In Cherepovets, SKA took on HC Severstal for the fourth match in the 2017/2018 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs first round series. Head coach Oleg Znarok decided to make more changes to the roster, bringing Yegor Yakovlev and Sergei Shirokov back into the line-up. Mikko Koskinen and Julius Hudacek were the starting goaltenders.
Immediately, our players took the initiative in their hands during the first period. Maxim Karpov had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring, but he contrived to completely miss the target at point blank range. Nevertheless, midway through the frame, SKA eventually struck. Pavel Datsyuk's brilliant pass found the open Nikita Gusev on the doorstep, who sent a one timer beyond Julius Hudacek. SKA dominated the period, outshooting Severstal 14-6.
In control of proceedings, SKA continued creating chances in Cherepovets. However, as time rolled on, Severstal increased their intensity and drew a timely penalty out of Jarno Koskiranta. Alexander Bumagin went close for the home team on the ensuing powerplay, firing a strong slap shot which an alert Mikko Koskinen managed to stop. The next goal was always going to be vital, and it was SKA who scored it. Sergei Shirokov burst past the Severstal defence, cut to the backhand and beat Julius Hudacek with aplomb.
The action became tense in the third period, when Matej Stransky had a goal ruled off for Severstal after the hosts were caught with six skaters on the ice. Anton Belov then contrived to earn a 5+20 penalty late on, gifting the opponents a chance to really put the pressure on. Mikko Koskinen was a busy man, but in the dying moments, Severstal's Matej Stransky also took a game misconduct penalty to practically end the match as a contest.
Mikko Koskinen kept his shutout intact, in turn seeing SKA through to a 2:0 victory in Cherepovets and a 4:0 overall KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs first round series triumph against HC Severstal!
Severstal - SKA - 0:2 (0:1, 0:1, 0:0)
0:1 Gusev (Datsyuk), 09.10
0:2 Shirokov (Belov, Plotnikov), 31.33
Goalkeepers: Hudacek - Koskinen
Shots on target: 22 - 28
Faceoffs: 24 - 28
Hits: 16 - 4
Penalty minutes: 55 - 33
Referees: Belyaev, Oskirko