Andy Potts,
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SKA St. Petersburg 7 Severstal Cherepovets 4 (1-1, 4-2, 2-1)

(SKA leads the series 2-0)

Two goals apiece from Pavel Datsyuk and Nikita Gusev led SKA to a convincing win over Severstal – but once again the Steelmen posed some questions of the defending champion.

Dmitry Kagarlitsky also scored twice, albeit in a losing cause, and once again SKA had to recover from falling behind before taking control in the latter stages of the game. Kagarlitsky opened the scoring in the fourth minute, working well to retrieve the puck and fire in a shot past the unsighted Mikko Koskinen after Alexander Bumagin’s effort was pushed clear of the net. Datsyuk cancelled that one out, given far too much time to convert Anton Belov’s pass before the first intermission, and two goals in a minute saw the home team jump to a 3-1 lead thanks to Gusev and Viktor Tikhonov – but Severstal wasn’t done.

Photo: 05.03.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Playoffs. SKA (St.Petersburg) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

Kagarlitsky’s one-on-one breakout reduced the arrears, then a face-off in the SKA zone enabled Alexei Ugarov to poach the tying goal. After a tense evening last time out, was SKA facing another battle?

The home team reacted fast to settle any nerves. Alexander Barabanov reinstated the lead, Gusev’s one-timer made it 5-3. Then came a moment of classic Datsyuk, dancing around Vishnevsky before firing home the sixth SKA goal of the evening. That was the highlight of the game, but there were two more goals to come as Ilya Kablukov and Matej Stransky traded tallies in the last 10 minutes.

SKA goes to Cherepovets in control of the series – but Severstal can point to reasons for optimism when it gets to home ice.

Andy Potts,
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Related clubs

Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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