About the League
Game 6 of the 2019 Kharlamov Cup Finals took place in Junior Hockey League on April 22nd. Reigning champions Loko Yaroslavl erased a 2-goal deficit and beat Avto Yekaterinburg in overtime.
Yaroslavl ran out of room for mistake as they were pinned against the wall coming into Game 6. Yekaterinburg led the series 3-2 and Loko had to win their first game on home ice in the matchup to force Game 7. ‘Railway men’ got off to a good start but Nikolai Kovalenko got a minor penalty just 24 seconds into the opening period of play. Having killed off the penalty, home team took a few shots on Vladimir Galkin. Kirill Slepets was close to scoring a goal and so was Georgy Ivanov who took a shot with a spin from the slot but Avto netminder was on top of his game. Loko also failed to convert on their initial powerplay opportunity of the night. Avto calmly waited for their chance and they got what they wanted. A quick offensive rush ended with a shot by Maxim Sedov and Vladislav Okoryak had no answer for it – 1-0 Yekaterinburg. Alexander Pavlenko could have improved the lead on a breakaway but this time around Yaroslavl goaltender put on a stellar move, stopping two consecutive shots as he did the splits.
Yaroslavl wasted several great scoring chances early in the second period as well. Igor Zenchikov had a golden opportunity to find the back of the net but he couldn’t beat Galkin from the slot. Nikita Zhukov fired one from point-blank range but he sent the puck wide of the net Galkin had to stand on his head again after Alexander Sevostyanov took a penalty and he got bailed out by the post once as the puck ringed off it after Maxim Denezhkin’s shot back into play. Game officials even had to review the play to confirm that the puck never crossed the goal-line. Galkin found himself in the spotlight again late in the period as he robbed Zenchikov, who was about to tap into the wide-open net. Another Yekaterinburg’s penalty led to a new flurry of chances for Yaroslavl, although Avto almost made them pay on a counter-attack, but Loko defensemen managed to clear the puck just in the nick of time. In the end, the teams headed to the dressing-rooms with Avto still having the narrow lead.
Third stanza began with a scoring chance that Okoryak diffused – a 3-on-2 rush led to Ilya Zakharov pulling the trigger and a spectacular save by Yaroslavl netminder. Two minutes later Yekaterinburg improved their lead to 2-0. The visitors once again waited for a perfect time to strike and Maxim Rasseikin caught Okoryak off-guard with a shot from mid-range. Avto’s top-scorer got yet another tally off assists by Semyon Perelyayev and no other but Vladimir Galkin, who has been the hero of the final series so far.
‘Railway men’ had more than enough time to bring the game back to even and they rushed down the ice. The visitors survived the storm and found themselves at the other end of the ice on an odd-man rush but Artyom Belotsky sent the puck over the bar. With six minute remaining to play in regulation Daniil Valitov got a minor penalty but home team couldn’t convert on it either. At that time Yaroslavl were making a lot of unforced errors and yet they still managed to bring the game back to a 1-goal differential. A quick offensive rush ended with a perfect shot that beat Galkin top-shelf – Artur Kayumov with the marker.
Loko had exactly two minutes to find the equalizer. Home team went for one final push and Grigory Denisenko beat Yekaterinburg netminder on the glove-side to make it a 2-2 hockey game! Avto’s coaching staff used their challenge to review the play but officials confirmed that everything was in order. Avto were just minutes away from hoisting the game and yet the game went to overtime.
Home team came out hard for the extra period of play and did their best to score a quick goal but after allowing two tallies Galkin was still unfazed and stopping every shot he had to face. However, his teammates ran out of gas. Four minutes in Nikolai Kovalenko centered from the area behind the net and Georgy Ivanov won the hard-fought game for the ‘railway men’.
Loko Yaroslavl win 3-2 in overtime and thus force Game 7, which will take place in Yekaterinburg on April 24th.