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SKA – Sochi – 5:2

SochiMatch reportSKA - HC Sochi - 291122
HC SKA press-service

In an entertaining battle, SKA proved too powerful for Sochi, claiming a routine 5:2 victory at the Ice Palace in the 2022/2023 KHL regular season.

Sochi caught the eye throughout the maiden 10 minutes of the opening frame. Instead of simply sitting in defence, the determined visitors tried to make life difficult for SKA in the attacking zone, with their in-form third line consisting of Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Dmitry Utkin and Kirill Petkov particularly lively. Zavgorodniy and Utkin had scored a couple of wonderful goals for Sochi in recent games.

However, SKA gradually improved as the period continued.

The breakthrough was made in the 13th minute. 20-year-old Artemiy Pleshkov dealt with a clattering slap shot from distance, but he fell off balance after making the initial save and Marat Khusnutdinov was on hand to tap the loose puck in.

Pleshkov was soon picking the puck out of his net again.

SKA – Sochi – 5:2

Unmarked at the high slot, Dmitrij Jaskin got the better of the inexperienced goaltender with a strong one-timer. Pleshkov – who has regularly been a top performer for Sochi’s youth team Kapitan Stupino in the MHL – was certainly a busy man in the first period, dealing with 18 of the 20 (!) shots he faced.

The manner of proceedings didn’t change in the second.

At times, it felt as though Pleshkov was playing SKA on his own. Eager to impress, the visiting goalkeeper was keeping Sochi in the game single-handedly, pulling off a series of fantastic stops. Incredibly, Pleshkov finished the first two periods with 33 saves on the board!

The only goal which he conceded in the second stanza arrived in the 36th minute. After escaping his marker on the left, Alexander Nikishin carefully lifted his rising wrister over Pleshkov’s extended blocker.

Nine minutes prior to our third marker, Sochi thought that they had netted on the powerplay, but their goal was waved off following a lengthy video review as a consequence of the puck having been deflected in with the glove.

SKA seemed to be in cruise control, but Sochi had a nasty surprise up their sleeves.

Incredibly, the bottom-of-the-league visitors suddenly got back to within one goal in the first four minutes of the third period.

At the blue line, Nikita Zorkin caught Podyapolsky cold with a rasping slap shot, before Timur Khafizov completed a flowing move from the doorstep on the powerplay.

The away team were suddenly competing with visible confidence. Thankfully for us, though, SKA conjured up a well-needed response.

Lurking on his own to the left of the slot, Khusnutdinov connected with a superb pass from Nikita Gusev. Three minutes later, SKA then managed to virtually kill all Sochi hopes of a memorable comeback, as Gusev neatly backhanded over Pleshkov after sharply cutting to a shooting position.

When clean through, Artur Tyanulin wasted a golden opportunity to make it a grandstand finish for Sochi, wristing against Podyapolsky’s left pad.

SKA successfully saw the remaining minutes out to emerge victorious. Even though his team lost, Pleshkov was certainly the stand-out play of the match, tallying a hugely impressive total of 52 saves.

Our players will now prepare to host Severstal Cherepovets in Saint Petersburg on Thursday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.

Match protocol:

SKA – Sochi – 5:2 (2:0, 1:0, 2:2)

Goals:

1:0 Khusnutdinov (Jaskin, Pedan), 12.16

2:0 Jaskin (Gusev, Khusnutdinov), 14.49

3:0 Nikishin (Khairullin, Solyannikov), 35.08

3:1 Zorkin (Feoktistov, Garaev), 40.38

3:2 Khafizov (Feoktistov, Gormley), 43.40 PPG

4:2 Khusnutdinov (Gusev), 48.26

5:2 Gusev (Jaskin), 51.46

Goalkeepers: Podyapolsky – Pleshkov

Shots: 94 – 40

Shots on target: 57 – 20

Faceoffs: 40 – 21

Hits: 17 – 6

Blocked shots: 8 – 10

Penalty minutes: 6 – 4

Referees: Akuzovsky, Soin

Linesmen: Galimov, Kanifadin

29.11.2022. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.

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