SKA completed this KHL road trip with a match against HC CSKA in Moscow. Following the 6:1 triumph in Latvia, head coach Oleg Znarok didn’t make any major changes to the squad, keeping Evgeny Ketov, Viktor Tikhonov and Nikolai Prokhorkin in the fourth line together. Igor Shestyorkin and Ilya Sorokin were the starting goalkeepers.
Fired up for this top of the table clash, SKA made a strong start in the Russian capital. An early powerplay gifted us the perfect opportunity to make it count – charging down to the doorstep, Anton Belov gave a perfect play the finish it deserved. Naturally, that woke CSKA out of their slumber. Slowly, the hosts began to take the initiative, pinning our players in their own zone. Unfortunately, it ended with the Muscovites equalising – on a powerplay of their own, Kirill Petrov fired powerfully into the far-left corner. SKA still could have gone to the first break with a lead though, but Maxim Chudinov’s clattering one timer struck the goal frame.
After what was a reasonably calm opening period, the match burst into life in the second. Both teams had five on three powerplays, however, amazingly, neither could take advantage. SKA came the closest, smashing the woodwork twice through Ilya Kovalchuk and Anton Belov. Holding the momentum, SKA were creating the majority of chances in CSKA’s zone, forcing Ilya Sorokin into some alert saves. Nevertheless, CSKA weren’t sitting back either – Igor Shestyorkin pulled off the save of the match, making a stunning point blank range stop. That save proved crucial too – with the period coming to a close, Nikita Gusev made full use of another powerplay, wristing top shelf.
Sadly, that goal was promptly cancelled out – Igor Shestyorkin lost sight of the puck, Maxim Mamin twisted sharply to the crease and tucked the it in. All tied up, it was set to be a thrilling climax. Just like earlier on, SKA were boasting the majority of the possession, preventing the hosts from having any extended plays in our zone. Ilya Sorokin kept his team in it, saving nine shots in the period.
The main drama was waiting for us in overtime. After a powerplay expired, CSKA batted the puck over the line, but after Oleg Znarok used his coach’s challenge, it was waved off for offside! Gifted a lifeline, SKA almost won it with three seconds to go - Vyacheslav Voynov’s goalbound effort clipped off the pipe.
In the shootout, SKA finally sent their opponents down. Nikita Gusev scored, and with Igor Shestyorkin stopping all three CSKA attempts, SKA managed to grab a priceless 3:2 triumph against CSKA!
CSKA – SKA – 2:3 SO (1:1, 0:1, 1:0, 0:0 – 0:1)
0:1 Belov (Dadonov, Shipachyov), 05.36
1:1 Petrov (Telegin, Popov), 12.57
1:2 Gusev (Shipachyov), 39.37
2:2 Mamin (Naumenkov, Denisov), 45.55
2:3 Gusev, 65.00 SO
Goalkeepers: Sorokin – Shestyorkin
Shots on target: 27 – 32
Penalty minutes: 18 – 14
Faceoffs: 29 – 33
Hits: 24 – 39
Referees: Buturlin, Ravodin
09.01.2017. LDS CSKA, Moscow.