11.03.2017 в 16:09
8th Junior Hockey League Playoffs kicked off on March 11th with four games in the Western Conference. SKA-1946 and Russkie Vityazi beat their opposition on home ice, while Almaz and Dinamo won in Yaroslavl and Moscow respectively.

The puck dropped at all four games simultaneously, but technically the playoffs kicked off in St. Petersburg where SKA-1946 played hosts to Chayka Nizhny Novgorod after receiving Western Conference champions award. The award was presented by Junior Hockey League executive director Alexei Morozov. As per tradition, none of the players touched the trophy.

Nizhny Novgorod looked like a better team in the opening period of play. They created more scoring chances and deservedly got a goal out of it. Danil Veryayev centered it from the goal-line to Roman Gorbunov and he one-timed it past Konstantin Volkov – the top goaltender of the regular season – for a powerplay marker. SKA-1946 answered only halfway through the second period. Alexander Volkov avenged his Konstantin, who bears the same last name, with a nice snipe from the high slot to put home team on the board.

At 37-41 Gorbunov scored his second of the game and it came shorthanded. SKA-1946 got carried away, Gorbunov stole the puck, streaked down the right wing and wired it home to give Chayka a 2-1 lead. Late in the second frame ‘the army men’ could have tied it up but Alexei Ozhgikhin missed the wide-open net.

At 44-58 St. Petersburg brought it all back to even again – Andrei Runov got a minor penalty and Mikhail Maltsev capitalized on the ensuing powerplay to make it a 2-2 hockey game. Key moment of the game came late in regulation when Ozhgikhin did get what he wanted and scored on a rebound. The goal was confirmed after a video-review. SKA-1946 held on to the 3-2 lead, showing great character, and despite all of Chayka efforts, it’s St. Petersburg who takes the lead in the series.

SКА-1946 St. Petersburg – Chayka Nizhny Novgorod – 3-2 (0-1, 1-1, 2-0)
0-1 – Gorbunov (Khalemin, Veryayev) – 19-28 PPG
1-1 – Volkov (Volodin, Maltsev) – 31-52
1-2 – Gorbunov (Unassisted) – 37-41 SHG
2-2 – Maltsev (Volodin) – 44-58 PPG
3-2 – Ozhgikhin (Petkov) – 56-19
Goaltenders: Volkov - Sukhanov

Game statistics:
Shots: 51-54
Shots on goal: 30-34
Goals: 3-2
Face-offs: 40-22
Penalty Minutes: 10-18

First goal of the 2017 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs happened in Moscow, where Krasnaya Armiya hosted MHC Dinamo St. Petersburg. The red-and-blue got off to a great start – two minutes after Danila Kvartalnov opened scoring Mikhail Byakin improved the lead to 2-0. However, Dinamo tied it up before the first intermission – Anton Vasiliev scored two goals in a span of 2-07.

Early in the second period of play Dinamo got another man-advantage and they capitalized on it as well. This time Ilya Zavyalov sent one past Alexander Samoilov. Home team got it back in a hurry. Nikita Popugayev sniped one home to make it 3-3. Nikita Kurakin and Konstantin Chernyuk got a tally each 28 seconds apart to give Dinamo a 2-goal lead. Notably, Chernyuk scored shorthanded. That happened midway through the second period and Krasnaya Armiya couldn’t recover. The teams headed into the second intermission with Dinamo up 5-3.

Home team did get a single goal after that, while Dinamo set the final score at 6-3. At 50-54 Anton Nazarevich scored his first of the playoffs. Late in regulation Krasnaya Armiya began racking up penalties and Nikita Makeyev got a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for checking to the head. Artyom Chmykhov got a minor for roughing but that changed nothing on the scoreboard.

