About the League
Game 2 of the 2019 Kharlamov Cup Finals took place on April 13th. Loko beat Avto Yekaterinburg in hard-fought fashion and return to Yaroslavl without a single loss on the road. Avto will now have to win at least one game in Yaroslavl to move the series back to Yekaterinburg.
The teams opted for offensive-minded hockey in the opening period of play and traded scoring chances. Avto players didn’t get to take a lot of shots on Daniil Isayev, who was making his Kharlamov Cup debut in this one (last year he was called up to Team Russia to compete at the U18 IIHF World Championship and thus missed the final series against SKA-1946 St. Petersburg). Home team’s top-line had the best scoring opportunity of the frame – with just a few minutes on the clock Alexander Derbenyov took a powerful shot from the blue line and the puck bounced off the boards right on the blade of Maxim Rasseikin’s stick, who couldn’t bury it into the wide-open net as Daniil Misyul came to the rescue.
As for Loko, they created one scoring chance after another and outshot the opposition 15-to-7. Denisenko’s line kept carrying the puck down the wings and ended almost all of their rushes with a shot on net. They also pounced on rebounds – early in the game Vladimir Galkin stopped Igor Zenchikov’s shot from point-blank range and with a few minutes before the intermission Maxim Denezhkin hit the post.
Last minute of the stanza proved to be quite eventful. Denisenko received the puck from Denezhkin and skated to the slot but tried to send it in with a backhand shot. Galkin had a piece of it and then covered it up behind the goal-line. The episode was aggravated by the fact that Denezhkin ran into the netminder at full-speed. The collision was so powerful that Galkin lost his mask and grabbed onto his ear right away. Game officials had to review the play. The goal initially counted but the call was overruled after Vitaly Solovyov challenged the play for goaltender interference.
Mikhail Isyaev – no relation to Loko’s netminder – went in the cage for Avto for the last few seconds of the period. Another Isayev was watching the game from the stands – Uralskie Pelmeni cast member and Avtomobilist fan Sergei Isayev. Notably, he cheered for Loko back in the summer at the 2018 Junior Club World Cup. However, Mikhail Isayev got to play less than a minute in his first Kharlamov Cup Finals game – Galkin went back in the net in the second frame.
Second period of play proved to be more eventful. Eight minutes in Danila Dyadenkin skated through two zones meeting no adversity, put the puck on his backhand and elevated it past Galkin before getting hit by a defenseman.
Avto didn’t give up and got a goal back just two minutes later – Denis Yerkin fired it from the neutral zone and the puck went over the net as Isayev had a piece of it. Kirill Tyutyayev picked up the biscuit at the boards and centered it for Ilya Zakharov, who buried it home on the short-side.
The visitors kept pressure in the offensive end, had two consecutive powerplay opportunitiesand yet failed to get back in the lead. After Avto survived four penalty minutes, they scored on a counter-attack – Daniil Zaitsev carried the puck from the neutral zone to the area behind the net and dished it over to Vladimir Kuznetsov, who was left all alone in the slot by Loko defensemen.
Home team went into the third stanza leading by a goal but Dmitry Krasotkin’s side changed it rather quickly. Yaroslavl’s most productive defenseman Anton Malyshev fired one in from the blue line less than a minute into the period, while Denezhkin picked up an assist as he won the face-off in the offensive territory. Malyshev’s shot wasn’t very powerful but the puck ricocheted into the net off Avto player’s skate.
Yekaterinburg ran into a penalty problem late in regulation. First Daniil Zaitsev got a 2-minute minor for high-sticking. A few seconds later he was joined in the penalty box by Alexander Sevostyanov, who dislodged the net as he battled for the puck in the slot. 40 seconds later Vladislav Rybakov found himself unmanned in the slot and beat Galkin with a backhand shot. Rybakov celebrated the essential game-winning goal in Artyom Dzyuba style, saluting Yekaterinburg crowd.
Avto failed to create any scoring chances in the remaining three minutes of play. Loko enjoy their second consecutive win. They are now just two steps away from winning their third Kharlamov Cup. Yekaterinburg will now need to win at least one game in Yaroslavl to keep the series going. Game 3 and Game 4 will take place on April 16th and April 17th.