Andy Potts Andy Potts
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SKA picked up a second victory in its playoff series against Dinamo Minsk after getting the better of a 10-goal battle in Petersburg. But in Moscow, Dynamo slipped to a 2-5 loss at home to Severstal and that series is now tied at 1-1.

Minsk battles hard, but SKA weathers the storm

SKA St. Petersburg 6 Dinamo Minsk 4 (4-2, 0-0, 2-2)

(SKA leads the series 2-0)

SKA got its second victory of this first-round series but, once again, Dinamo Minsk gave the Army Men plenty to think about before falling to a pair of late goals.

Photo: 04.03.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Playoffs. SKA (St.Petersburg) - Dinamo (Minsk)

In game one, these teams shared six goals over three periods. In game two, they condensed that into the first 20 minutes. SKA jumped to a 3-0 lead and seemed to have matters completely under control, but Dinamo rallied with a pair of quick goals late in the frame to keep the game alive.

Joonas Kemppainen, scorer of the final goal on Tuesday, opened the scoring here in the third minute when he converted the rebound following a Vladimir Tkachyov effort. Captain Evgeny Ketov had a hand in that goal and he doubled the lead after Roman Gorbunov lost possession in his own zone. Tkachyov swung the puck from left to right and Ketov’s finish did the rest. Then, in the 15th minute, Ivan Morozov kept the puck in play at the blue line, stepped forward and unleashed his wrister to beat Dominik Furch and leave Dinamo in trouble.

The visitor did not buckle, however. Within a minute, Shane Prince put Minsk on the scoreboard when he converted Francis Pare’s pass to the slot. Next, Ketov took a minor penalty and the power play enabled Brandon Kozun to make it a one-goal game. But that brought Ketov back into the game, and he potted his second of the evening off yet another Tkachyov assist to make it 4-2 at the first break.

After that high-octane first period, the scoring slowed in the second. Dinamo matched SKA all over the ice but was unable to find a way to reduce the deficit until early in the third. Then, on the PK, the visitor pulled it back to 3-4 with a short-handed goal. An error on the Minsk blue line enabled the Belarusians to launch a counter-attack and Ilya Usov advanced along the left-hand boards. He got a helpful bounce when Lukas Bengtsson tried to intercept his attempted pass but only succeeded in steering the puck over Alexander Samonov’s shoulder and into the net.

Another deflected goal, this time on the power play, saw Minsk draw level. Ketov was once again the offender and as he sat, Brennan Menell fired in a point shot that ricocheted past Samonov to make it 4-4 with eight minutes to play.

However, SKA got a power play of its own and almost immediately Anton Burdasov turned it into a vital goal. Kemppainen drew in two defensemen and set up his team-mate to beat Furch short side. Then in the closing moments, Vasily Podkolzin added an empty net goal to seal the victory and secure a 2-0 lead in the series.

Dynamo Moscow 2 Severstal Cherepovets 5 (0-1, 2-2, 0-2)

(Series tied at 1-1)

Severstal roared back with a convincing win to tie its series against Dynamo. The Steelmen ensured that the action would go to Cherepovets with the scores at 1-1 after its offense stepped up a gear and the home D struggled to cope.

Photo: 04.03.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Playoffs. Dynamo (Moscow) - Severstal (Cherepovets)

Severstal, silenced in game one, got off the mark for this series late in the first period of game two. However, the goal came with a big piece of help from Dynamo. Defenseman Sergei Boikov attempted a clearance from behind his own net but sent the puck straight to Severstal’s Nikita Makeyev. His point shot was redirected past Alexander Yeryomenko by Nikita Guslistov and the Steelmen had the lead. For Guslistov, who showed great awareness to get in position on the doorstep, it was a first playoff goal in a rookie season that has seen him set records as the youngest captain in the KHL and the youngest Russian player to score a hat-trick.

The visitor then got on the power play almost immediately but could not build on that chance. However, Severstal was able to close out the first period without any alarms and took its one-goal lead to the intermission.

Dynamo tied the scores in the second period, with Vadim Shipachyov scoring on his boyhood team. The Blue-and-White captain rifled home from wide on the right after Andrei Sergeyev’s cross-ice feed set up the KHL’s top scorer in the regular season. But Severstal was far from finished, and midway through the frame the visitor regained the lead when Shawn Lalonde’s point shot was redirected into the net by Alexander Polunin. Dynamo failed to learn the lesson and allowed Lalonde to take a shot from a similar position, this time scoring himself to make it 3-1 and set Severstal on the road to victory.

True, the home team managed to pull one back with 10 seconds to play in the middle frame. Dmitrij Jaskin turned provider, setting up Dmitry Kagarlitsky for a shot that flashed to the top corner with Vladislav Podyapolsky powerless.

Dynamo’s hopes that this might inspire a turnaround in the third took a blow when the home team blundered when exiting its zone and Joonas Nattinen converted the chance and restored a two-goal advantage for the Steelmen. That prompted the Blue-and-Whites to step up the tempo, laying siege to Podyapolsky’s net and forcing Andrei Razin to take a time-out in a bid to calm his team and take some of the edge out of the game. That gambit bore fruit, with Shipachyov taking a penalty soon afterwards and giving Severstal a valuable respite. And, once the teams were back at full strength, the visitor got a fifth goal to put the game beyond reach. Another Dynamo error gave Vladislav Kodola the chance to extend the lead, chasing Yeryomenko from the game and bringing Ivan Bocharov to the crease.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Dinamo (Minsk) Dinamo (Minsk)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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