Atlant defeated Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3-1 today in Mytishchi to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven-games Kontinental League Gagarin Cup Western Conference final Saturday.
After losing the first two games on home ice, Lokomotiv entered today’s game hoping for a reversal of fortune. However, Altant ended up benefitting from a physical first period of play, establishing a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission courtesy of power play goals by Jan Bulis (5th minute) and Vadim Khomitsky (18th minute).
Atlant’s third goal was a bit of a fluke. Facing a two goal deficit and hoping to spark the offense, upon a penalty being signaled in the 31st minute Lokomotiv goaltender Alexander Vyukhin left the ice in favor of an extra skater, but forward Gennady Churilov mishandled the puck, resulting in an own goal being scored. The goal was ultimately credited to Atlant netminder Konstantin Barulin, the first by a goaltender in the KHL this season.
Commenting on Atlant’s 3-0 series lead over Lokomotiv and his team's success thus far in the Gagarin Cup, Barulin said: “We’re the dark horse, although for several years in Mytishchi we’ve had a good team with a good budget. Before the season, nobody here expected the Gagarin Cup, but it is something every hockey player wants to gain in his career. We made a big step forward by beating SKA, and don’t want to give up now.”
Pavol Demitra scored Lokomotiv’s lone goal in the 41st minute of action.
The KHL Gagarin Cup continues tomorrow with the third game of the Salavat Yulaev-Metallurg Magnitogorsk Eastern Conference final in Magnitogorsk. Atlant and Lokomotiv return to action on Tuesday, March 29.