In a memorable encounter, SKA completed a dramatic three-goal comeback against Kunlun Red Star on the road in Mytishchi in the 2022/2023 KHL regular season, claiming a pulsating 4:3 victory after a tense penalty shootout.
The highlight of a somewhat dull first period was a lengthy fight between new signing Nikita Zorkin and Kunlun defenseman Ryan Sproul.
In truth, the two teams were competing at a really low tempo, barely creating any realistic goalscoring chances being created.
However, the game took an unexpected turn in what was a shocking second stanza for SKA.
Tyler Wong opened the scoring in the 22nd minute for Kunlun, pouncing on the rebound to turn the puck home. Buoyed by that goal, the Chinese hosts went on to double their lead seven minutes later, as Zesen Zhang took full advantage of another big rebound on the slot.
Matters soon went from bad to worse for SKA.
Wong grabbed his second on the powerplay in the 32nd minute, lashing the puck past the hapless Vladislav Podyapolsky from the left faceoff circle. That goal predictably resulted in SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg pulling a rather forlorn Podyapolsky in favour of Dmitry Nikolaev.
That decision proved to be the turning point.
Dmitrij Jaskin got SKA on the board in the second minute of the third period on the powerplay, successfully connecting with Vasily Glotov’s clever pass. All of a sudden, our players were competing firmly on the front foot, applying heavy pressure on a visibly tiring Kunlun side and testing Murygin from any angle possible.
Our second marker arrived in the 51st minute. Following a sloppy Kunlun defensive error, Glotov sent the puck across the slot towards the unmarked Damir Zhafyarov, who duly tapped it in from point-blank range.
There was no stopping SKA now. With three minutes remaining in regulation, our coaches were immediately rewarded for their bold decision to swap Nikolaev for the extra skater.
Alone to the right of the slot, Zhafyarov carefully aimed his effort beyond Murygin after being brilliantly picked out by Nikita Gusev.
Both teams passed up promising chances in the ensuing overtime period. To our delight, SKA subsequently produced the goods in the shootout, as Marat Khairullin and Jaskin hit the jackpot and Nikolaev expertly stopped four of the five Kunlun attempts.
SKA will now prepare to face Dynamo in Moscow on Tuesday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
Kunlun Red Star – SKA – 3:4 SO (0:0, 3:0, 0:3, 0:0, 0:1)
1:0 Wong (Kane), 21.40
2:0 Zhang (Wong, Sproul), 29.44
3:0 Wong (Yip, Jurco), 31.39 PPG
3:1 Jaskin (Glotov, Nikishin), 41.41 PPG
3:2 Zhafyarov (Glotov), 50.05
3:3 Zhafyarov (Gusev, Khairullin), 57.16
3:4 Jaskin, 65.00 SO
Goalkeepers: Murygin – Podyapolsky/Nikolaev
Shots: 43 – 99
Shots on target: 27 – 54
Faceoffs: 24 – 35
Hits: 16 – 12
Blocked shots: 23 – 10
Penalty minutes: 15 – 15
Referees: Lavrentyev, Ovchinnikov
Linesmen: Kolyasnikov, Streltsov
04.12.2022. Arena Mytishchi, Mytishchi.