In Saint Petersburg, SKA endured a miserable evening against HC Spartak Moscow, suffering a heavy 1:4 defeat in the 2020/2021 KHL regular season.
Spartak came flying out of the blocks. Within 50 seconds, Artyom Fyodorov opened the scoring for the visitors, lashing a powerful attempt over the blocker of Magnus Hellberg. Not long later, Robin Hanzl had a golden opportunity to double Spartak’s advantage on the counter-attack, but he was denied by a superb save from Hellberg.
SKA prompty punished Spartak for their profligacy.
In the subsequent play, Andrei Kuzmenko pulled clean through, taking aim and beating Julius Hudacek with a low wrister. However, instead of building on that goal, SKA contrived to fall apart in defence throughout the remaining minutes of the opening period of play, conceding a second goal as 2017 KHL Gagarin Cup champion Sergei Shirokov tipped the puck beyond Hellberg. On the powerplay, Spartak then quickly registered their third of the evening, as Maxim Tsyplakov neatly deflected a wrister under Hellberg’s glove. Evgeny Ketov had come close to equalising shorthanded in the preceding play when 1 on 1.
Shirokov appeared to tally the fourth for Spartak at the start of the second period when going top shelf on Hellberg. Nevertheless, after video review, the referees determined that the play was indeed offside. SKA boss Valeri Bragin made the call to pull Hellberg in favour of Mikhail Berdin regardless of the decision.
To his credit, Berdin didn’t require any time to settle into proceedings, making a series of wonderful saves at point blank range to keep SKA in with a fighting chance. At the other end, SKA simply couldn’t get anything going against an increasingly confident Spartak side, with the shot count incredibly standing at 7-27 in the visitors’ favour after 40 minutes. Vladimir Tkachyov wasted the best chance for SKA of the second stanza as he whacked a wrist shot wide with only Hudacek to beat.
Sadly, practically all hopes of a comeback were wiped out in the second minute of the third period, as Shirokov expertly batted a flying puck out of the air to deceive Berdin. Firmly in the box seat, Spartak dominated the remainder of the game, comfortably seeing the match out to claim an emphatic 4:1 triumph on the road.
SKA, for their part, will now prepare to face Avangard Omsk at the Ice Palace on Monday. Puck drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Spartak - 1:4 (1:3, 0:0, 0:1)
0:1 Fyodorov (Hanzl, Vishnevsky), 00.50
1:1 Kuzmenko, 06.51
1:2 Shirokov (Vishnevsky, Hanzl), 10.42
1:3 Tsyplakov (Vishnevsky, Fyodorov), 14.58
1:4 Shirokov (Hanzl, Fyodorov), 41.13
Goalkeepers: Hellberg/Berdin - Hudacek
Shots on target: 15 - 43
Faceoffs: 29 - 37
Hits: 23 -19
Penalty minutes: 6 - 2
Referees: Birin, Gofman
22.10.2020. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.