Hlinka suffers embarrassment in the Czech derby
Game Recap: Lokomotiv - Avangard

Anton But leads the RSL with 23 points (Photo (c) lokomotiv.yar.ru)  NOV.19 -- Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is the team to beat in the Superleague this season. After trashing Avangard, 5-0, last night Vladimir Vujtek's team broke-away at the top of the standings with a seven point lead over Omsk and Cherepovets clubs.

In 22 games this season Yaroslavl has an impressive record of 17-2-3. But the most impressive fact is how Loko handles its key opponents - teams that may eventually challenge for the Championship.

Zinetula Belyaletdinov's Dinamo was slaughtered 9-3 on its own ice by Vujtek's machine on October 5. Late in same month Yuri Moiseev's Ak Bars wasn't able to compete in back-to-back games against Vujtek. Kazan ended up by being humiliated as well, loosing 0-2 at home and 2-7 in Yaroslavl. Last night it was Ivan Hlinka's turn...

It wasn't that Avangard played poorly... The Hawks tried as well as they could, but Lokomotiv was just too strong.

"We played an awful game defensively - so many turnovers and mistakes! It's like (Lokomotiv players) had a premature visit from Santa Clause," - said Hlinka

Jan Peterek, Yaroslavl's only Czech player, tallied twice to lead Lokomotiv's impressive offense in the contest labeled by Russian media as the Czech derby.

Avangard's third line composed of Andrei Subbotin and Peterek's countrymen Tomas Vlasak and Pavel Patera was by far visitors' best unit. Often teamed up with Jiri Slegr on defence, Patera's line generated most of Avangard's chances. However Loko's puckstopper Egor Podomatsky decided that it was a good occasion to register his league leading fifth shut-out. Salt-Lake City OG bronze medalist managed 23 saves to complete the task.

Martin Prochazka sat for a third game in a row, making room for Slegr who was nowhere near as impressive as in his first game for Avangard.

At 9:00 of the first period Slegr gave the puck away while his team had a man advantage... Peterek broke-away and scored an eventual gave winner. Than Slegr took several bad penalties including one that left his team with two men down in the second period.

Slegr was highly critical of his performance after the game: "The entire team played poorly, while I was just awful out there."

Ivan Hlinka defended his player thought: "I wouldn't blame him alone for defeat. Let's not forget that he hasn't played much this year. He played well his first two games, but he still needs to get used to big ice surface and get in better shape."

Yaroslavl scored twice early n the second period to chase (Avangard's goalie) Alexander Viyukhin out.

At 4:36 Viyukhin left the goal crease, as he went to the boards trying to clear the puck out of zone. He did it poorly, since Pavel Vorobiev knocked the puck down and took a shot at an empty net. Two minutes later Vladimir Samylin added another short-handed goal to extend Lokomotiv's lead.

In the final period Hlinka's man were discouraged, as nothing was working out for them. Meantime the home side added two more goals.

Tampa Bay prospect Anton But added his 12th goal of the season on the power play at 6:41. Ten minutes later Peterek rounded up the scoring with his second of the night. Boston Bruins' draftee Dmitry Utkin got his first RSL point on the play.

-- Max Dostoevsky