In the fifth match of the third round of the 2020/2021 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs, SKA produced a memorable performance against CSKA in Moscow, defeating their opponents 3:2 in the third period of overtime.
CSKA came flying out of the blocks. Immediately competing with pace and power, the hosts made life difficult for our defence, applying heavy pressure on SKA which resulted in an opening goal in the ninth minute.
Following a faceoff draw, the puck dropped at the stick of Maxim Mamin on the slot, who managed to slide the puck under Magnus Hellberg’s glove at the second attempt.
The hosts went on to press SKA throughout the first period. SKA, however, did gradually begin to improve towards the end of the frame, notably earning a powerplay which was wasted. Malte Stromwall came the closest to a marker, as his one-timer was stopped by CSKA goalkeeper Lars Johansson.
SKA were subsequently rewarded for a powerful start to the second stanza.
In the sixth minute of the period, Vasily Podkolzin bundled the puck over the line at point-blank range, before Kirill Marchenko sent an unstoppable backhander over Johansson’s blocker less than three minutes later. Emil Galimov had fired wide when completely clean through between those goals.
Our players had managed to wrestle control of proceedings. Nevertheless, CSKA rapidly increased their intensity as the stanza entered its closing stages, testing Hellberg with several threatening attempts and passing up a chance on the powerplay after the referees had noticed too many SKA skaters on the ice.
CSKA did, unfortunately, get back on level terms in the fifth minute of the third period.
Given far too much space, Canadian forward Brendan Leipsic brought the home crowd to their feet for the second time in the match, as he lashed a strong wrist shot beyond Hellberg at an awkward height. Moments later, Konstantin Okulov could have instantly given CSKA the advantage from virtually an identical position, but he was denied by a fantastic save by Hellberg.
With a little less than three minutes remaining in the third frame, Anton Burdasov thought that he had tallied SKA’s third goal of the evening, but his marker was ruled out for offside after CSKA head coach Igor Nikitin used his coach’s challenge.
Overtime was indeed required at the CSKA Arena.
During the first period of overtime, SKA did have the advantage on the ice, drawing a hooking penalty out of CSKA forward Sergei Andronov and coming close through Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi on the doorstep and Malte Stromwall on the man-advantage.
However, CSKA weathered the storm, and the Muscovites subsequently piled relentless pressure on SKA for the entirety of the fifth period of the match. When a tripping foul was committed by Joonas Kemppainen, the home team did have the perfect chance to seal the deal, but Hellberg somehow kept the game going with quite incredible saves at point-blank range.
Saves which would prove absolutely vital.
In the 114th minute of the gruelling duel, SKA registered the winner which their heroic efforts deserved, as Podkolzin connected with Vladislav Tsitsyura’s clever feed on the right faceoff circle to smash a one-timer past Johansson.
The next match will take place on Monday in Saint Petersburg. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
CSKA - SKA - 2:3 3OT (1:0, 0:2, 1:0, 0:0, 0:0, 0:1)
1:0 Mamin (Shalunov), 08.43
1:1 Podkolzin (Morozov, Galimov), 25.58
1:2 Marchenko, 28.21
2:2 Leipsic (Robinson, Loktionov), 44.27
2:3 Podkolzin (Tsitsyura), 113.51
Goalkeepers: Johansson - Hellberg
Shots on target: 41 - 40
Faceoffs: 45 - 57
Hits: 18 - 24
Penalty minutes: 4 - 6
Referees: Birin, Ravodin
10.04.2021. CSKA Arena, Moscow.