In a pulsating encounter, SKA outlasted HC Amur Khabarovsk in Saint Petersburg, producing a strong powerplay performance to claim a thrilling 5:3 triumph in the 2020/2021 KHL regular season.
In truth, it turned out to be a thoroughly underwhelming first period, as SKA failed to generate any kind of intensity. To their credit, Amur came flying out of the blocks with an aggressive approach, as Alexander Polunin twice went close as he whipped the puck over the crossbar before his low attempt was saved by Magnus Hellberg. Nevertheless, the visitors did eventually register their goal in the ninth minute.
Alone at the doorstep, Vladimir Mikhasyonok had time to pick his spot after receiving a clever pass, and the forward clinically went top shelf on Hellberg. In the box seat, Amur managed to draw three penalties out of SKA in the opening frame, with our players struggling to match their pace.
However, to the relief of the passionate fans inside the Ice Palace, SKA made a major improvement in the second period.
Applying plenty of pressure on Amur, the hosts rapidly began to find more clear shooting lanes, pressing the opposing team with intensity. Eventually, with a little over four minutes remaining in the stanza, SKA got back on level terms as the lively Kirill Marchenko lashed an unstoppable wrister beyond Marek Langhamer on the powerplay. Marchenko’s line with Ivan Morozov and Vasily Podkolzin was the most active as the trio tested Langhamer from any angle possible.
In the closing moments of the frame, Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi should have grabbed SKA’s second, but he could only hack off target with the goal gaping after being found intelligently by Vladimir Tkachyov.
SKA, however, put on a powerplay show in the ensuing third frame to claim victory.
Moments after Ivan Morozov had completed a flowing play on the powerplay at the start of the period, Alexander Gorshkov took advantage of a sloppy defensive slip to bring Amur level, however SKA promptly responded with Vladislav Kamenev bundling the loose puck into the right corner on another man advantage.
Kamenev subsequently tallied his second from point blank range two seconds after a powerplay had ended to put daylight between the teams. Amur, though, were refusing to throw the towel in, and Gorshkov pounced on another poor error at the back in the 50th minute to fire the puck over Hellberg’s blocker.
All of a sudden, a fair share of tension was flying around the stadium, but SKA soon practically put a topsy-turvy game to bed as Joonas Kemppainen provided the finishing touch on the slot to register the team’s fourth powerplay goal.
SKA will now prepare to host Barys on Tuesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Amur - 5:3 (0:1, 1:0, 4:2)
0:1 Mikhasyonok (Pyanov, Kamalov), 08.55
1:1 Marchenko (Morozov), 35.53
2:1 Morozov (Aaltonen, Marchenko), 40.19
2:2 Gorshkov (Ignatovich, Polunin), 41.46
3:2 Kamenev (Burdasov, Ozhiganov), 45.50
4:2 Kamenev (Burdasov, Ozhiganov), 48.15
4:3 Gorshkov, 49.32
5:3 Kemppainen (Bengtsson, Aaltonen), 51.42
Goalkeepers: Hellberg - Langhamer
Shots on target: 44 - 18
Faceoffs: 28 - 30
Hits: 7 - 13
Penalty minutes: 6 - 18
Referees: Bukin, Oskirko
22.11.2020. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.