About the League
Junior Hockey League season resumed on March 20th with the first games of the quarterfinal round. In the East Avto faced Tolpar, while Mamonty Yugry went up against Omskie Yastreby.
Avto Yekaterinburg and Tolpar Ufa began their series with some high-speed hockey. First scoring chance of the game came five minutes in – Yekaterinburg defenseman had to clear the puck right off the goal-line. Ufa grabbed the momentum, while home side relied on counter-attacks. Artyom Belotsky could have scored on one of them but he failed to elevate the puck. Vladimir Yershov got the first penalty of the game. Avto took just one shot on the ensuing powerplay and it never made it to the net as it was blocked. Both goaltenders made strong plays late in the period. First Vladimir Galkin parried Alexei Pustozyorov’s shot, while Dmitry Braginsky had to make a save on a breakaway.
Second period of play began at a slower pace but midway through it both netminders had to come to the rescue again. Braginsky made two huge stops seven minutes in, and when the home side went for a counter-attack, it was Galkin’s turn to stand tall. Ufa failed to convert on a powerplay but they did finally open scoring at even strength. Shakir Mukhamadullin one-timed it from the blue line and Galkin couldn’t stop it. The goal came shortly before the intermission and the teams headed to the dressing-rooms with Tolpar leading 1-0.
Home team kept the pressure one in the third stanza, but Braginsky stood on his head. Vitaly Solovyov’s men were spending a lot of time in the offensive end up till midway through the period but then Ufa doubled their lead. Rodion Amirov took a shot and the puck went in and out of the net. Game officials had to review the play to confirm the goal. The visitors could have bagged it with four minutes remaining to play in regulation on a counter-attack but Galkin made a huge save on a 2-on-1 rush, while his defenseman blocked a shot on the follow-up chance. However, Ufa still managed to get a win in this one, putting it on ice with the empty-netter – Yegor Suchkov got the tally. Tolpar finally beat Avto (they were swept 3-0 in last season’s series) and take the lead in the series. Dmitry Braginsky stopped all 25 shots he had to face for a shutout.
Omskie Yastreby kicked off their quarterfinal series against Mamonty Yugry, who finished on top of the Eastern Conference in regular season standings, in Khanty-Mansiysk. The visitors got a minor penalty just three minutes in. Having killed it off, they went on to open scoring. Once again it was the Badanin brothers who made it happen. Ilya passed it to the slot from behind the net for Roman who beat Konstantin Kuzmaul from point-blank range. The ‘Mammoths’ tied it up ten minutes later. Kirill Rudenko took a shot from a poor angle but Georgy Romanov made a mistake and the puck went over the goal line off him.
Khanty-Mansiysk began the second period of play shorthanded but calmly killed the penalty off. Nine minutes into the frame a scrum in front of Kuzmaul’s net led to the puck getting over the goal-line. Referees went to video review the play and it took them quite a while but the goal counted in the end. Timraly Vakhrutdinov got a 10-minute misconduct in the heat of the battle and Dmitry Burlutsky called timeout to calm his players. With eight seconds remaining to play before the second intermission Roman Badanin got another 10-minute misconduct for kneeing.
Omskie Yastreby had to pay for the penalty early in the third stanza as one of Khanty-Mansiysk leaders Denis Latyshevich brought the game back to even. Nine minutes into the period Georgy Romanov allowed another goal but it was waved off after video review as the puck was kicked into the net. The visitors got their third lead of the game shortly after that – this time Kirill Spitsenko sniped one home with a wrist-shot from mid-range. Ilya Drozdetskikh’s minor proved to be key in the game as the visitors converted on it as well – Maxim Melnikov found the back of the net. Omsk played well defensively for the remainder of the game and got the win. 4-2 and Omskie Yastreby take the lead in the series.