In the third match of the 2017/2018 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs first round series, SKA travelled to Cherepovets to take on HC Severstal with a 2:0 lead. Head coach Oleg Znarok made a couple of changes to the line-up, notably putting Vadim Shipachyov and Jarno Koskiranta in different lines. Mikko Koskinen and Julius Hudacek were the starting goaltenders.
SKA made a positive start in Cherepovets, having a great opportunity to score in the opening stages. Evgeny Ketov found the open Yegor Rykov on the left faceoff circle, but the latter contrived to smack the pipe instead of the net. Our players dominated during the first period, protecting the puck in Severstal's zone and preventing the hosts from having chances on the counterattack.
However, Severstal increased the intensity in the second period. The home team gradually took the initiative, forcing SKA into taking a number of penalties. Mikko Koskinen was a busy man in net, pulling off eight saves in the frame and keeping our team in the match. Patrik Hersley passed up a golden chance for SKA at point blank range, but moments after his miss, Severstal did break the deadlock. Dmitry Kagarlitsky burst clean through, going top shelf on the goalkeeper.
Backed into a corner, SKA had to throw everything at Severstal in the final 20 minutes. Fortunately, our team equalised midway through the third period. Waiting on the crease, Maxim Karpov hammered Nikita Gusev's pass beyond the goalkeeper with a fearsome one timer. SKA were presented with plenty of chances to finish the match in regulation, but Julius Hudacek stood tall to the task for Severstal.
Nevertheless, Jarno Koskiranta tipped Ilya Kovalchuk's shot into the net after eight minutes of overtime, sealing a tense 2:1 victory against Severstal Cherpovets! SKA now lead 3:0 in the KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs first round series.
Severstal - SKA - 1:2 OT (0:0, 1:0, 0:1, 0:1)
1:0 Kagarlitsky, 39.01
1:1 Karpov (Gusev), 49.57
1:2 Koskiranta (Hersley, Kovalchuk), 67.32
Goalkeepers: Hudacek - Koskinen
Shots on target: 23 - 43
Faceoffs: 21 - 49
Hits: 24 - 10
Penalty minutes: 12 - 12
Referees: Belyaev, Oskirko