Krasnaya Armiya Moscow – MHC Dinamo St. Petersburg – 3-6 (2-2, 1-3, 0-1)
1-0 – Kvartalnov (Lugovyak, Popugayev) – 05-11 PPG
2-0 – Byakin (Silayev) – 07-22
2-1 – Vasiliev (Zavyalov) – 12-19 PPG
2-2 – Vasiliev (Zavyalov) – 14-26
2-3 – Zavyalov (Anisimov) – 21-36 PPG
3-3 – Popugayev (Lugovyak, Kvartalnov) – 22-58
3-4 – Kurakin (Zelenkov) – 29-34 SHG
3-5 – Chernyuk (Andreyev, Vasiliev) – 30-02 SHG
3-6 – Nazarevich (Zelenkov) – 50-54
Goaltenders: Samoilov - Ustimenko

Game statistics:
Shots: 68-59
Shots on goal: 38-30
Goals: 3-6
Face-offs: 45-26
Penalty Minutes: 28-14

Reigning Kharlamov Cup champions Loko hosts Almaz Cherepovets in Yaroslavl. Home team dressed Igor Bondyrev and Nikolai Averin, who had played in the VHL this season. Also Yegor Fateyev and Pavel Kudryavtsev have KHL experience. As for Almaz, they had Vladislav Kodola, Sergei Lapin, 2017 World Junior bronze medalist defenseman Vadim Kudako and Daniil Vovchenko with KHL experience. Vovchenko was third on Severstal in scoring this season.

The fans weren’t treated to any goals in the first two periods of play, even though Yaroslavl outshot their opponents in both frames. However, defensemen along with goaltenders Ilya Konovalov and Alexei Artamkin, who used to play for Loko, played extremely cautious. In the third stanza Cherepovets grabbed the momentum. Home team obviously struggled – they found it hard to keep up the pace they played at in the first 40 minutes of the game. Cherepovets had two powerplay opportunities but still couldn’t find the back of the net. The game went to overtime as there was no scoring in regulation.

In the extra period of play Nikolai Averin got a minor penalty for tripping and that proved to be fatal for Loko. Daniil Vovchenko scord the game winning goal late in overtime. Almaz take a 1-0 lead in the series against reigning Kharlamov Cup champions.

Loko Yaroslavl – Almaz Cherepovets – 0-1 ОТ (0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1)
0-1 – Vovchenko (Kudako, Kodola) – 67-55
Goaltenders: Konovalov - Artamkin

Game statistics:
Shots: 50-47
Shots on goal: 31-29
Goals: 0-1
Face-offs: 32-28
Penalty Minutes: 10-10

MHC Spartak Moscow was nowhere to be found in the first two periods of play in the game against Russkie Vityazi Moscow Region. It all began in the final minute of the first frame when goaltender Nikita Lysenkov got bumped into by his own defenseman and Maxim Dzhioshvili scored from the slot. In the second period Chekhov scored three unanswered goals. Mark Verba sniped it top-shef on the far-side off an odd-man rush. Four minutes later Dzhioshvili scored his second of the game as he tipped it in on Gleb Kozhemyakin’s shot. And at 37-39 Dzhioshvili completed his hat-trick as he scored shorthanded – he beat Akim Trishin on the glove-side.

Early in the third stanza Alexei Gusev put Spartak on the board as well but just two minutes later Russkie Vityazi’s top-scorer Pavel Gorokhov scored on a powerplay as he buried the rebound. Russkie Vityazi held on to the 5-1 lead and enjoyed a very solid win on home ice to start the series.

Russkie Vityazi Moscow Region – MHC Spartak Moscow – 5-1 (1-0, 3-0, 1-1)
1-0 – Dzhioshvili (Ivanyuzhenkov, Bochkaryov) – 19-06
2-0 – Verba (Unassisted) – 26-14
3-0 – Dzhioshvili (Kozhemyakin, Bochkaryov) – 30-06
4-0 – Dzhioshvili (Kozhemyakin) – 37-39 SHG
4-1 – Gusev (Tsyplakov) – 41-08
5-1 – Gorokhov (Shevchenko, Yepishin) – 43-35 PPG
Goaltenders: Donenko - Lysenkov

Game statistics:
Shots: 43-41
Shots on goal: 29-29
Goals: 5-1
Face-offs: 32-22
Penalty Minutes: 8-6

Game 2 in all series is scheduled for Sunday, March 12th. Western Conference teams will also be joined by Eastern Conference clubs in their quest for Kharlamov Cup.