In Saint Petersburg, SKA produced a memorable performance to defeat HC Avangard Omsk, emerging victorious by a score of 5:2 in the 2020/2021 KHL regular season.
It was the start of nightmares for SKA. Inside just 12 seconds of the opening faceoff, Evgeny Ketov took a 5+20 penalty for a heavy hit against Avangard defenseman Alexei Emelin, in turn gifting the visitors an ideal opportunity to immediately take the initiative. Competing at a seriously intense tempo, Avangard did promptly create several chances from dangerous positions, however Mikhail Berdin came to SKA’s rescue with alert stops.
Incredibly, in the 14th minute, Emelin was sent off himself with a 5+20 call after he was guilty of kneeing against Evgeny Timkin. Nevertheless, similarly to Avangard, SKA also couldn’t capitalize on the chance as our players failed to create a lot of clear shooting lanes. In fact, Kirill Semyonov came closest to a goal shorthanded for Avangard, as he was twice denied by the in-form Berdin when clean through.
Furthermore, SKA had been awarded a penalty shot earlier in the period after Emelin was found guilty of high sticking and hooking at the same time, but Linden Vey wristed the puck directly into Igor Bobkov’s right pad.
The goals eventually came thick and fast during the second half of what was a pulsating second stanza.
Nail Yakupov, who previously played for SKA before the current campaign, batted the flying puck over the line after Berdin had made fantastic saves at point blank range. It didn’t take long for SKA to get back on level terms, though, as the unmarked Emil Galimov tapped his attempt into the gaping right corner after the Avangard defence had lost track of his movement.
However, with the game having sharply opened up, Avangard immediately grabbed their second lead of the day as Damir Sharipzyanov calmly slid his shot under Berdin’s left pad when alone on the left wing. As the period approached its climax, it appeared that Avangard would have a slender advantage ahead of the third stanza, however SKA had other ideas as Anton Burdasov thundered a one timer into the net from the right faceoff circle on the powerplay.
The duel’s decisive moment arrived in the second minute of the third period.
Trying his luck from a tight angle, Galimov caught Bobkov cold in the Avangard net, as the goalkeeper contrived to inadvertently take the puck into his own goal.
Playing with something to cling on to, SKA naturally focused on defence for the majority of the stanza, protecting Berdin to good effect. With a little more than four minutes remaining, Galimov sealed his hat trick on the counter, sharply pulling to the crease and wonderfully slotting the puck in after beating Bobkov with an intelligent move.
In the closing moments, Avangard head coach Bob Hartley made the decision to pull Bobkov for the extra skater, however that only resulted in Kirill Marchenko rolling the puck into the empty net to complete the crucial victory. Vey dished out his fourth assist of the day for Marchenko’s marker.
SKA will now prepare to host Kunlun Red Star Beijing at the Ice Palace on Wednesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Avangard - 5:2 (0:0, 2:2, 3:0)
0:1 Yakupov (Zernov, Pokka), 30.53
1:1 Galimov (Tokranov, Marchenko), 31.18
1:2 Sharipzyanov (Tolchinsky, Pokka), 32.07
2:2 Burdasov (Vey, Bengtsson), 39.16
3:2 Galimov (Marchenko, Vey), 41.23
4:2 Galimov (Vey, Antipin), 55.48
5:2 Marchenko (Vey, Tokranov), 58.01
Goalkeepers: Berdin - Bobkov
Shots on target: 31 - 34
Faceoffs: 31 - 32
Hits: 24 - 26
Penalty minutes: 27 - 29
Referees: Belyaev, Kulakov
26.10.2020. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.