In a highly eventful battle, SKA powered past Avangard Omsk at home in the third match of the 2022/2023 KHL regular season, earning a confident 4:1 triumph.
Initially, Avangard had come flying out of the blocks in the first period.
The visitors immediately took the initiative at the Ice Palace. Causing our team big problems with their pace and quick transition plays, Avangard made life difficult for Dmitry Nikolaev throughout the opening frame, taking aim from any angle and forcing our goaltender into nine saves. His best stops saw the solid 22-year-old save Vladimir Tkachyov’s one-timer with his mask and a deflected puck with his glove at point-blank range.
The fact that two penalties were taken didn’t make SKA’s task any easier. In the concluding minutes of the period, Avangard also took a penalty, but our players couldn’t create any realistic chances on the ensuing powerplay.
Avangard continued pressing the home team in the first half of the second stanza.
In truth, only Nikolaev was keeping the score level, pulling off a series of hugely impressive saves at point-blank range with Avangard particularly threatening on the powerplay. One slap shot from the right faceoff circle also appeared to strike the crossbar.
SKA were struggling to generate any notable attacking traction. However, the game turned on its head in the 27th minute when Avangard took two penalties in quick succession.
That ensuing 5-on-3 powerplay was used by our team.
Between the circles, Marat Khairullin gathered the puck following a goalmouth scramble before emphatically thumping it into the right corner.
It was a goal which gave SKA liftoff and knocked the stuffing out of a previously on-top Avangard side.
SKA doubled their money on another powerplay in the 35th minute. After a faceoff draw, the puck dropped at the stick of the lively Mikhail Vorobyov, who gave away goaltender Stanislav Galimov no chance with his unstoppable one-timer.
Our third goal arrived a matter of 26 seconds later. And it was a real beauty too.
Behind the Avangard net, Damir Zhafyarov fooled the entire Avangard team with a stunning no-look pass, and the unmarked Khairullin was on hand to give the play the finish it richly deserved.
At the start of the third period, Avangard were gifted a 5-on-3 powerplay of their own, but they couldn’t find a way past Nikolaev and gave up a penalty shot when familiar face Tkachyov hooked against the clean-through Danila Moiseev after he had burst out of the box.
19-year-old Dmitry Buchelnikov stepped up to take the penalty shot for our team. Unfortunately, though, he couldn’t unleash a clean shot on goal, losing control of the puck.
Avangard gave themselves a glimmer of hope with a little under eight minutes to play in the period. At the blue line, Alexei Bereglazov let a cannon go which was just too hot for Nikolaev to handle.
That could have proved to be the turning point, as our forward Dmitrij Jaskin contrived to commit an avoidable cross-checking foul in the subsequent play. To our delight, Nikolaev stood tall to the challenge for us, in particular display alert reactions to shut the door on Reid Boucher from the right faceoff circle.
Khairullin iced the victory and his hat-trick with a late empty netter after Avangard had pulled Galimov for the extra skater, calmly rolling the puck in unchallenged with 90 seconds left to play in regulation time.
SKA will now prepare to host Dynamo Moscow in Saint Petersburg on Friday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:00 local time.
SKA – Avangard – 4:1 (0:0, 3:0, 1:1)
1:0 Khairullin (Ozhiganov), 26.19 PPG
2:0 Vorobyov (Fyodorov, Nikishin), 34.28 PPG
3:0 Khairullin (Zhafyarov, Pedan), 34.54
3:1 Bereglazov (Bryukvin, Sharipzyanov), 52.13
4:1 Khairullin (Bardakov), 58.30 EN
Goalkeepers: Nikolaev – Galimov
Shots: 60 – 69
Shots on target: 24 – 34
Faceoffs: 38 – 27
Blocked shots: 15 – 24
Hits: 13 – 10
Penalty minutes: 14 – 15
Referees: Akuzovsky, Birin
Linesmen: Kuchava, Novikov
07.09.2022. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.