In a tense battle, SKA came up short against Severstal Cherepovets at the Ice Palace, conceding a narrow 1:3 defeat in the 2021/2022 KHL regular season.
Severstal started with plenty of energy. Full of confidence after tallying at least one point in their past 17 consecutive games, the Cherepovets-based outfit immediately took the match to SKA, creating chances at will. Lars Johansson pulled off a tough save at point-blank range in the opening shifts, outstretching his right pad to deny the lively Adam Liska.
When completely clean through, 19-year-old forward Nikita Guslistov should have opened the scoring for Severstal, backhanding wide with Johansson seemingly beaten.
Severstal did make the breakthrough in the 15th minute. After connecting with a pinpoint from Robert Press, Slovak forward Liska pulled to a shooting position on the left flank and caught Johansson cold with a snappy wrister.
SKA barely created any major opportunities with Severstal on the front foot.
However, our players made an improvement in the second period, applying pressure on Severstal and creating promising chances inside the attacking zone. 1-on-1, Danila Moiseev, wasted an excellent opportunity, shooting against Vladislav Podyapolsky’s glove when trying to shoot high over the goaltender.
Shorthanded, Moiseev missed another golden chance, as Podyapolsky made a difficult save to keep the former off the board.
Severstal doubled their money seconds later on that powerplay in the 35th minute. Alone at the blue line, Ilya Khokhlov tried his luck, and the puck flew over Johansson’s glove with our goalkeeper completely unsighted.
Our players had to throw everything at Severstal in the ensuing third period.
Finally, in the 52nd minute, Nikita Gusev halved the deficit after two powerplays in quick succession had been wasted. Powering towards the crease on the right wing, he unleashed a sharp wrist shot, and the puck snuck under Podyapolsky’s glove.
To their credit, though, Severstal managed to keep our team during the closing stages, barely allowing the hosts to have any big chances. With two minutes remaining, SKA head coach Valeri Bragin made the call to swap Johansson for the extra skater, but that only resulted in Andrei Alexeev hitting the empty net to seal the deal for Severstal.
SKA will now prepare to host Dinamo Minsk in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Severstal - 1:3 (0:1, 0:1, 1:1)
0:1 Liska (Press), 14.20
0:2 Khokhlov (Press, Nattinen), 34.26
1:2 Gusev (Kamalov, Falkovsky), 51.43
1:3 Alexeev (Dumbadze), 58.56
Goalkeepers: Johansson - Podyapolsky
Shots on target: 32 - 19
Faceoffs: 17 - 29
Hits: 15 - 10
Blocked shots: 10 - 10
Penalty minutes: 4 - 6
Referees: Ansons, Belov
29.11.2021. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.