In a thriller, SKA emerged victorious against Avangard Omsk in the teams’ concluding match of the 2021 Nikolai Puchkov Memorial Tournament, claiming a memorable 3:2 overtime victory.
SKA came out with serious intent. Eager to make up for yesterday’s below-par showing against Severstal, our players immediately took the initiative, pressing Avangard across the ice and making their defence work hard.
The opening goal arrived midway through the first period while playing 4-on-4. Avangard goaltender Simon Hrubec did stop the initial shot, but the puck hit Fredrik Handemark’s skate and rolled over the line to give SKA the lead.
Hrubec then pulled off an excellent save to deny Zakhar Bardakov in the subsequent play.
In truth, Avangard barely tested Alexander Samonov in our net in the opening period, with our goalkeeper only having to make the one difficult save against Sergei Tolchinsky after a threatening counter-attack.
To their credit, Avangard did make a vast improvement in the second stanza. Unlike in the first period, the Omsk-based outfit were taking the game to our team, throwing their bodies around and not allowing SKA to move freely out of the defensive zone.
Midway through the frame, Samonov had to be at his best to keep Avangard at bay, stopping four attempts in quick succession after the opponents had claimed a number of rebounds on the crease.
SKA were having their chances on the counter-attack, though, and Hrubec denied the likes of Linden Vey, Andrei Kuzmenko and Stepan Falkovsky with smart stops. In the closing minute of the period, Avangard thought they had equalised after bundling the puck in, but it was disallowed for goaltender interference after a coach’s challenge.
The action took plenty of dramatic twists in the third period.
After a spell of heavy pressure, Avangard did tally their equalising goal in the 45th minute, as Alexei Bereglazov thumped a one-timer past the stranded Samonov when completely unmarked on the right faceoff circle.
Seconds later, the Ice Palace erupted as it appeared that Marat Khusnutdinov had hit the jackpot with an intelligent tip, but it was rightly waved off as a consequence of the puck having entered the goal through the side-netting.
SKA did go on to take the lead for the second time, though, as Joonas Kemppainen expertly batted a rebound in on the powerplay with a little less than eight minutes remaining.
The hosts were in the box seat and defending for their lives. However, SKA couldn’t hold on, and Avangard sent an enthralling battle to overtime in the last two minutes with Semyon Chistyakov blasting a rocket over the unsighted Samonov. Hrubec had been swapped for the extra skater in the preceding Avangard time-out.
Nevertheless, SKA weren’t to be denied the win. With around two minutes remaining in the extra period, Anton Burdasov ended the game for SKA, beating Hrubec with a rasping wrist shot.
A penalty shootout in line with the competition regulations was still held, with SKA winning that 3:1 as Burdasov, Andrei Kuzmenko and Nikita Chibrikov all registered markers against Vasily Demchenko, who had replaced Hrubec in the Avangard net. Nail Yakupov was the shootout scorer for Avangard.
SKA - Avangard - 3:2 OT (1:0, 0:0, 1:2, 1:0)
1:0 Handemark (Falkovsky, Tokranov), 10.10
1:1 Bereglazov (Tolchinsky, Yakupov), 44.36
2:1 Kemppainen (Vey, Ozhiganov), 52.18
2:2 Chistyakov (Goncharov), 58.24
3:2 Burdasov (Vey), 62.34
Goalkeepers: Samonov - Hrubec
Shots on target: 33 - 42
Faceoffs: 23 - 34
Hits: 7 - 13
Penalty minutes: 8 - 14
Referees: Vasiliev, Oskirko
28.08.2021. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.