About the League
2019 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs continued on March 14th with five opening round games. Teams hit the ice in Astana, Chelyabinsk and Nizhnekamsk in the Eastern Conference. We take a look at them in this daily review on JHL official website.
Snezhnye Barsy Astana won Game 3 of the series against Avto and had to work just as hard to get their second consecutive victory and travel back to Yekaterinburg for deciding Game 5. However, it proved to be a daunting task. Astana were down 2-0 just four minutes in as Pavel Voronkov and Kirill Tyutyayev found the back of the net, forcing Snezhnye Barsy coaching staff to swap 17-year-old Vilen Prokofyev for Demid Yeremeyev. The game evened out closer to the end of the first period of play but the emotions were flying high. Konstantin Suslov got a 10-minute misconduct in a harmless-looking episode, while Alexander Pavlenko had some disagreements with Sayan Daniyar.
Maxim Musorov got a minor penalty early in the second frame and Snezhnye Barsy allowed another goal – this time Pavel Voronkov sent one past Yeremeyev. Astana outshot the opposition in the stanza as they had three powerplay opportunities in a row but Vladimir Galkin proved he deserves to be considered as one of the top netminders of the season. He stopped all 16 shots he had to face over the stretch and Astana had just 20 minutes for salvation.
As for Vitaly Solovyov’s men, their job was too play well defensively and yield not an inch of ice to the opposition. They were successful at that, while Galkin once again put on a stellar performance en route to a 39-save night. With this shutout win Yekaterinburg become the second Eastern Conference team to make the quarterfinals. Snezhnye Barsy go on vacation with just one win in the series.
After two losses in Khanty-Mansiysk, Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk managed to win their first game on home ice in dramatic fashion. Now they were looking to even up the series but the first period of play didn’t go their way at all. Frustrated from the loss in Game 3, Mamonty Yugry came out hard and scored their first goal past Ilya Gorbunov just two minutes in – Makar Vaulin ripped one home from the blue line. A few minutes later Alexander Belyayev sent another one in from the slot and the visitors went to the dressing-room with a comfortable 2-goal lead after 20 minutes of play.
Home team managed to turn things around in the second frame. They grabbed the momentum right out of the gate and pitched camp in the offensive end. Grigory Nesvetayev took a shot from a great position but didn’t find his target, while Nikita Tertyshny did got a tally shortly after that. Konstantin Kuzmaul didn’t see the shot from the blue line for the traffic in front of the net and the goal was confirmed after video review as there was no goaltender interference on the play. That lifted the spirit of Belye Medvedi and they scored another one just a few minutes later. Vladislav Kuliyev tipped the puck in. The visitors asked for the play to be review but the goal stood in the end. Khanty-Mansiysk had a chance to get their lead back but Belyayev failed to convert on a breakaway.
That would come back to haunt Mamonty Yugry as Chelyabinsk scored the game-winning goal six minutes into the third stanza. Kuzmaul stopped Arkady Aksyonov’s shot but Yegor Stepanov buried the rebound. The visitors didn’t feel like going back home for Game 5 and got the momentum on their side. They dominated the last few minutes of regulation, peppering Belye Medvedi with shots from all over the place but home team survived. The series will now go to Game 5.
After a loss on home ice Reaktor Nizhnekamsk found themselves pinned against the wall. Vyacheslav Kasatkin had to win Game 4 to stay alive in the series. It’s not surprising that Nizhnekamsk had the lead twice. With a minute remaining to play in the opening period defenseman Gleb Semyonov put his team on the board – the puck went past Dmitry Braginsky six seconds after Daniil Bashkirov had vacated the penalty box. Reaktor got their second lead of the game late in the next period as Danil Mikhailov found the back of the net.
Tolpar Ufa were spending more time in the offensive zone and outshot the opposition in every period. Alexander Pashin tied the game up midway through the second stanza. Dying minutes of regulation were a real thriller – the visitors forced overtime with just 53 seconds remaining on the clock. Alik Gareyev called timeout and then pulled his goaltender for the extra-attacker. Yegor Letov scored the equalizer.
Alexei Puzanov shot his team in the foot midway through the extra period of play as he got a minor for kneeing. It took Tolpar special team 90 seconds to set up Rodion Amirov for the series-clinching goal.
Hockey season comes to an end in Nizhnekamsk, while Tolpar will soldier on to battle for Kharlamov Cup.