In a tight, gritty battle, SKA edged past Dinamo Minsk at the Ice Palace in the 2021/2022 KHL regular season, emerging victorious by a score of 2:1.
SKA made the perfect start.
After coming flying out of the blocks, SKA took a quick lead on the powerplay with 122 seconds on the clock, as Emil Galimov completed a flowing play on the doorstep.
Our players continued competing on the front foot throughout the majority of the first period, notably earning two further powerplays which were admittedly wasted. When clean through, Alexander Volkov should have made it two, backhanding wide with only Minsk goaltender Patrik Rybar to beat.
Thanks in large to a powerplay, Dinamo Minsk did start to generate attacking traction towards the end of the period, and our goalkeeper Dmitry Nikolaev pulled off a wonderful point-blank stop after they had created a clear chance on the doorstep.
Dinamo continued to improve in the second stanza.
On top form, Nikolaev was forced into several tricky saves, especially on the powerplay when our team took one penalty at the start of the period after Vladislav Tsitsyura had been penalised for hooking. For SKA’s part, a few chances did appear on the counter, with Anton Burdasov, Danila Moiseev and Nikita Gusev all failing to hit the jackpot with only Rybar in their way.
Minsk did tally their equaliser in the 38th minute. Powering towards the net on the right wing following a SKA mistake in the attacking zone, Mattias Tedenby took aim, and his effort snuck beyond Nikolaev.
The ensuing third period saw both teams opt for a cautious approach with the game on a knife’s edge.
Thankfully for us, a moment of magic from Gusev swung the pendulum our way.
Displaying scintillating skill, our forward burst past his opponents when moving inside the attacking zone, shaped for a trademark wrist shot, and left Rybar clutching at thin air with a pinpoint effort which went in with the help of the pipe.
The remainder of regulation time saw Minsk crash our net with urgency and intensity.
This was Nikolaev’s time to shine. Alert to the danger, our 21-year-old goalkeeper somehow prevented the Belarusians from equalising for a second time, getting the fans to their feet with a series of stunning stops. The left post also came to SKA’s rescue once as a goalmouth scramble erupted.
Despite Tedenby taking a last-gasp hooking penalty, Dinamo Minsk still managed to create great chances in the closing stages, and only Nikolaev’s heroics saw SKA through to a vital triumph.
SKA will now prepare to host Jokerit Helsinki on Friday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Dinamo Minsk - 2:1 (1:0, 0:1, 1:0)
1:0 Galimov (Kuzmenko, Gusev), 02.02
1:1 Tedenby (Beck), 37.19
2:1 Gusev (Moiseev, Falkovsky), 47.18
Goalkeepers: Nikolaev - Rybar
Shots on target: 22 - 24
Faceoffs: 32 - 23
Hits: 10 - 16
Blocked shots: 13 - 9
Penalty minutes: 4 - 8
Referees: Ovchinnikov, Spirin
01.12.2021. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.