About the League
Junior Hockey League media relations department continues the series of jubilee season reviews for every team. Avto Yekaterinburg have achieved an astonishing result. The team, who had never made it past second round of the playoffs, went all the way to the finals and was a stone’s throw away from winning the Kharlamov Cup.
2nd place in the Eastern Conference, 88 points in 60 games, 188 goals for, 111 goals against
Avto Yekaterinburg enjoyed a stellar regular season. Former Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk’s Vitaly Solovyov coached the team for the second consecutive season. This time Yekaterinburg didn’t get to test themselves at Junior Club World Cup, did not get off to a good start in the regular season either but turned things around mid-September. With an impressive 8-game winning streak, Yekaterinburg quickly found themselves among top teams in the Eastern Conference and began competing against the mighty Mamonty Yugry for the 1st spot. Avto lost the race mainly due to losing all for head-to-head games against Khanty-Mansiysk. Despite hitting a bit of a slump towards the end of the regular season, Avto still finished 2nd in the conference as they had a big advantage in points.
Kirill Tyutyayev, Ilya Zakharov and former Mamonty Yugry leader Denis Yerkin provided Yekaterinburg with fire-power up front this year. Defenseman Daniil Zaitsev scored 15 points in 47 games, which was enough to lead everyone in his position in that regard on Avto. Vladislav Gross spent most of the season in VHL and was even dressed for a few KHL games, albeit never getting to play in any of them. In his absence Vladimir Galkin was in the spotlight. Last season Galkin made his debut for Yekaterinburg, while this year he was invited to compete for JHL Challenge Cup. He didn’t get to win the coveted trophy, but the 18-year-old netminder was one of the main heroes in the playoffs and deservedly won Kharlamov Cup MVP award.
Top-scorer: Kirill Tyutyayev – 60 (19 goals, 41 assists) points
Top goal-scorer: Ilya Zakharov – 23 goals
Most assists: Kirill Tyutyayev – 41 assists
Top defenseman: Daniil Zaitsev – 15 (6 goals, 9 assists) points, plus-16
Starting goaltender: Vladimir Galkin – 44 games, 31 wins, Goals Against Average – 1.48, Save Percentage – 0.944 on average per game
Yekaterinburg faced Snezhnye Barsy Astana in the opening round of the post-season. All in all, Vitaly Solovyov’s men didn’t have much trouble winning it, despite losing one of the games. They also eliminated Tolpar Ufa in four games, although this time around it was a much more daunting task. Yekaterinburg won Game 1 but then lost two consecutive bouts and had to win Game 4, which proved to be the longest in Junior Hockey League history. The teams were tied 3-3 when Pavel Voronkov scored the series-clinching goal in quadruple overtime to send Avto to the semifinal round for the first time in franchise history. Yekaterinburg had to face a worthy foe next as they went up against SKA-1946 St. Petersburg.
Not Solovyov’s team looked decent in the series, they also got to beat the mighty opponent and one of the post-season favorites in five games. Yekaterinburg bounced back after losing Game 1 in St. Petersburg, took the lead in the series on home ice and had a chance to close it early but St. Petersburd enjoyed a big 6-1 win in Game 4. That didn’t faze Avto who prevailed in Game 5 and qualified for the finals.
In the main series of the season Yekaterinburg faced reigning Kharlamov Cup champions Loko Yaroslavl. The series was expected to be over in the blink of an eye, but instead all the way to Game 7. Yaroslavl won the first two games on the road but then lost three times in a row. Yekaterinburg had a great chance to win the cup in Game 6 as they were up by two goals with just a few minutes remaining to be played in regulation. However, the ‘railway men’ pulled off a miraculous comeback and forced deciding Game 7. Loko went back to Yekaterinburg and scored the only goal at CEC Uralets to win their second consecutive championship title.
Top-scorer: Maxim Rasseikin – 14 (10 goals, 4 assists) points
Top goal-scorer: Maxim Rasseikin – 10 goals
Most assists: Kirill Tyutyayev – 9 assists
Top defenseman: Alexander Sevostyanov – 9 (1 goal, 8 assists) points, minus-4
Starting goaltender: Vladimir Galkin – 11 games, 8 wins, Goals Against Average – 1.64, Save Percentage – 0.951 on average per game