Petersburg SKA won the first victory in the semifinal series of the Gagarin Cup. In the fourth match, Valery Bragin’s team beat CSKA Moscow on their own ice – 3: 1. And the total score in the confrontation is now 3-1 in favor of the Muscovites.
Before this game, the 2015 playoffs were recalled a lot. Then SKA, led by Vyacheslav Bykov, having lost three CSKA matches at the same stage, won four victories and moved on. And then he won the Gagarin Cup. Neither before nor after have such comebacks happened in the Kontinental Hockey League. It is too early to say that the Bragin SKA will be able to repeat that miracle, but the first small step has already been taken by the Petersburgers.
Compared to the previous match, the hosts made several changes in the squad. So, experienced Vladimir Tkachev, Anton Belov and Evgeny Ketov remained in reserve. In addition, goalkeeper Alexander Samonov did not go out on the ice, replaced by Magnus Hellberg. SKA took the lead rather quickly: in the sixth minute, Linden Wei from the “penny” on the second attempt struck the Muscovites goalkeeper Lars Johansson – 1: 0.
More in the first period of the abandoned washers, the audience did not see. However, in the third game, the Petersburgers also managed to take a break, leading with the same score, and then in the second 20-minute CSKA turned everything upside down. This time SKA did not allow anything of the kind. Petersburgers had several good opportunities to increase their advantage, but they took advantage of only one. On the 23rd minute of Malta, Stremval made a good use of the club after Fantenberg’s throw – 2: 0. The guests managed to knock down the opponent’s attacking impulse only towards the end of the second period thanks to a series of penalties from the St. Petersburg team.
However, it would be naive to assume that CSKA will surrender so easily. In the 44th minute, the Muscovites imposed a fight in a foreign zone, Maxim Shalunov picked up the puck on a “penny” and sent it under the crossbar – 1: 2. Shalunov immediately went to the boxing penalty box for a rare violation of the rules during a throw-in. SKA could have realized the numerical advantage instantly, but Anton Burdasov missed in an incredible way on finishing.
CSKA failed to punish Petersburgers for their extravagance. Moreover, a minute before the end of the third period, the Muscovites removed the goalkeeper, and Vasily Podkolzin from his half of the site got into an empty net – 3: 1.
“Complete dedication, we took on a lot of shots, we played tactically correctly,” SKA mentor Valery Bragin called the keys to his team’s victory on KHL TV.
The fifth match in the army derby will take place on April 10 in Moscow.