In Saint Petersburg, SKA took on Jokerit Helsinki HC in the 2017 Nikolai Puchkov tournament final. Head coach Oleg Znarok didn’t include Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk in the line-up, but fellow forward Sergei Kalinin did make his first appearance of this competition. Mikko Koskinen and Ryan Zapolski were the starting netminders.
Despite both teams playing for a trophy, very little happened during the first period. Jokerit were focusing on defence, while SKA didn’t have any joy inside the Finnish zone. The Finns did have a few promising opportunities after poor SKA turnovers, but Mikko Koskinen proved why he is nicknamed the Finnish Wall. SKA were struggling, however the breakthrough came at the end of the period. Alexander Barabanov ripped through the Jokerit defence, took aim and lashed a stinging drive into the right corner.
The visitors upped the ante in the second stanza, putting the pressure on SKA’s net. Nevertheless, after Mikko Koskinen pulled off some superb stops, our players notably improved. Maxim Chudinov doubled SKA’s advantage, jabbing a loose puck over the line. Deflated by that goal, Jokerit contrived to fall apart. Anton Belov made it three with a hammer slap shot, before Yegor Yakovlev scored the fourth marker after waiting for the Jokerit goalkeeper to commit himself. It could have got worse for Jokerit, but Ryan Zapolski kept the score respectable.
Maxim Karpov ended all Jokerit hope of an unlikely comeback in the third frame, launching a powerful one timer over Ryan Zapolski’s glove. The Finns did claw one back when Pekka Jormakka found the net on a 5-on-3 powerplay, but it made little difference to the outcome. SKA calmly held on to claim a 5:1 victory against Jokerit, in turn winning the 2017 Nikolai Puchkov tournament!
SKA – Jokerit – 5:1 (1:0, 3:0, 1:1)
1:0 Barabanov (Chudinov, Rundblad), 17.27
2:0 Chudinov (Gavrikov, Shirokov), 26.58
3:0 Belov (Kalinin, Gavrikov), 31.19
4:0 Yakovlev (Kalinin, Plotnikov), 33.55
5:0 Karpov (Shirokov, Rundblad), 46.56
5:1 Jormakka (Palola, Lepisto), 50.13
Goalkeepers: Koskinen – Zapolski
Shots on target: 29 – 28
Penalty minutes: 14 – 10
Faceoffs: 37 – 27
Hits: 9 – 12
Referees: Oskirko, Kulyov
17.08.2017. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.