Game three between SKA and HC Metallurg Magnitogorsk took place in Saint Petersburg. Head coach Oleg Znarok changed the team around for this match, sticking Mikko Koskinen in net instead of Igor Shestyorkin. Vasily Koshechkin was Metallurg’s starting goaltender.
In front of a fired-up Ice Palace, SKA began on the front foot. Metallurg were struggling to get out of their own zone, relying heavily on Vasily Koshechkin to keep them in the game. Jarno Koskiranta had SKA’s best chance, failing to score when clean through. Our players drew three penalties out of the visitors during the frame, however, despite outshooting Metallurg 18-3, they couldn’t make their dominance count.
SKA continued piling the pressure on Metallurg, finally making the breakthrough early in the second. Andrei Zubarev found space at neutral ice, drew his stick back and caught Vasily Koshechkin sleeping. Nevertheless, Metallurg responded well to SKA’s goal. Vladislav Kaletnik smashed the pipe, and Mikko Koskinen made eleven tough saves in the period. Unfortunately, with just six seconds remaining, they got on terms. Denis Kazionov scored it, sweeping into the gaping net after a pacey Metallurg counterattack.
With so much at stake, both teams shut up shop in the third period. Barely any chances were witnessed, as neither set of players were willing to take any risks. It took until the dying moments for any openings to be carved out, and SKA should really have finished it. Alexander Barabanov had a golden chance on the doorstep, but he could only screw his effort inches past the right post.
Overtime couldn’t be avoided. Despite tiredness becoming ever apparent, the clubs powered forward searching for that all important winner. Oskar Osala and Sergei Mozyakin both missed guilt edged opportunities when 1 on 1, while a few huge Patrik Hersley slap shots caused mayhem on the Metallurg slot. The Magnitogorsk outfit earned a late powerplay in the first extra period, but our players expertly kept them at bay.
After surviving a second Metallurg powerplay in the fifth period, SKA finally put a marathon game to bed. Nikita Gusev displayed silky skills, teed up Evgeny Dadonov and the latter clinically lashed beyond the despairing Vasily Koshechkin. 2:1, SKA grab a dramatic victory to go ahead by the same score in the KHL Gagarin Cup final!
SKA – Metallurg Magnitogorsk – 2:1 OT (0:0, 1:1, 0:0, 0:0, 1:0)
1:0 Zubarev (Zub, Shirokov), 24.54
1:1 Den. Kazionov (Lee, Kalentik), 39.54
2:1 Dadonov (Shipachyov, Gusev), 92.54
Goalkeepers: Koskinen – Koshechkin
Shots on target: 60 – 28
Penalty minutes: 12 – 12
Faceoffs: 47 – 29
Hits: 26 – 18
Referees: Buturlin, Olenin
12.04.2017. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.