Ak Bars Kazan won the inaugural KHL Gagarin Cup Sunday with a 1-0 win over Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in Game 7 of the KHL’s championship final.
The game was tight and well-played throughout with both teams having several chances to score. A mixture of luck – good or bad, depending on one’s perspective – and strong goaltending kept the game scoreless through the first 50 minutes.
In the 51st minute, Ak Bars defender Andrei Pervyshin unleashed a slap shot from the blueline that Lokomotiv goalie Georgy Gelashvili was able to block, but Pervyshin’s teammate Alexei Morozov, the KHL Gagarin Cup’s top scorer with eight goals and 19 points, poked the rebound past Gelashvili.
Ak Bars celebration was delayed however, as Lokomotiv challenged the goal. After further review, the score was allowed and Ak Bars had a 1-0 lead with nine minutes of hockey between themselves and the title.
Lokomotiv exerted a significant amount of pressure on Ak Bars for the remainder of the game, but despite several opportunities were unable to convert any scoring chances.
When the final horn sounded, Ak Bars was able to celebrate on their home ice as the first KHL Champions and, on the 48th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic space mission, take possession of the KHL Gagarin Cup.