(Series tied at 1-1)
The youngster forced home a rebound from close range after Ivan Bocharov could only parry a powerful Linden Vey shot. Marchenko, still only 20, grabbed his second goal of this year’s playoffs — and possibly the most important for his club to date — to settle this game and change the complexion of the series.
Dynamo, meanwhile, will feel that this was a self-inflicted wound. The visitor had withstood some intense pressure from SKA and seemed to be coming out of the storm into calmer waters as the third period entered its final moments. However, Dmitrij Jaskin allowed his frustrations to get the better of him after Magnus Hellberg denied him late in the game and followed that shot with a pointless trip on Lukas Bengtsson to hand the home team one last chance to wrap it up in regulation. The teams spent much of the third period playing cautious hockey, alert to the danger of defeat in the event of any error, but at last the Army Men had a chance to press forward. Ivan Morozov tested Ivan Bocharov as soon as play restarted, and ultimately Marchenko delivered the decisive blow.
For much of the game, the teams cancelled each other out. The first period was an even struggle with relatively few scoring opportunities. Marchenko had the first worthwhile chance in the game, testing Bocharov from close range in the ninth minute, before Oscar Lindberg responded by going close to a short-handed goal for the visitor midway through the opening frame.
Dynamo’s offense was hampered by an injury to Dmitry Kagarlitsky ahead of today’s game. Sharp-eyed supporters might have noticed his absence from photos of yesterday’s practice and Daniil Tarasov stepped up to join Jaskin and Vadim Shipachyov on the Blue-and-Whites’ first line. Tarasov proved to be the most active of the visiting forwards and his six shots at Hellberg represented a quarter of his team’s tally. However, he was unable to convert any of those opportunities.
In the second period, SKA turned the screws. Dynamo iced the puck three times in the first couple of minutes, setting the tone for a session in which the Army Men largely controlled the game. However, pressure did not lead to a wealth of big scoring chances; Andrei Kuzmenko’s individual effort in the 26th minute was the most dangerous incident of the frame and Bocharov was able to make the save.
At the start of the third, SKA had to kill two penalties in a row. The second, imposed on Evgeny Ketov after a foul on Shipachyov, was a particular blow. Not only did the home team have to kill two minutes, it also lost its captain after he contrived to injure himself in his assault on his opposite number. However, the Army Men survived on the PK with Dynamo struggling to generate much offense, and the game remained scoreless until Kirill Marchenko’s late, decisive intervention.