In a highly dramatic fourth game of the third round of the 2021/2022 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs, SKA held on for dear life against CSKA in Moscow, earning a crucial 3:2 victory to level the series at 2-2.
In comparison to the previous three games in the series, this time CSKA started with a lot more intensity.
Having come flying out of the blocks, the hosts immediately started applying heavy pressure on our players, shooting from any angle possible. CSKA were gifted a handy powerplay after defenseman Georgy Solyannikov was penalised for hooking the puck out of his own zone, but SKA stood tall to the challenge and protected Lars Johansson effectively.
Towards the end of the first period, SKA did begin to create a few promising chances while trying to wrestle the initiative from the Muscovites.
Our team took that positive momentum into the second stanza and quickly took the lead.
Unmarked on the right faceoff circle, Igor Ozhiganov beat Ivan Fedotov with a rising wrister.
Anton Burdasov subsequently doubled SKA’s money in the 26th minute when hitting the jackpot at the second attempt after pulling clean through. Dominating proceedings, SKA then made it three a mere 70 seconds later, as Mikhail Vorobyov ruthlessly got the better of Fedotov from the doorstep on the powerplay.
However, CSKA aren’t exactly strangers to launching dramatic comebacks. Gradually increasing their intensity, the hosts began to press SKA with intent again, and Vitaly Abramov took advantage of a mistake from our team during a shift change to pull 1-on-1 and slide the puck between Johansson’s pads in the 31st minute.
The remainder of the period saw CSKA continue to apply pressure on SKA. The visiting team dealt with their pressing well, though, protecting Johansson in net and not gifting CSKA many clear opportunities.
Unfortunately, a fired up CSKA halved the deficit to one in the 45th minute.
Pouncing on the puck following a sloppy defensive error Andrei Svetlakov instantly decided to send it towards the net, where the lively Maxim Sorkin was waiting to tap it beyond the stricken Johansson.
Moments later, Zakhar Bardakov really should have reinstated our two-goal advantage, wristing the puck against Fedotov’s pads after escaping the somewhat static CSKA defence.
The closing stages of the third period predictably saw CSKA lay siege to our net. But, with SKA displaying admirable commitment to block a huge total of 23 shots throughout the entire game, the away team bravely held on – even after Fedotov had been pulled for the extra skater.
The fifth match of the series will take place on Sunday in Saint Petersburg. Puck-drop is scheduled for 17:00 local time.
CSKA – SKA – 2:3 (0:0, 1:3, 1:0)
0:1 Ozhiganov (Gusev, Vorobyov), 23.29
0:2 Burdasov (Bardakov), 25.19
0:3 Vorobyov (Gusev, Fantenberg), 26.28 PPG
1:3 Abramov (Nesterov), 30.27
2:3 Sorkin (Svetlakov), 44.54
Goalkeepers: Fedotov – Johansson
Shots: 58 - 41
Shots on target: 17 - 23
Faceoffs: 30 - 23
Blocked shots: 10 - 23
Hits: 15 - 22
Penalty minutes: 4 - 4
Referees: Belyaev, Gofman
Linesmen: Kuchava, Shelyanin
08.04.2022. CSKA Arena, Moscow.