If you had asked any hockey fan before today’s game whether HC MVD could score six goals against Lokomotiv in Yaroslavl, there is little chance that they would have answered in the affirmative, even taking into account the Railwaymen’s goaltending problems. Petr Vorobiev had been far from happy with his main keeper Georgy Gelashvili’s form in recent games, but his team still won the second match in Balashikha and so today the Lokomotiv coach once again kept faith him. Gelashvili again gave a muted performance and after five minutes conceded two quick goals, the first of which was entirely his fault.
“I wouldn’t say I did anything special, but I scored all the same,” said Evgeny Fedorov of his opening goal.
“Their second goal was a carbon copy of ones we’ve conceded in the first two matches. I don’t know why we are letting them score goals like these,” said a perplexed Vorobiev, “We show the guys the goals after the games, we work out what to do, but sadly we still follow the puck and leave our opponents unmarked at the back pipe. At the start we had a total collapse, quickly conceding two inexplicable goals, and the team found it difficult to get over the shock. The guys did try, and thank heavens the final score wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”
At the start of the second period Vorobiev took off Gelashvili and on came Aleksandr Lazushin for what was effectively his KHL debut, as his previous appearances, a few minutes against Spartak when Lokomotiv were already leading by huge margins, were hardly baptisms of fire.
“Firstly, I don’t know him,” Vorobiev said, when asked to rate Lazushin, “but I had good reports about his form in the lower league. To be put into a game like this is hard for a guy with no experience in the KHL. And I can’t say I’ve lost all confidence in Gelashvili.”
The Yaroslavl men at first reacted well to the shock of those two early goals. Gennady Churilov hit back with a wonderful goal, and they had chances to equalize but just could not score. Ten minutes later, however, HC MVD’s Yury Babenko restored the status quo, and the former keeper for Yuzhny Ural Orsk had conceded his first KHL goal. But Lokomotiv would not surrender, and when a chance fell to Vitaly Anikeyenko he took it and claimed his first goal since his return from injury.
“I’m still not back to my best, and not 100% match fit,” said Anikeyenko after the games, “With time my game will get better. About the match, we have no right to start like that, we can’t just give them two goals in a row, we have to score, we have to play to the very end and not go to pieces. But it is not a disaster, the main battles are still ahead of us.”
“I’ll be brief, as always,” announced Oleg Znarok, “I congratulate our guys for the victory, it turned out to be a good game and I think the spectators loved it.”
“All the same, you let in four goals – quite a lot. Do you have any complaints about the team?”
“Yes, of course. There are always things which are not good enough, even during a win.”
Having scored a double, Fedorov was surprised his team managed to score six against the hosts.
“We got two very quick goals, and after that Lokomotiv were always chasing the game, and we could sit back and counter-attack, but it was hard to play amidst all that uproar. There were so many penalties today, some made sense but some were for nothing.
“And what kind of game plan did you have?”
“Just to stay focused in the opening minutes, because Lokomotiv usually start very strongly on their own ice, and that’s what we did.”