Avangard goes into Eastern final

Press conference with head coaches Ilya Vorobyov and Bob Hartley, as well as with players Yegor Yakovlev and Sergei Tolchinskii

PRESS CONFERENCE

Ilya Vorobyov, Metallurg head coach:

– We got two goals in 15 seconds and it knocked us down. We didn't capitalize on the power play and got the second goal from ourselves. It put us off the stride. As for the series, the face-offs decided a lot, the opponent blocked many shots. Where we found the way to the net and scored goals, everything was good. Where we didn't, it was poor.

– What can you say about the season as a whole?

– We've come one more round than we have in the last two years. But I wanted more, of course.

– Are you surprised that Mozyakin is the top scorer in the playoffs? And what do you think about continuing his career?

– These questions are for him, not for me. We prepared him for the playoffs, gave him a rest at the end of the regular season. He worked with a fitness trainer personally. Then in the first series,, we gave him a rest, too. But in the second we could not afford it.

– Today you had a lot of chances but didn't score. Why?

– Avangard blocked a lot. We always came up with something, in some games it worked out. And we extended the series, but it was not enough. After each game, we changed something: attack or power play.

– Can this team win the Cup?

– I believe in my guys. But while everything is very fresh, we need to analyze it.

– How did you plan to start the game today: defensively or attacking?

– We are not a team that sits back on heels.

Bob Hartley, Avangard head coach:

– A big victory for us, an important away game. I liked the way we started today, good movement. We could have scored three or four goals in the first 10 minutes and decided everything. The opponent scored, tied the score. But we were a team, it didn't break us. The three periods today took life on their own. In the second period, we scored at even strength, in the power play, and in the shorthanded play. With such an advantage, it is easy to keep the victory. Today we played according to our aim, in a disciplined manner. We put a point in the third period. Great win!

– Which game did you like the most in the series?

– Every win in the playoffs is important. I liked how we showed character in the away matches. I would note all four wins. In the playoffs, they are your chance to go further. Two big wins on the road. It doesn't matter if you lost 1-7 or 1-2 in overtime. I kept full confidence in the team, we talked and everything got better. There are no good or bad defeats. We have rehabilitated ourselves and won four important victories in the series.

– The 1-7 defeat played to Avangard. Your team became angrier, didn't it?

– It was a good kick in the back for us. We started working even harder. It was a game where we weren't a team. Everything was falling out of our hands. I would like to note that Metallurg is a good opponent, and only three points separated us at the end of the regular season. We knew there would be a battle.

– How is Stas's condition and what do you say about Pashinin's hit against Pokka in the end?

– Stas feels fine. There is no time to talk about Pashnin's hit against Pokka now.

– Ak Bars wins the series 8-0. How do you rate your chances in the East final?

– We need to win four games. If I didn't believe in my team, I wouldn't be their coach.

***

Yegor Yakovlev, Metallurg defender:

– In general, it was a good battle series. Everything was possible, but the little things, the nuances decided its outcome. Avangard was stronger, this is the result at the moment.

– Did the injury prevent you from playing at your ceiling level?

– Of course, one can not deceive nature. The doctors tried, did everything possible to heal the injuries as soon as possible. As it is, so it is. Of course, I went out a little too early, but it was necessary. I didn't play for a long time. It rings the bell. The game practice just went away. It's not the first time when I play with injuries – this is the playoffs.

– What nuances decided the outcome of the series?

– There were a lot of different little things. Somewhere we played impatiently, ran into the attack, wanted to tie, to come back. That is why we made mistakes. In some games we had a good power play, in others we failed it. In the playoffs, these things are very important.

– Will you continue to go with this roster?

– We have a great, talented team. This team is able to do a lot. Everything was decided by the nuances. If we compare it a to last year, the team has changed a lot. We have made a step forward. But in a year nothing changes dramatically. We need to move on with this backbone, and there will be a result.

– Those who missed the first goal, lost the game in this series. Why?

– It might be the psychological aspect. Or a coincidence. It is difficult to immediately answer this question, an unusual nuance, of course.

Sergey Tolchinskii, Avangard:

– It's great that we won. We closed the series in six games. We will rest for a couple of days and prepare further.

– Why did the series turn out to be uneven in results?

– Perhaps, in the first game, we were a bit unprepared for the opponent's speed. Metallurg has good physical condition. There are a lot of healthy players who play physically. After the third game, we relaxed a little, and the opponent increased the pace. Then we did not make such mistakes.

– How did the 1-7 defeat affect the series?

– We realized that we came out relaxed, gave the initiative to the opponent in the first period. But we analyzed the mistakes and did not repeat them in the next games. We played from the very first minutes.

– When did you realize that you won the series?

– I drove these thoughts away till the last second, so as not to jinx it. It became clear exactly when Mikhail Pashnin got a penalty in five minutes before the end. We played in a power play in order not to risk but kill two minutes. And when Emelin scored, everything became clear.

– Can you pass Ak Bars with such tactics?

– We are confident in our abilities, we will give our best in every game.

– Is Okulov your only competitor in the goalscoring race at the moment? Is it important?

– It is only important that the more I score and give, the easier it will be for the team to win. But the personal achievements are not in the first place. I didn't score any points in three games but the team won. This is more important in the playoffs. It will be difficult further, a serious opponent is waiting for us. We are ready! Let's heal the sores and get ready to play our game.

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