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Game 4 of the 2018 Kharlamov Cup Finals between Loko Yaroslavl and SKA St. Petersburg took place on April 22nd. The series returned to Arena-2000, where Yaroslavl won a hard-fought game 2-1. Loko will now travel back to St. Petersburg as they are one win away from Kharlamov Cup.
This time SKA-1946 head-coach Mikhail Milyokhin stayed true to his winning tactics and started Nikita Lysenkov in goal, who won both games for his team in the series, as he took place in Konstantin Volkov’s turn. Yaroslavl, as always, gave the nod to Ilya Konovalov.
‘Railway men’ scored on their first more or less good offensive rush, sending their fans to their feet. Ivan Romanov took a shot from a face-off circle, Lysenkov stopped it but Georgy Ivanov popped out of nowhere and put it home on the rebound with a backhand shot. Yaroslavl stayed aggressive on the forecheck, keeping Lysenkov’s plate full, while St. Petersburg almost borught the game back to even. Home team got caught on a counter-attack, Ivan Volodin got in on a breakaway but Konovalov was up for the task. The visitors went on a powerplay after Vladislav Rybakov got a minor penalty but they ripped no dividends from that.
The tempo of the game decreased in the 2nd period of play but it was enough for both team to take shots on a regular basis. Anton Lukichev had a decent scoring chances as he joined a promising rush but he couldn’t tap it home from in tight. At 29-23 Yaroslavl double their lead. Igor Bondyrev won the battle for the puck behind the net, passed it to Nikolai Kovalenko, who one-touched it to Vladislav Rybakov – Loko’s top goal-scorer made a great pause, brought the goaltender down and sent it home. That was Rybakov’s 7th goal of the playoffs. Both teams had man-advantages but to no avail. Late in the period Kirill Slepets roughed up Alexei Polodyan and got a minor penalty for kneeing. As St. Petersburg tried to convert on the ensuing powerplay, the horn sounded and the teams left for the dressing-rooms with Loko leading 2-0 after 40 minutes of play.
St. Petersburg came out hard for the 3rd period and finally found the back of the net at 42-47. Loko defensemen gave up the puck behind their own net, Alexei Ozhgikhin centered it and SKA-1946 captain Vladislav Kurbatov sieved it through Konovalov. After that ‘the railway men’ had to survive for several difficult minutes as the visitors tried to get another tally right away. Konovalov and his defensemen stood their ground and the situation got diffused as Ivan Volodin got a 2-minute penalty. Yaroslavl tried to keep it simple in their own end and play high above their blue line. With two minutes remaining on the clock, Mikhail Milyokhin pulled Lysenkov for the extra-attacker but Pavel Kukshtel let his team down as he got yet another penalty – this time it was for slashing. Loko went on to win it 2-1 and they are now just one win away from Kharlamov Cup. Game 6 of the final series will take place in St. Petersburg next Tuesday, April 24th.
2018 Kharlamov Cup Finals. Game 5. Yaroslavl, Aрена-2000
Loko (Yaroslavl) – SКА-1946 (St. Petersburg) – 2-1 (1-0, 1-0, 0-1)
1-0 – Ivanov (Romanov, Yurtaikin) – 00-32
2-0 – Rybakov (Bondyrev, Kovalenko) – 29-23
2-1 – Kurbatov (Ozhgikhin) – 42-47
Goaltenders: Konovalov – Lysenkov
Shots on goal: 36-22
Penalty Minutes: 6-6
Loko Yaroslavl lead the series 3-2