In Saint Petersburg, SKA failed to get the better of HC Jokerit Helsinki in a tense battle, losing 1:2 on a penalty shootout in the 2020/2021 KHL regular season.
It was a cautious start to proceedings at the Ice Palace as neither team showed any kind of willingness to take risks. Nevertheless, the heat increased midway through the first period, as a sloppy mistake by Jokerit goalkeeper Anders Lindback gifted SKA the opening goal of the evening.
Under no pressure, Lindback contrived to give up a huge rebound, presenting the puck to the grateful Kirill Marchenko who expertly took advantage of the chance to give SKA the lead.
Nevertheless, Jokerit did begin to create opportunities towards the end of the stanza, with Magnus Hellberg regularly being forced to save powerful slap shots from distance. In the concluding minute of the period, Joonas Kemppainen and Ivan Morozov had glorious chances to double SKA’s money on the counter-attack, however they were both denied by Lindback.
Unfortunately, those misses were later punished in the second stanza, as Jokerit equalised with a little less than four minutes left in the period.
On the counter-attack, Henrik Haapala had enough time to pick his spot, as he lashed an instant attempt under Hellberg. In truth, Jokerit were much the dominant team throughout the second frame, controlling the match with calmness and preventing our players from gaining any momentum.
A trend which continued during the third period.
With the game finely balanced, few opportunities were witnessed, as Jokerit were solid in defence and regularly had chances to trouble Hellberg on the break. After drawing a tripping foul out of Haapala in the 51st minute, our team did have an ideal chance to apply pressure on the Finnish visitors, but the opponents stood tall to the challenge.
Hellberg then kept SKA in the match in the ensuing overtime period as he pulled off a number of flashy saves.
Sadly, in the penalty shootout, Jordan Schroeder, John Norman, Haapala and Jesse Joensuu all hit the jackpot for Jokerit, cancelling out goals from Morozov and Marchenko.
SKA will now prepare to take on Metallurg Magnitogorsk on the road on Thursday. Puck drop is scheduled for 17:00 Moscow time.
SKA - Jokerit - 1:2 SO (1:0, 0:1, 0:0, 0:0 - 0:1)
1:0 Marchenko (Ozhiganov, Ketov), 10.32
1:1 Happala (Maenalanen, Pakarinen), 36.22
1:2 Joensuu, 65.00 SO
Goalkeepers: Hellberg - Lindback
Shots on target: 28 - 27
Faceoffs: 28 - 22
Hits: 17 - 17
Penalty minutes: 4 - 6
Referees: Belyaev, Yudakov
30.11.2020. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.