In a blockbuster of a match, SKA managed to earn a courageous point on the road against Vityaz Podolsk, with the hosts blowing a three-goal lead in their eventful 6:5 penalty-shootout victory in the 2021/2022 KHL regular season.
Vityaz took the lead with their first opportunity in the fifth minute after an initial slow start. At the blue line, Kirill Lyamin opted to try his luck, and in-form Finnish forward Niko Ojamaki managed to gently tip the puck beyond Alexander Samonov.
Nevertheless, SKA responded well to that setback, getting back on level terms in the 14th minute as Joonas Kemppainen expertly tipped Igor Ozhiganov’s slap shot past former SKA goaltender Ilya Ezhov.
Tempers began to rise towards the end of the first period. All of a sudden, heavy Vityaz forward Artyom Ivanyuzhenkov decided to drop the gloves with Kirill Marchenko, with the pair quickly falling to the ice before the fight could really get tasty.
SKA made a positive start to the second stanza with a brief spell of pressure. However, it was Vityaz who once again took the advantage, as Mikhail Smolin fired a strong wrister under Samonov’s right arm.
Matters soon went from bad to worse for SKA.
Initially, Vityaz forward Miks Indrasis was punished for hooking. But, before SKA could even compete on the powerplay, our players contrived to take two consecutive penalties for delaying the faceoff draw and unsportsmanlike conduct. Incredibly, seconds later, Marat Khusnutdinov committed high-sticking to gift Vityaz a 5-on-3 powerplay.
The deadly Ojamaki took full advantage of that opportunity for Vityaz, beating Samonov with a snappy wrist shot. That was indeed Samonov’s last action of the evening, as he was immediately pulled in favour of 19-year-old Yaroslav Askarov following that marker.
That change didn’t have the desired effect, though, as Daniel Audette backhanded into the near right corner when displaying too much speed for our defence in the 33rd minute.
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you should never count SKA out. Despite the game appearing to be dead and buried, SKA had other ideas, producing a memorable third-period performance to salvage a point.
Anton Burdasov pounced on a big rebound to score in the very first shift of the third period. Not long later, our team got back to within one, as Linden Vey hit the jackpot from a tight angle on the left flank during a powerplay.
SKA were applying overwhelming pressure on Vityaz. With a little over five minutes remaining, 22-year-old Vladislav Tsitsyura eventually got the visiting team level, unleashing a wrister from the left faceoff circle which was just too hot for Ezhov to handle.
Vityaz appeared down and out. It was far from the truth, however, and they moved ahead with 90 seconds remaining as Audette sent a rising wrist shot high into the right corner with the stranded Askarov completely unsighted.
SKA’s character must never be doubted. After pulling Askarov for the extra skater, Kirill Marchenko snatched a point at the death, receiving a superb pass from Tsitsyura and cooly slotting into the net.
The ensuing overtime period, which saw the two teams opt for a cautious approach, saw Khusnutdinov miss the target when clean through and Indrasis strike the left post.
Sadly, in the penalty shootout, Indrasis stuck twice to secure the win for Vityaz. Khusnutdinov scored our only attempt.
SKA will now prepare to host Traktor Chelyabinsk in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
Vityaz - SKA - 6:5 SO (1:1, 3:0, 1:4, 0:0 - 1:0)
1:0 Lyamin (Aaltonen, Audette), 05.56
1:1 Kemppainen (Ozhiganov, Burdasov), 13.24
2:1 Smolin (Popov), 25.48
3:1 Ojamaki (Audette, Aaltonen), 30.07
4:1 Audette (Aaltonen), 32.01
4:2 Burdasov (Marchenko), 40.29
4:3 Vey (Kemppainen), 45.25
4:4 Tsitsyura (Khusnutdinov, Kemppainen), 54.31
5:4 Audette, 58.24
5:5 Marchenko (Tsitsyura, Vey), 59.56
6:5 Indrasis, 65.00 SO
Goalkeepers: Ezhov - Samonov/Askarov
Shots on target: 24 - 34
Faceoffs: 28 - 26
Hits: 16 - 13
Penalty minutes: 13 - 15
Referees: Romasko, Sidorenko
27.09.2021. Vityaz Ice Palace, Podolsk.