Salavat Yulaev captured the Kontinental League Gagarin Cup, the KHL’s post-season tournament, defeating Atlant Mytishchi 3-2, in Ufa Saturday to win the best-of-seven final 4-1.
Andrei Taratukhin scored in the 8th minute to provide Salavat Yulaev an early lead that would stand through a scoreless second period. In the third period, with Atlant skating with a two-man advantage, Jan Marek struck to tie the score 1-1.
A flurry of scoring began in the 55th minute of action as Salavat Yulaev defenseman Andrei Kuteikin took back the lead for the home team with a power play goal. With the buzz from Kuteikin’s goal just starting to fade within Ufa-Arena, his teammate Alexander Svitov beat Atlant goalkeeper Konstantin Barulin in the 56th minute to open up a 3-1 lead for the home team.
Atlant was not done yet, however, as Alexei Glukhov got in on the action to close the gap to 3-2 in the 57th minute, creating a tense atmosphere within the sold out stadium as game time elapsed and the celebration began.
“Atlant is a very strong, aggressive opponent on both ends of the ice,” said Salavat Yulaev captain Viktor Kozlov amidst the post-game celebration. “I think, truly, we will be aware of our achievement when we wake up tomorrow. The road to the trophy was very difficult.”
In spite of the championship round defeat, Atlant’s Barulin was named most valuable player of the Gagarin Cup in recognition of his role in leading his team on an incredible run through the playoffs. In 22 games, Barulin posted a record of 13-9, allowing a total of 44 goals.
This was the first Gagarin Cup, named for famed Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, for Salavat Yulaev, with Ak Bars Kazan caputuring the first two.