About the League
Loko Yaroslavl head-coach and players comment on Game 7 of the 2019 Kharlamov Cup Finals. ‘Railway men’ have clinched their third Junior Hockey League championship title.
Dmitry Krasotkin, Loko Yaroslavl head-coach.
“Key moment of the final series – last two minutes of regulation in Game 6,” admits Krasotkin. “We were down 2-0, forced overtime and won it in the end – to be honest with you, I didn’t expect it. It’s not that I didn’t believe in it. After all, it’s hockey and you need to play till the end. Our boys showed that you can turn things around in just two minutes. That was the key moment of the series. The boys deserve the praise and credit. They have done it. It’s their victory. They were under a serious psychological pressure. The puck just didn’t want to go in. The opposition played well and their goaltender was making huge saves. The fact that it ended the way it did, I wouldn’t call it a miracle but luck was definitely on our side.
“Junior Club World Cup has also become an important tournament for us. It’s an international competition that brings together good teams. We always play to win so any trophy is important to us. We always give it a 100%. Tonight we focused on defense. We tried to simplify our game, move the puck out of our zone quickly and attack at even a slightest opportunity. Our opponents also played well defensively. It was tough cracking it and scoring a goal. And their goaltender also played great. That’s why the series turned out the way it did. Except for Game 1, all games ended with a 1-goal differential. I want to thank our opponents for the final series. They did well. As for my future, all I can say right now is that we’re going to discuss it with team management. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to leave. After all, I have played and worked at the club all my life. We’re going to think about it and come up with a reasonable solution.”
Maxim Denezhkin, Loko Yaroslavl forward.
“I was hitting posts and bars all series long,” says Denezhkin. “We worked and believed and that’s why the puck had to go in the net for me one way or another. It just so happened that I scored in the final game of the series. Tonight we won by a narrow score and I’m very happy to have scored such a goal. Is my goal more important than Georgy Ivanov’s OT-winner in Game 6? Every goal in this playoff run was important – goals in the series against Russkie Vityazi, and goals in the games against Avto. We salvaged the series in the previous game. We believed in ourselves, worked hard and battled in the slot. God praised us for all that!”.
Daniil Misyul, Loko Yaroslavl forward.
“It’s an indescribable feeling! It’s the best time of the season. We won the cup, which is something we worked towards to all season long,” shares Misyul. “It just so happened that the best moment of all the series was the last two minutes of regulation in Game 6 when we turned things around. Was JHL playoffs more exciting than KHL playoffs? I competed for both cups – with Loko and Lokomotiv. I can say that it’s entirely different emotions, impressions and stories. I don’t see a reason to compare the two.
“Why did the series turn out to be so lean on penalties and featured no fights? Nobody wanted to respond to provocations. Who wants to miss a game in the final series because of a suspension? That’s why there were no fights, only brawls. To be honest with you, I didn’t believe till last moment tonight that we would win. We had a narrow lead. We had to stick to our game plan and not celebrate prematurely – that was the most important thing. We weren’t nervous in the last minutes. We were confident in ourselves. We didn’t panic.
‘This isn’t my first Kharlamov Cup, but this trophy is special to me. Last time I played only in the opening two rounds and then left to U18 IIHF World Championship with Team Russia. This time around I experienced unbelievable emotions with the team and competed in Game 7 for the first time in my career. We nailed the last puck to our cardboard cup in the dressing-room, symbolizing that our playoff run came to an end. It’s going to stay with the team for the time. We’ll decide what to do with it later. I think I will spend a day with the cup but I haven’t planned anything specific yet.”
Daniil Isayev, Loko Yaroslavl goaltender.
“Last season I didn’t compete in Kharlamov Cup Playoffs, because I was with Team Russia at the U18 IIHF World Championship,” says Isayev. “So I really wanted to play in the final game of the series tonight. When you’re playing the deciding game, you get unbelievable emotions. Winning the game is just something else. But I have to say something. My shutout tonight wouldn’t be possible without Vladislav Rybakov (laughs). I’m serious, all goaltending drills and warmups with him are over the top! NHL scouts would sure find him useful. Tell him to take a closer look at him. He would do a great job warming goalies up across the ocean!
“Yegor Gennadiyevitch Podomatsky came up to me on the eve of the game and asked me if I was ready to play. I found out that they were going to start me only on the day of the final game. I spoke to goaltenders from other teams. I told them that I were to start, I would stop everything. That’s how confident I was.
“Turning point of the series is Game 6 – its last two minutes of regulation and overtime. I was on the bench at the time. I believed we could win and the boys pulled off the unreal.
“You have to give it to Avto goaltender, he played at the highest level. You can say that he carried Avto on his back throughout the series. I haven’t seen anything like that before. After the game I told [Vladimir] Galkin that he was a beaut and that it was an unbelievable series. Avto on the whole played ruthless hockey – they blocked amazing amounts of shots in every game!
“What did we do on the eve of the game? Last night our entire team played NHL19. By the way, [Grigory] Denisenko is nothing at videogames. He kept telling that he would beat us. In the end he lost by a blowout several times in a row!”.