SKA travelled to Belarus for the final KHL match of 2017. Today's opponents were HC Dinamo Minsk. Head coach Oleg Znarok kept Igor Shestyorkin between the pipes, while Nikolai Prokhorkin returned to the team. Jonas Enroth was Dinamo Minsk's starting goaltender.
Our players made a strong start in Minsk, opening the scoring within three minutes. Patrick Thoresen found the lurking Yegor Yakovlev at the blue line, with the latter sending a one timer beyond the scrambling Jonas Enroth. In control of proceedings, SKA went on to dominate the first period. Nikolai Prokhorkin came close to doubling the advantage, failing to beat the goalkeeper when 1 on 1.
Unfortunately, Dinamo Minsk emerged a different team for the second frame. Marc-Andre Gragnani equalised for the hosts, lashing in a slapper at the point. Holding the momentum, Dinamo scored again when Jack Skille completed a flowing move on the powerplay. Evgeny Kovyshin made it 3:1 seconds later, before Justin Fontaine netted clean through shorthanded. That prompted Oleg Znarok into making a change, replacing Igor Shestyorkin in goal with Mikko Koskinen. The substitution had a positive effect, as Sergei Shirokov swept a loose puck in to make it a two goal game.
Our players threw everything at Dinamo Minsk in the third period, registering 14 shots on target. However, despite Jarno Koskiranta smacking the post and Vyacheslav Voynov coming inches away from a third, SKA couldn't make the dominance count. When Mikko Koskinen was twice pulled for the extra skater, Alexander Pavlovich and Quinton Howden both slid the puck into the empty net. Sergei Plotnikov tipped in for a late consolation, but it made little difference. 3:6, SKA drop a defeat to HC Dinamo Minsk.
Dinamo Minsk - SKA - 6:3 (0:1, 4:1, 2:1)
0:1 Yakovlev (Belov, Thoresen), 02.32
1:1 Gragnani (Linglet, Kitarov), 22.36
2:1 Skille (Howden), 23.27
3:1 Kovyrshin (Buynitsky), 23.34
4:1 Fontaine (Osipov, Kitarov), 25.51
4:2 Shirokov (Zub, Rykov), 37.23
5:2 Pavlovich, 57.48
6:2 Howden (Skille), 58.35
6:3 Plotnikov (Gusev), 59.11
Goalkeepers: Enroth - Shestyorkin/Koskinen
Shots on target: 20 - 40
Faceoffs: 23 - 37
Hits: 8 - 11
Referees: Odins, Gofman