About the League
Two Western Conference semifinal series continued on March 21st. Both games took place in St. Petersburg – Dynamo lost to Loko for the second consecutive time and will now face elimination, while Almaz did their best against SKA-1946 but still failed to level the series.
Just as was the case in Game 1, Loko Yaroslavl grabbed the momentum right out of the gate. Their fourth line was in the spotlight in the opening period of play. Danila Dyadyenkin put Loko on the board just three minutes in, while Daniil Tesanov jammed the puck past Kirill Ustimenko after a series of rebounds midway through the frame.
Home team got off to a better start in the second period but Vladislav Okoryak, who had replaced Daniil Isayev in goal for Game 2, made a few great saves. Dmitry Krasotkin’s men evened out the game only midway through the stanza and forward Nikita Anokhovsky made it 3-0 for the ‘railway men’. It seemed that Ustimenko covered up the puck but the goal counted after video review.
Makar Chufarov made his Kharlamov Cup Playoffs debut in the third period. However, he got scored on soon as well. Ilya Nikolayev, who currently leads the league in post-season scoring, set the final score. All Dynamo could eke out in this one was a consolation goal by defenseman Veniamin Baranov, while Anton Nazarevich and Anton Vasiliev picked up the assists.
Loko Yaroslavl win their fifth consecutive game in this post-season run and can clinch the series in Game 3. Dynamo travels to Yaroslavl with no room for mistake.
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg made a few adjustments to their roster prior to Game 2. Ivan Morozov was called up to KHL team by Ilya Vorobyov for Game 5 of Western Conference Semifinals against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, while Artyom Zhuk’s suspension came to an end. However, the 46’s coaching staff got some reinforcements – Lev Berdichevsky, who was the head-coach of SKA-Varyagi this season, will now be Alexander Savchenkov’s assistant.
The teams created their first scoring chances only late in the opening period of play. First Nikita Lysenkov couldn’t hold on to the puck on a long shot but Almaz Cherepovets forwards failed to tuck it into the wide-open net on the rebound. Home team had the best chance to get on the board in the first period. With a second on the clock Timur Ibragimov wristed it past Dmitry Shugayev, who had replaced Konstantin Shostak in goal after Game 1, but Artur Shaikhutdinov managed to swat the puck away right off the goal-line. The episode ended with a mass brawl as Cherepovets didn’t like how active SKA-1946 were in their slot.
‘Army men’ got off to a better start in the second stanza. The teams spent some time playing in 4-on-4 format after a couple off-setting minors. Vasily Podkolzin took a great screen-shot and Shugayev couldn’t do anything about it – 1-0 St. Petersburg. A few minutes later another huge brawl broke out as Dmitry Zaitsev found himself on the receiving end of a dirty hit.
Almaz have only themselves to blame for the second goal they allowed. Shortly before the intermission Vladimir Sychushkin couldn’t get the puck under control, Shugayev made a clumsy play with his skate and the puck ended up in the net. Danila Galenyuk was credited with the marker.
Third frame didn’t feature a lot of scoring chances. Almaz picked up the pace only late in regulation – Artyom Markov solved Lysenkov with a minute on the clock. Cherepovets had already pulled their netminder for the extra-attacker and had their net vacated. It looked that SKA-1946 were going to hold on to the narrow lead but they came up just six seconds short. Nikita Kolesnikov skated to the slot and sent it in from the slot to force overtime. It took game officials several minutes to video review the play but SKA-1946 coach’s challenge was in vain – the call still went in Cherepovets’ favor.
Just as the day before, overtime solved nothing in this one. For the second consecutive time the game went to the shootout. Evgeny Stavrovsky decided to put Konstantin Shostak back in goal but he got scored on all three attempts, while Lysenkov made two saves. The series now moves to Cherepovets where SKA-1946 can complete the sweep.