About the League
2019 Kharlamov Cup Semifinals continued on April 1st. Hockey players had no time for jokes – after suffering a blowout loss, Mamonty Yugry had to do better in front of their fans and tie the series. And that’s exactly what they did.
Both teams swapped their starting netminders for Game 2. Daniil Isayev got the nod for the first time in the series against Khanty-Mansiysk, while Konstantin Kuzmaul, who had played the final ten minutes of the previous matchup, replaced Ilya Stupin. Kuzmaul had allowed two goals on five shots in Game 1. However, he did much better in this one as he went on to stop 29 shots, including several huge saves on Yaroslavl’s great passing plays.
Loko scored their only goal of the game on a powerplay – midway through the opening period of play Nikolai Kovalenko won the battle for the puck in the slot and shoved it into the wide-open net. Nevertheless, Dmitry Krasotkin’s men went out of sync after that – their special teams were bleak, while the opposition created a few chances on counter-attacks. On one occasion Mamonty Yugry failed to score only due to a broken stick on the play.
The pace of the game went down in the second period and the ‘railway men’ lost their focus. For instance, Artur Kayumov went for the Michigan style goal once but couldn’t lift the puck off the ice. As for Mamonty Yugry, they increased their pressure little by little and managed to bring it back to even – Ivan Ezhov found the equalizer halfway through the frame.
The game followed the same scenario in the third stanza – most of Loko’s offensive rushes were stopped by either defensemen (Dmitry Burlutsky’s men blocked nine shots), or Kuzmaul. Mamonty Yugry waited for the right moment to strike when the visitors lost concentration and scored the deciding goal. With a few minutes remaining to play in regulation Nikita Chusovitin, who was left all alone by Loko players, beat Isayev from point-blank range off assist by Alexander Belyayev. ‘Railway men’ ran out of time, looking for the equalizer.
Loko lose their first game in this post-season run and the series now moves to Yaroslavl. Mamonty Yugry will now play two games on the road as the series is tied 1-1.