In a pulsating encounter, SKA outlasted HC Dynamo Moscow in Saint Petersburg, claiming a vital 2:1 overtime victory to move level on points with the opponents in second place of the KHL Western Conference.
With the Ice Palace full, SKA made an aggressive start against Dynamo, as Nail Yakupov and Jarno Koskiranta both fired inches wide from close range. However, out of the blue, veteran Dynamo forward Maxim Afinogenov suddenly found himself clean through and he subsequently beat Magnus Hellberg with a neat move. As the first period progressed, Dynamo gradually began to control the tempo with more authority, and Sergei Plotnikov was then sent off for SKA with a 5+20 penalty in the final second of the frame.
As a result of that foul, Dynamo had a golden opportunity to extend their advantage, but they didn’t help themselves as Juuso Hietanen received a minor penalty and the powerplay chance was gone.
After returning to full strength, SKA managed to create several clear opportunities as the search for an equaliser continued, with Yakupov notably smacking the right post and Anton Belov contriving to fire his effort into the grateful body of Ivan Bocharov when the goal was practically at his mercy. SKA outshot Dynamo 11-7 in the second stanza as Hellberg was rarely tested between the pipes.
The match followed a similar pattern in the third period. SKA were becoming increasingly frustrated, but, with 12 minutes remaining, the hosts finally got back on level terms as Igor Ozhiganov bundled the puck over the line after an almighty goalmouth scramble. Holding the momentum, SKA continued to lay siege to the Dynamo goal, although Hellberg was called into action as Teemu Pulkkinen regularly carved out shooting lanes on the counter.
Dynamo weathered the storm to force overtime. SKA, however, would eventually score the decisive second goal, as Artyom Zub knocked Yakupov’s intelligent pass under Bocharov to clinch a crucial 2:1 victory!
SKA return to action on Tuesday at home to Dinamo Riga. Puck drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Dynamo Moscow - 2:1 OT (0:1, 0:0, 1:0, 1:0)
0:1 Afinogenov (Igumnov), 08.13
1:1 Ozhiganov, 48:58
2:1 Zub (Lehtera, Yakupov), 62:00
Goalkeepers: Hellberg - Bocharov
Shots on target: 40 - 19
Faceoffs: 31 - 22
Hits: 20 - 21
Penalty minutes: 29 - 6
Referees: Gashilov, Oskirko
Linesmen: Bersenyov, Yudin
12.01.2019. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.