In a tense, gritty battle against HC Avtomobilist, SKA got back to winning ways in the 2020/2021 KHL regular season, picking up a hugely important 3:1 victory in Yekaterinburg.
Avtomobilist came out with all guns blazing inside the Uralets Arena. Backed by loud support, the hosts were the quickest out of the blocks, testing our defence with aggressive play. Unfortunately, with a mere seven minutes on the clock, Avtomobilist did make the breakthrough as Pavel Datsyuk beat Magnus Hellberg blocker side with a whipped wrister.
Nevertheless, as the first period neared its conclusion, SKA did gradually take the initiative. As the visiting team began to apply pressure on Avtomobilist, home goalkeeper Jakub Kovar had to make a series of tough stops to deny Vasily Podkolzin, Oscar Fantenberg, Joonas Kemppainen and Lukas Bengtsson.
SKA did, however, break through in the second period with two powerplay goals in quick succession.
Alone on the right faceoff circle, Anton Burdasov lashed the puck into the gaping right corner, before Ivan Morozov subsequently gave SKA their first advantage of proceedings when completing a flowing play. Sadly for Avtomobilist, Kovar had to be pulled in favour of Vladislav Gross after Burdasov’s goal, with the experienced 32-year-old Czech goalkeeper having received an injury when trying to save the shot.
Dominating the match with assured, slick play, SKA tallied their deserved third goal towards the end of the stanza, as 19-year-old forward Maxim Groshev neatly lifted the puck over Gross with the backhand when clean through after Igor Ozhiganov and Podkolzin put together a neat passing play. It was his maiden goal for the first SKA team.
SKA had Avtomobilist exactly where they wanted them. In control of the match, our players refused to allow the Ural side to get back in the match during the ensuing third period, keeping them at bay with calm, professional play. As the frame progressed, two avoidable penalties taken by Podkolzin and Bengtsson did give Avtomobilist a glimmer of hope, but solid saves by the impressive Hellberg saw SKA through to a vital triumph!
Our team will now prepare to face Vityaz in Podolsk on Thursday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
Avtomobilist - SKA - 1:3 (1:0, 0:3, 0:0)
1:0 Datsyuk (Golyshev, Genoway), 07.16
1:1 Burdasov (Morozov, Bengtsson), 26.02
1:2 Morozov (Burdasov, Kuzmenko), 32.09
1:3 Groshev (Ozhiganov, Podkolzin), 37.46
Goalkeepers: Kovar/Gross - Hellberg
Shots on target: 19 - 29
Faceoffs: 26 - 32
Hits: 17 - 10
Penalty minutes: 8 - 6
Referees: Belov, Oskirko
19.01.2021. Uralets Arena, Yekaterinburg.