In Yaroslavl, game three of the KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs second round between HC Lokomotiv and SKA took place. The teams came into today's match with the series score level at 1:1. Head coach Oleg Znarok made a couple of changes, notably giving young defenseman Yegor Rykov a chance in place of Yegor Yakovlev. Mikko Koskinen and Alexander Sudnitsin were the starting goaltenders.
Lokomotiv made a positive start in front of their home fans, seemingly taking the lead on an early powerplay. Jakub Nakladal's heavy slap shot was too hot for Mikko Koskinen to handle, but the SKA bench noticed that the puck had left the rink seconds before it went into the net. Following a long video review, the referees concluded that the goal wasn't scored legally and the score stayed at 0:0.
In a first period littered with fouls and fights, with the teams receiving ten penalty minutes each, Yegor Rykov came closest to a goal with a rasping wrister on the doorstep.
SKA increased the intensity in the second period, slowly starting to create more shooting opportunities in the Lokomotiv zone. Eventually, our pressure was rewarded with a goal. In the final seconds of a powerplay, Ilya Kovalchuk tipped Yegor Rykov's shot beyond the goalkeeper to give SKA an important 1:0 lead.
Matters became much more complicated for SKA in the third period. Sergei Plotnikov was chucked out of the game with a 5+20 penalty for checking to Vladislav Kartaev's head, an incident which threatened to gift Lokomotiv a way back into the match. Nevertheless, SKA defended excellently for those ensuing five minutes, restricting Lokomotiv to slap shots from distance. Ilya Kovalchuk scored a second with a searing wrister in the closing stages, sealing a 2:0 SKA victory! Our team now lead 2:1 in the series.
Lokomotiv - SKA - 0:2 (0:0, 0:1, 0:1)
0:1 Kovalchuk (Rykov, Shipachyov), 35.07
0:2 Kovalchuk (Thoresen), 57.24
Goalkeepers: Sudnitsin - Koskinen
Shots on target: 30 - 36
Faceoffs: 27 - 35
Hits: 23 - 27
Penalty minutes: 14 -37
Referees: Belyaev, Frano