About the League
10th Junior Hockey League season continued with two Game 3s in Western Conference quarterfinal series. Loko Yaroslavl were looking to complete their sweep against JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg, while SKA-1946 were also one win away from eliminating Almaz.
Loko Yaroslavl had the momentum on their side in the early minutes of the game, which was taking place at the city’s main rink – Arena-2000. Daniil Isayev made his first appearance of the series in Loko’s net, while Kirill Ustimenko once again got the nod for Dynamo. There weren’t many scoring chances in the opening period of play. Dynamo forward Sergei Khokhlov got two minors, while Yaroslavl had only one penalty for roughing taken by Anton Malyshev. Late in the frame Igor Zenchikov could have opened up the scoring with a shot from a poor angle but the puck whistled wide of the net.
Second stanza began with a good shot by Veniamin Baranov but Isayev was up for the task. Three minutes later Maxim Afanasyev hit the post much to Ustimenko’s relief. Yaroslavl finally got what they wanted midway through the period. Anton Malyshev skated to the net, received the puck from Danila Dyadyenkin and sent it in on the far-side. In the remaining time of the period home team had two powerplay opportunities and got really close on several occasions to improving their lead, but the visitors headed to the dressing-rooms for the second intermission trailing by just a single tally.
Home team turned the puck over on the breakout early in the third frame and Pavel Rotenberg brought the game back to even. Dynamo had to pay for the next penalty they took – Nikita Gromov put it home from the slot to give the ‘railway men’ their second lead of the night. Kirill Slepets took the reins 13 minutes into the frame – a quick offensive rush ended with a point-blank range shot by junior Team Russia forward. Dynamo managed to bring it back to a 1-goal differential again – Ivan Vasin pounced on the rebound and buried it. However, three minutes wasn’t enough for Dynamo to find the equalizer. Loko win the game 3-2 and sweep the series 3-0. Reigning Kharlamov Cup champions proceed to the semifinal round.
Almaz Cherepovets played hosts to SKA-1946 St. Petersburg and had to win to avoid elimination. The game was even up till midway through the first period as the teams were trading scoring chances. And then ‘army men’ opened up the scoring. Kirill Petkov won the battle for the puck behind the net, made a quick centering pass and Artyom Nikolayev rifled it in. The forward shot the puck so hard, goaltender Konstantin Shostak didn’t even flinch. Just over a minute later Nikolai Polyakov got a minor penalty but Cherepovets failed to convert on it. Home team spent a lot of time in the offensive zone and took three times as many shots as the opposition but Nikita Lysenkov stood tall.
Early in the second period of play Dmitry Zaitsev got a minor for holding and SKA-1946 capitalized on the chance. It took the visitors just 13 seconds to put together a passing play, which was finished off by Ivan Morozov who made it a 2-0 hockey game. Soon after that Shostak let another shot go in but the goal was waved off after video review as the puck was kicked into the net. Cherepovets bolted up the ice looking for their first goal of the game but instead they got another penalty and it was crucial – Ivan Morozov scored his second, but it was also cancelled by the officials due to goaltender interference. Soon after that Vasily Podkolzin did capitalize on the powerplay and with nine seconds remaining to play in the period Danila Galenyuk improved the lead to 4-0.
The goal was a bit of a fluke. Shostak slided across to stop Galenyuk’s long-range shot but the puck hit a defenseman on its way and got deflected into the back of the net. Evgeny Stavrovsky’s men couldn’t erase a 4-goal deficit. Moreover, they couldn’t even get a consolation marker, despite all their efforts. Artyom Nikolayev set the final score. SKA-1946 enjoy a blowout win in Cherepovets and for the second consecutive year make it to Kharlamov Cup Semifinals.