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Two hours after Eastern Conference matchups ended, their Western counterparts hit the ice in the opening round of the 2019 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs. We take a look at them in this daily review on JHL official website.
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg, who finished on top of the Western Conference, faced their rivals SKA-Varyagi. Junior Hockey League managing director Alexei Morozov presented home team with the Western Conference Trophy before the game. The 46’s came out hard but allowed a counter-attack just two minutes in and Lev Berdichevsky’s men opened up the scoring – Fyodor Yarovinsky sent it in from mid-range. Home team rushed down the ice looking for the equalizer, spent some time on a powerplay and 4-on-4 but allowed another goal late in the period. Ivan Morozov shot his team in the foot with a minor penalty and Kirill Basisty hit the twine with just four seconds remaining on the clock.
Early in the next period Basisty passed it to the far post for Daniil Kalmykov, who beat the netminder from in tight and put it over the goal-line. In this very unlikely turn of events SKA-1946 replaced Nikita Lysenkov with Maxim Gibadullin in goal, while Yaroslav Askarov looked great stopping shots left and right.
Home team finally woke up late in regulation. Evgeny Tsaryuk converted on a powerplay and three minutes later Arseny Brinkman found the back of the net as well. However, it was not a comeback story. Daniil Kalmykov stole the puck with two minutes on the clock at the far blue line, skated down the left wing and fired it home from the face-off circle. Denis Kuyanov set the final score with an empty-netter. SKA-Varyagi win 5-2 and take the lead in the series, despite being underdogs.
Another St. Petersburg team – Dynamo – squared off against JHC Spartak Moscow at SC Yubileyny. Home team got a minor penalty in the opening minute of the game, killed it off and opened up the scoring a few shifts later – Maxim Mikhailov tapped it home on the far post off Anton Vasiliev’s pass. Dynamo soon improved their lead to 2-0. Andrei Skovronsky stopped Anton Nazarevich’s shot but the puck bounced right into the slot and Sergei Bolshakov backhanded it home. The red-and-white responded with rare counter-attacks but Dynamo – knowing full well of Mikhail Shalagin’s goal-scoring abilities – did their best to stop Moscow’s leader.
St. Petersburg improved their lead midway through the second period of play. Skovronsky gave up another fat rebound on Veniamin Baranov’s shot and Mikhailov buried it. A few minutes later Baranov took another shot that led to a goal. This time the puck went over the net, hit the end-boards and landed right on the tape of Alexei Kudryavtsev. Only after that did Spartak manage to score their first goal of the series – Artyom Volkov caught Kirill Ustimenko off guard. Dynamo still had a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Nothing changed on the scoreboard in the third frame. Skovronsky had to make a few huge saves and then Kristian Afanasyev hit the bar. Evgeny Sorokin got a game misconduct for checking to the head but the red-and-white managed to pull through. However, that didn’t change the fact that JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg went on to win the game 4-1 on home ice.
Loko Yaroslavl and Russkie Vityazi went up against each other in the opening round again, just like they did in the previous year. Chekhov looked like a better team early in the game but failed to convert on a series of scoring chances and that’s when the ‘railway men’ found their chemistry. Mikhail Belyayev and Timur Akhunov put a passing play together and set up Vladislav Chervonenko for a goal. The visitors had a few chances on their counter-attacks, best of which was a 2-on-1 rush but Damir Shairgaziyev couldn’t get the puck under control. Yaroslavl had to kill off Anton Lukichyov’s minor late in the period.
Home team began increasing their lead from the second period of play. Grigory Denisenko sniped one just under the bar to make it a 2-0 hockey game. In the very next shift Ilya Nikolayev pounced on the rebound on Yegor Manin’s shot and tucked it home. Kirill Cherepanov replaced Daniil Chechelev between the pipes for Russkie Vityazi but made a mistake on a clearing attempt and Manin made him pay for that, improving the lead to 4-0.
‘Railway men’ worked the clock in the last stanza, while the visitors took just three shots over the stretch against Vladislav Okoryak, who wound up making 31 saves for his 1st career Kharlamov Cup shutout. Yaroslavl enjoy a solid 4-0 win on home ice to kick off the series.
Krasnaya Armiya Moscow faced Almaz Cherepovets on home ice. The teams were feeling each other out in the opening period of play. A lot depended on who was going to make the first mistake and Cherepovets goaltender Konstantin Shostak drew a short straw. He made a poor clearing attempt and the puck ended up on Alexander Chernov’s stick. He passed it to Nikita Dolgopyatov who tapped it into the wide-open net. ‘Army men’ improved their lead two minutes later – game officials had to review the play but Daniil Anop’s marker counted in the end. The visitors could have gotten a goal back before the intermission but Artur Shaikhutdinov’s shot ringed off the bar, much to Dmitry Lozebnikov’s relief.
Krasnaya Armiya got a minor penalty early in the second period but the visitors failed to convert on it. However, they did get one over the goal-line at even strength – Almaz top-scorer Vladislav Fyodorov found the back of the net. He pounced on the rebound on a quick offensive rush. Cherepovets created a few more scoring chances but Lozebnikov stood tall and Krasnaya Armiya went on to get the momentum on their side again. There were still a lot of physical battles on the ice as the teams engaged in a true playoff brand of hockey and Moscow maintained their 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
In the end Krasnaya Armiya were able to protect their lead, giving the opposition no inch of the ice. Nevertheless, Lozebnikov had to make a few huge saves as the visitors had a slight advantage on the shot-clock. Final rush led to nothing and Krasnaya Armiya won Game 1 of the series