KHL newcomer HC Sochi needed just 2:12 to make an impact in St. Petersburg, snatching a sensational early lead against SKA in the team’s first ever competitive game.
And it took two goals from defenseman Anton Belov – not a man noted as a free-scoring blue-liner – to give SKA an unexpectedly hard-fought 3-2 victory against a Sochi team that belied its status as an outsider and played a vibrant role in an engrossing contest on the shores of the Baltic.
Defenseman Andrei Pervyshin took the honor of the Black Sea team’s first ever goal in a competitive match, lashing home a one-timer from the point off a Pavel Koledov pass.
SKA could hardly say there was no warning: a menacing Mikhail Anisin raid had earned Sochi the first power play of the game, and as soon as the game went to four-on-three the visitors converted the advantage.
At the other end Ilya Kovalchuk went close as SKA enjoyed its first power play of the night, but there was more danger for the home team when Ilya Krikunov ...