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Ak Bars – SKA – 5:2

Ak BarsMatch reportAk Bars - SKA - 171122
HC SKA press-service

In a highly dramatic encounter, SKA couldn’t pick any points up against Ak Bars Kazan away in the 2022/2023 KHL regular season, conceding an avoidable 2:5 defeat.

Alexander Volkov could have opened the scoring in the very first shift for SKA. Unmarked on the right flank, the 25-year-old powered to a shooting position, wristing powerfully against Timur Bilyalov’s pads.

The opening frame was competed at an intense tempo. As the period progressed, Ak Bars began to compete with more urgency in the attacking zone, applying a spell of pressure which ended with the first goal.

After receiving a pass from Ilya Safonov on the counter-attack, Kirill Petrov lashed a firm wrister under Dmitry Nikolaev’s blocker.

Ak Bars were causing our team an increasing amount of problems with their quick counter-attacking approach. Dmitry Voronkov could have doubled their money at point-blank range, but Nikolaev came to the rescue with a tricky right-pad stop.

SKA duly responded well in the second stanza.

Ak Bars – SKA – 5:2

Forcing the issue, our players pressed Ak Bars for the majority of the period, taking aim from any angle possible. From the high slot, Vasily Glotov and Maxim Groshev both came agonisingly close, as they struck the frame of the goal.

Our equaliser eventually arrived in the 33rd minute.

Allowed to skate towards the net from the left wing, Nikita Gusev took aim and beat Bilyalov with the help of the pipe.

Not long later, SKA really should have taken the lead during the first powerplay of the match, but 19-year-old forward Dmitry Buchelnikov failed to connect with two superb Gusev passes with the goal gaping.

Those misses were promptly punished.

Out of the blue, Ak Bars grabbed two goals within two minutes, and they were practically identical with vastly experienced forward Alexander Radulov beating Nikolaev when clean through.

Furthermore, a mere matter of seconds after Radulov’s second, Nikita Komarov complicated matters for SKA when taking a needless 5+20 penalty for kneeing against young Ak Bars defenseman Nikita Evseev at neutral ice.

To their credit, though, SKA bravely killed those ensuing five minutes and struck back in the fifth minute of the third period.

Charging unchallenged to the doorstep, Igor Ozhiganov successfully got on the end of Mikhail Vorobyov’s intelligent pass and poked the puck in.

SKA were starting to generate some much-needed momentum. However, Ak Bars were proving to be threatening on the counter, and they tallied an important fourth marker with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the stanza.

Safonov got the better of the diving Nikolaev with a huge slap shot from the right faceoff circle following a lengthy play inside our zone.

Not long later, Radulov virtually ended proceedings as a contest with his hat-trick on the powerplay, forcing the puck over the line as an almighty goalmouth scramble erupted. SKA did use their coach’s challenge for interference, but the referees – despite Nikolaev being heavily impeded against – didn’t see anything wrong with the goal.

The end of the game was marred by an Ak Bars fan who clambered over the boards and jumped on the ice. He was promptly removed from the rink by security.

SKA will now prepare to face Neftekhimik in Nizhnekamsk on Saturday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 17:00 local time.

Match protocol:

Ak Bars – SKA – 5:2 (1:0, 2:1, 2:1)


1:0 Petrov (Safonov), 15.08

1:1 Gusev (Kamalov, Vorobyov), 32.32

2:1 Radulov (Burmistrov), 37.00

3:1 Radulov (Voronkov), 38.49

3:2 Ozhiganov (Vorobyov, Gusev), 44.58

4:2 Safonov (Yanchevsky), 52.36

5:2 Radulov (Safonov, Voronkov), 55.28 PPG

Goalkeepers: Bilyalov – Nikolaev

Shots: 49 – 64

Shots on target: 26 – 36

Faceoffs: 23 – 34

Hits: 22 – 22

Blocked shots: 18 – 18

Penalty minutes: 13 – 38

Referees: Naumov, Morozov

Linesmen: Sivov, Shishlo

17.11.2022. Tatneft Arena, Kazan, Tatarstan.

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