-one in the second frame. That had no effect on the scoreboard and Vyacheslav Ryanov had stuff to think about in the intermission.
In the final period of play Chayka had excellent scoring chances but once again they ran into a penalty problem. Point in case – Dmitry Rodionychev got a minor penalty whilst his team was on a powerplay. Ryanov went all-in in the dying minutes of regulation, pulling Sukhanov for the extra-attacker. Home team feverishly battled in the offensive end but they couldn’t pull off another late-game miracle. SKA-1946 takes it 2-0 in the road and grab a 2-1 lead in the series. 2015 Kharlamov Cup champions have no room for mistake now.
Chayka Nizhny Novgorod - SКА-1946 St. Petersburg – 0-2 (0-1, 0-1, 0-0)
0-1 – Veytov (Moyseyev) – 15-43
0-2 – Barabanov (Nesterov) – 33-29 PPG
Goaltenders: Sukhanov - Volkov
Shots on goal: 21-36
Penalty Minutes: 24-10
SKA-1946 lead the series 2-1
Unlike in the previous two games of the Western Conference quarterfinal series between Krasnaya Armiya Moscow and MHC Dinamo St. Petersburg, in Game 3 the fans weren’t treated to any goals in the opening period of play. The visiting team outshot their opposition, had two powerplay opportunities but still came up empty. The blue-and-white also had their scoring chances but Artyom Korepanov stopped every shot he had to face. It seems that Korepanov stole the starting goaltender job from Alexander Samoilov.
Second frame also didn’t feature any goals. St. Petersburg evened up on the shot-clock, spent more time in the offensive end and the game leveled out. Midway through the period Dinamo created a few really good scoring chances. Anton Vasiliev was close to hitting the target but his shot was gloved by Korepanov. Krasnaya Armiya answered late in the period but Kirill Ustimenko made two tremendous saves to keep it a 0-0 game. The teams headed to the dressing-rooms for the second intermission deadlocked in a scoreless tie.
Late in the final stanza home team, cheered on by the hometown crowd, finally got what they wanted. Their goal wasn’t that pretty but it still meant a lot. Dinamo’s offensive rush ended with a shot on net by Anton Vasiliev and the puck ended up in the net after a series of deflections. The tally came at 55-48, leaving Krasnaya Armiya almost no time to get the equalizer. Head-coach Boris Mironov pulled his goaltender for the extra-attacker but the red-and-blue didn’t manage to go for one final push. St. Petersburg went on to win the game 1-0 and they are now just one victory away from eliminating one of the main Kharlamov Cup contenders this year.
MHC Dinamo St. Petersburg – Krasnaya Armiya Moscow – 1-0 (0-0, 0-0, 1-0)
1-0 – Vasiliev (Zelenkov, Nazarevich) – 55-48
Goaltenders: Ustimenko - Korepanov
Shots on goal: 27-30
Penalty Minutes: 12-12
Dinamo lead the series 2-1
In Cherepovets Almaz played hosts to Loko Yaroslavl. The reigning champions had nothing to lose in Game 3 as they were trailing 2-0 in the best-of-five series. That put extra emphasis on every mistake. As the home team, Cherepovets came out hard for the opening period of play and made goaltender Ilya Konovalov sweat buckets. However, Loko got on the board off one of their first counter-attacks. Roman Krikunenko received the puck from Artur Kayumov and beat his former teammate Alexei Artamkin with neat backhand shot.
Early in the second period Nikita Anokhovsky improved Loko’s lead to 2-0 – the forward skillfully redirected Mark Pavlikov’s shot into the back of the net. Alexei Artamkin had no chance to react. At 36-25 Ivan Romanov bulldozed his way through Cherepovets defense and sent it in from the slot to make it 3-0 Loko. A minute later Roman Krikunenko got his second tally of the night. It looked like Loko’s offensive rush was over, but Nikolai Kovalenko fooled everyone, skated behind the net and feathered it to Krikunenko who tapped it into the wide-open net. Artamkin’s night was done after that and Ilya Donchenko took his place between the pipes. The teams headed to the dressing-rooms for the second intermission as Loko had a 4-0 lead.
Almaz backup goaltender didn’t last very long – at 44-56 Romanov got his second tally of the night and then Pavel Kudryavtsev extended Yaroslavl lead to 6-0. Igor Bondyrev soured the win a little bit as he got a 5-minute major and a game-misconduct for roughing and checking to the head on top of that. Nevertheless, Almaz couldn’t get anything past Konovalov. Loko went on to take it 6-0 on the road. Cherepovets are still just one win away from clinching the series.
Almaz Cherepovets – Loko Yaroslavl – 0-6 (0-1, 0-3, 0-2)
0-1 – Krikunenko (Kayumov, Pavlikov) – 08-03
0-2 – Anokhovsky (Slepets Pavlikov) – 32-43
0-3 – Romanov (Ivanov) – 36-25
0-4 – Krikunenko (Yurtaikin, Kovalenko) – 37-40
0-5 – Romanov (Slepets) – 44-56
0-6 – Kudryavtsev (Unassisted) – 47-02
Goaltenders: Artamkin, Donchenko - Konovalov
Shots on goal: 21-29
Penalty Minutes: 18-39
Almaz lead the series 2-1
MHC Spartak Moscow also had nothing to lose in Game 3 of the series against Russkie Vityazi Moscow Region. The red-and-white came out hard for the opening period of play and gave goaltender Bogdan Donenko a lot of work to do. Russkie Vityazi played well defensively and then slowly but surely began pulling the momentum on their side. Maxim Dzhioshvili, who leads Chekhov in post-season scoring, had the greatest scoring chance as he was shooting from point-blanc range but goaltender Andrei Skovronsky turned it aside. Spartak netminder also made a huge save on Stanislav Kandzyuba late in the period.
In the second period of play the red-and-white spent more time in the offensive end but still came up empty. The fans finally were treated to a goal at 45-06. Mikhail Zholobov put the puck on net, Ilya Klyauzov found some room in front and sent it home to give Spartak a 1-0 lead. Russkie Vityazi put a lot of effort to tie the game up but Skovronsky didn’t feel like allowing a goal that day. MHC Spartak Moscow went on to win the game 1-0 and avoided elimination in the best-of-fives series.
MHC Spartak Moscow – Russkie Vityazi Moscow Region – 1-0 (0-0, 0-0, 1-0)
1-0 – Klyauzov (Zholobov, Pervov) – 45-06
Goaltenders: Skovronsky – Donenko
Shots on goal: 16-23
Penalty Minutes: 10-20
Russkie Vityazi lead the series 2-1