About the League
Eight Kharlamov Cup games took place in Junior Hockey League on March 13th. While Snezhnye Barsy and Belye Medvedi managed to pull back to within one in their respective series, Stalnye Lisy’s season ended as they were swept in three games by Omskie Yastreby who became the first team to qualify for next round.
Omskie Yastreby beat Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk on the road to kick off the series and had a chance to complete the sweep on home ice. Nevertheless, they didn’t opt for offensive-minded hockey and there were very few scoring chances on either side of the ice in the opening period of play. Even when the visitors were on a powerplay, the ‘Hawks’ didn’t feel much pressure and killed it off almost effortlessly. Georgy Romanov and Nikolai Shashkov had to make just three and four saves over the stretch respectively.
The pace of the game picked up a bit in the second frame. Home team created a few really good scoring chances and battered one straight at Shashkov from point-blank range on one occasion. However, Magnitogorsk pulled through and proved a certain hockey wisdom soon enough. Yuri Platonov finished off a wonderful passing play to put the visitors in the lead. Omskie Yastreby weren’t fazed by that. While they couldn’t convert on a man-advantage, they did find the equalizer at even strength. Ilya Badanin received the puck from Kirill Spitsenko on a quick 2-on-2 rush and hit the target to make it a 1-1 hockey game after 40 minutes of play.
The visitors grabbed the lead again midway through the third stanza. This time around Konstantin Dubin caught Romanov off guard with a mid-range shot. Omsk scored their second of the game 14 minutes into the period on a long possession play – Pavel Yelizarov got the puck at the blue line, skated to the middle of the ice and sniped a low corner. The play was video reviewed but the goal was confirmed in the end, thus sending sending the teams to the first overtime period of this post-season.
Ilya Badanin stepped into the spotlight once again in the last minute of it. He received the puck from Alexei Zubov, gained the zone and took a shot from far out. The puck went over the goal line and Badanin found himself under a pile of his teammates. With this 3-2 overtime win Omskie Yastreby eliminate Stalnye Lisy from the playoffs.
Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk were another team that had nothing to lose in Game 3 of their series. Having lost both games in Khanty-Mansiysk, ‘Polar Bears’ ran out of room for mistakes. As for Mamonty Yugry, were looking to complete the sweep to get more time to rest before the start of the next round.
Chelyabinsk scored on their initial offensive rush of the game – Maxim Shabanov sniped one top-shelf with a wrist-shot to put home team in the lead. Konstantin Kuzmaul had to sweat buckets later in the period when Belye Medvedi had a 2-minute man-advantage. Khanty-Mansiysk failed to convert on Ilya Karpukhin’s minor either.
The visitors grabbed the momentum in the second frame and Ilya Gorbunov had more work to do. Emotions were flying high and a brawl broke out after one of Mamonty Yugry rushes. As for Chelyabinsk, they took just two shots against Kuzmaul in the frame but still had a narrow lead after 40 minutes of play. Third period began with Konstantin Lukin unable to capitalize on a penalty shot. Alexander Belyayev found the equalizer after that and sent the game to overtime, which turned out to be one of the most exciting in Junior Hockey League history.
Chelyabinsk couldn’t convert on a couple of good scoring chances in a row, which was shortly followed by Khanty-Mansiysk getting another one past Gorbunov. The visitors spilled over the boards celebrating the sweep but the goal was waved off after video review as there was goaltender interference on the play. After the play resumed, Belye Medvedi rushed down the ice and Alexander Podkorytov scored the game-winning goal touchdown style. Khanty-Mansiysk coaching staff also request the play to be reviewed but this time around game officials saw nothing wrong with it. Chelyabinsk salvage the game and the series will continue tomorrow.
Snezhnye Barsy Astana didn’t look strong at all in Yekaterinburg, losing both games and now absolutely had to win on home ice to avoid elimination in the opening round. The fans were treated to just a single goal in the opening period of play – Sayan Daniyar found the back of the net. Batyrlan Muratov got hold of the puck in the corner of the offensive zone and dished it to his Daniyar, who sent it in on the far side.
Home team doubled their lead midway through the second frame. The puck squirted to the slot from the scrum in the corner and Vladimir Galkin misplayed it. Trying to clear it, he moved it perfectly to Aidos Zhorabek who battered it home from point-blank range. After a few brawls, Yekaterinburg responded with Kirill Tyutyayev’s marker – Avto top-scorer made Snezhnye Barsy defenseman pay for his mistake and buried the rebound of the end-boards to make it a 2-1 hockey game.
The teams traded goals halfway through the third stanza – Artur Gatiyatov scored for Astana, while Alexander Sevostyanov hit the target for the visitors. Yet Snezhnye Barsy managed to get a win in this one. They failed to convert on Tyutyayev’s minor, but once Yekaterinburg leader returned to the ice, Daniyar scored his second of the game. Davyd Makutsky set the final score with an empty-netter. Snezhnye Barsy win 5-2 on home ice and the series will continue.
Reaktor Nizhnekamsk came out hard for their first home game of the series. Alexei Puzanov converted on a powerplay just five minutes in off assists by Arsen Khisamutdinov and Bulat Shafigullin. Alik Gareyev’s men learned their lesson – even though they got 24 minutes over the course of the game, they didn’t let the opposition get a single powerplay goal after that.
Nizhnekamsk spent twice less time in the penalty box but one of their minors proved to be crucial. Midway through the third period of play Rodion Amirov beat Yaroslav Ozolin. The teams were tied on the scoreboard at the point – Tolpar forward Alexander Pashin hit the twine earlier in the stanza.
Final push on Dmitry Braginsky’s net ended with a fight between Bulat Shafigullin and Gleb Letov but Reaktor still failed to force overtime. Tolpar enjoy a hard-nosed win and take their first lead in the series.