SKA played their first away game of the new 2015/2016 KHL regular season today against HC Severstal Cherepovets. With injured Ilya Kovalchuk out of action head coach Andrei Nazarov made defenceman Maxim Chudinov captain, and placed Evgeny Artyukhin and Anton Burdasov in the first line with Ilya Kablukov. Ilya Grebennikov made his SKA debut in the third line, and Alexander Barabanov returned to the fourth along with Nikolai Belov.
Having lost to Torpedo at home two days ago a reaction was needed, and immediately SKA set about taking complete control. Jakub Stepanek in Severstal’s net was being worked right away, and three minutes in the first goal arrived. Anton Burdasov twisted around the goal back to the right faceoff circle, and wristed hard beyond the surprised goaltender near post. That gave the team a well needed boost, and Yegor Yakovlev almost made it two with a heavy slapper at the high slot. Two powerplay opportunities then came and went as the puck barely left Severstal’s zone, however some committed blocking from the hosts helped keep the difference only at one. Mikko Koskinen at the other end wasn’t having a lot to do at all, and the home fans were happy to hear the buzzer signalling the end of the frame.
Our players began in the same vein in the second, and Evgeny Dadonov grazed the left post when powering down the wing. That seemed to wake Severstal up though, and the hosts began to cause Mikko Koskinen a number of problems. Home forward Evgeny Mons had a perfect chance to level the score up, but alone on the doorstep he was denied by a stunning reaction glove stop. Severstal had built up steam now, and forced SKA into taking three penalties in a row. Mikko was having to be at his very best to keep our team ahead, and he made an excellent save with his blocker from Igor Skorokhodov’s one timer. Jakub Stepanek didn’t have so much to do between Severstal’s pipes, however he had to display quick reactions to shut down the open Joakim Lindstrom blocker side.
Indeed Joakim came close to a goal again moments into the third, backhanding against the left post with the goaltender beaten all ends up. That miss was almost punished to the full too, as Severstal’s Dmitry Kagarlitsky came so close to making it a tied game. First of all he thrashed off target when skating past the entire SKA defence, and then he was denied by Mikko Koskinen five hole clean through. That proved to be Severstal’s last real chance, as our team finished off the game late on. With a two man advantage captain Maxim Chudinov slapped in first time, and Evgeny Ketov flicked beyond the netminder when powering in from the right. Anton Burdasov became the third to hit the frame of the goal in the final minute, but it mattered little as SKA take away a hugely important 3:0 win away from Cherepovets!
Severstal – SKA – 0:3 (0:1, 0:0, 0:2)
0:1 Burdasov, 02.52
0:2 Chudinov (Yakovlev, Shipachyov), 52.28
0:3 Ketov (Khafizullin, Khokhryakov), 54.01
Goalkeepers: Stepanek – Koskinen
Shots on target: 18 – 31
Penalty minutes: 10 – 6
Faceoffs: 30 – 28
Hits: 15 – 13
Referees: Bulanov, Olenin
31.08.2015. The Cherepovets Ice Palace, Cherepovets. Attendance 5316.