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On Monday the KHL continued after the break on which The Channel One Cup was played. Both Jokerit and CSKA had some players absent from the match due to variety of reasons – both injuries and rest after an intense tournament.

Jokerit weren’t playing that consistently based on the results, as they were winning some and losing some. The biggest challenge for the Helsinki team had been the depth of the roster and also against CSKA there were many guys that hadn’t got that many KHL on their belts.

CSKA were on the same boat in terms of the player situation. Many were still out aftr the EHT tournament. For example Nikita Nesterov played every game in team Russia and therefore skipped the match against Jokerit. CSKA had won the first game of the season against the Helsinki team.

The game was a match-up between two talented teams and the events on the ice remained tight until the third period, where CSKA capitalized with high efficiency and took the point by score 3–1.

”The start was a bit cautios until the first time on penalty kill. Then we improved our game and played well the rest of the first period. In the second period we took four minutes of penalties right in the beginning and it was difficult to get back into the rhythm. We weren’t as careful and as efficient as we should’ve been.

There were a lot of good things in the third period, but we lost in a cheap way. The opponent got a few chances and they scored on both. Zero points for us and that upsets big time. Our fourth line played well, but scoring was difficult for us and we need to get better in it.”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game in front of the media.

Full energy after the break

After the break from the KHL games both teams came to the ice with full speed and energy. All the players seemed to want to pursue scoring rather than make plays through passing. Jordan Schroeder showed that he was again ready to play hockey after his absence.

”It was good to get back in the game action. It’s never easy, when you’re off that long and it wasn’t the result we wanted, but for me personally it was nice to be back in.”, Schroeder thought.

CSKA got the first power play chance in the game, but couldn’t get the puck into Jokerit zone. Even top class defenceman Darren Dietz, who had just joined the team, couldn’t create plays in the offensive game. On the other hand Jokerit did a good job on penalty kill by blocking the shots. When on full strenght again, Iiro Pakarinen gave a few heavy hits waking up the crowd at Hartwall Arena.

Midway through the first period there was a time, when breaks were nowhere to be seen. Game still shifted from end to end and especially Jokerit had a couple of great chances to put themselves on the scoreboard. Kalle Kossila couldn’t capitalize on the pass by Nicklas Jensen. Adam Reideborn was in good shape at CSKA net and stopped the duo also near the end of the period, when it worked another way round.

Both teams on the scoreboard

CSKA got to start the second period on power play, because Petteri Lindbohm was sent to the penalty box on the last seconds before intermission. The visitors had good pressure in Jokerit zone, but Janne Juvonen did rise to the occasion and took a few big saves helping the score stay 0–0. Also Jokerit blocking game was on point as it was in the game overall.

Jokerit took yet another penalty and got their game really going only after five minutes were already in the second period. Henri Ikonen had to take a huge hit from the back side by Roman Kalinichenko, but the defenceman didn’t receive a penalty on his act.

Konstantin Okulov was near to score, when he got to a sort of a breakaway after Lindbohm’s unsuccessful pass. The shot hit the glove of Juvonen and thus went wide to the net. As the number told, both teams were defending efficiently in the big picture. There weren’t many opportunities to cross to the center and try to score from the best sector possible.

As mentioned, both teams were having some changes in their line-ups. Forward Kristjan Kombe was one of them and he didn’t miss his chance to score the first KHL goal. The joy was short-termed for Jokerit, because Sergei Andronov tied the score on the next shirt. The reminder of the second period was played in a calm fashion as both teams wanted to stabilize their game before the deciding moments.

”They work hard and Kristjan got his first one tonight, so it’s great for him. They’re great dudes and they do hard work, so we want to see them do well whenever they get the opportunity to step in.”, said Schroeder about goal-scorer Kombe and his linemates Tommi Laakso, who have taken now their first steps in the KHL.

CSKA were efficient

The home team was ready to take the points as the third period kicked in. Okulov made a gorgeous pass to Sergei Plotnikov, who shot a fiery wrist-shot into the back of the net behind Juvonen. Jokerit didn’t just watch and wait the game to pass, but they raised the pace of their skating. For example Kossila got the way into Reideborn’s net, but the Swedishman covered the situation well.

Jokerit got their first power play, when there was just half a period left in the game. Andrei Svetlakov tripped down Vitali Menshikov in the neutral zone and gave the Helsinki team a chance. The special teams couldn’t help Jokerit to get the game tied and carelessness that was there through the game made scoring a hard task. Even the second opportunity didn’t give light to Jokerit situation, but was way better than the first attempt.

Jokerit got the pressure up to the CSKA zone and the home team was able to create some chances, but the visitors defended as well as they had done the whole game. Plotnikov used the given opportunity and scored his second of the night from a breakaway. The night concluded as Jokerit were trying to come back and played without the goaltender. However, there were seven players instead of the possible six, causing a penalty for the home team.

”Just a couple of mental breakdowns and puck management. We played well, but we gave them two opportunities and they capitalized on them. We’ll be fine and we just need to get back on the grind and put in the work.”, Schroeder stated.

One more before another short break

For two periods Jokerit were able to compete head to head against CSKA, but in the third period some careless actions and lack of fortune made the Helsinki team eventually lose the match.

Jokerit will play one more game before Christmas, as they will face Dinamo Minsk on Wednesday in Hartwall Arena.

”We need put this one behind us, move forward and stay positive and be ready for the next one.”, Schroeder finished.

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