In a somewhat uneventful match, SKA came up short against HC Traktor Chelyabinsk at home in the 2020/2021 KHL regular season, suffering a narrow 0:1 defeat.
It was a tentative start inside the Ice Palace. With both teams opting for a cautious approach, there were very few opportunities on show during the first period, as the majority of the play was kept alongside the boards. Towards the end of the frame, Traktor did begin to test Yaroslav Askarov with more regularity, with the teenager notably pulling off a tough stop to deny Lukas Sedlak on the crease. At the other end, Anton Burdasov did come close when catching the Traktor defence off-guard during a shift change, lashing a powerful wrister over the crossbar from the left flank.
The manner of proceedings didn’t change in the second stanza.
Unwilling to take any kind of risks, the two sides largely matched each other throughout the second frame, with the two defences not allowing the attackers space. Attempting to increase the pace, SKA did have a handful of promising opportunities, with Igor Ozhiganov, Anton Burdasov and Viktor Antipin all failing to hit the jackpot when in excellent positions. At the other end, young Traktor forward Vitaly Kravtsov was proving dangerous on the counter, as he forced Askarov into several difficult saves from the high slot.
In such closed games, one goal usually decides the outcome, and sadly that was the case today as Traktor registered the only marker of the match in the 53rd minute. Receiving the puck after a faceoff draw, Tomas Hyka caught Askarov off guard, beating the 18-year-old goaltender with a powerful, low attempt which sneaked between the pads.
In the closing minutes, SKA pressed hard with Askarov having been pulled for the extra skater, but Ivan Fedotov stood tall to the challenge to see Traktor through to a 1:0 victory.
SKA will now prepare to face Amur Khabarovsk in Saint Petersburg on Sunday. Puck drop is scheduled for 17:30 local time.
SKA - Traktor - 0:1 (0:0, 0:0, 0:1)
0:1 Hyka (Sedlak), 52.24
Goalkeepers: Askarov - Fedotov
Shots on target: 26 - 22
Faceoffs: 25 - 23
Hits: 16 - 17
Penalty minutes: 2 - 2
Referees: Naumov, Shchenyov
18.11.2020. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.