In Balashikha, SKA failed to finish this particular 2018/2019 KHL regular season on a positive note, falling 0:2 to HC Avangard Omsk.
For long periods, our players couldn't trouble the sturdy opposing defence, and goalkeeper Magnus Hellberg was beaten twice in a disappointing defeat.
Initially, SKA failed to use a long five minute powerplay after Avangard defenseman Nikita Pivtsakin was dished a 5+20 penalty for a rough foul against Dinar Khafizullin, and the hosts then took the lead at equal strength with our former forward Sergei Shirokov hitting the target.
Avangard doubled their money midway through the second as Taylor Beck scored. Unfortunately for SKA, things then went from bad to worse, as forward Alexei Byvaltsev received a match ending injury.
Our players huffed and puffed in the third frame, but Avangard held on to win 2:0. Following the upcoming Euro Hockey Tour break, SKA will host Severstal Cherepovets at the Saint Petersburg Ice Palace on February 11.
Avangard - SKA - 2:0 (1:0, 1:0, 0:0)
1:0 Shirokov (Zernov, Mikheev), 16.56
2:0 Beck (Franson, Mikheev), 32.52
Goalkeepers: Bobkov - Hellberg
Shots on target: 24 - 22
Faceoffs: 29 - 25
Hits: 10 - 6
Penalty minutes: 27 - 6
Referees: Ravodin, Gofman