SKA moved ahead in this Western Conference semi-final thanks to a strong second-period performance in Moscow. Goals from Anton Burdasov and Igor Ozhiganov put the visitor in control, although Andrei Loktionov gave Spartak hope midway through the third.

Spartak Moscow 1 SKA St. Petersburg 2 (0-0, 0-2, 1-0)

(SKA leads the series 2-1)

In the early stages, the teams traded attacks without seriously troubling goaltenders Oscar Dansk and Lars Johansson. Spartak edged the game without creating the kind of chances that would greatly alarm the visiting goalie

Superficially, little changed in the second period: the shot count remained as close as before and there were relatively few clear-cut chances. However, beneath the raw stats, the balance of power was tilting towards SKA – and ultimately that opened up the game

The opening goal came midway through the second period. Andrei Kuzmenko swooped behind the net and looked to score on the wraparound, the puck skittled away across the crease and crept into the net at the far post after bouncing off Anton Burdasov’s skate. The video judge called for a review to ascertain whether there was any kicking motion from the SKA forward, but the verdict came back in the visitor’s favor.

Once in front, SKA threatened to start putting the game beyond reach. A couple of minutes after Burdasov’s opener, Mikko Lehtonen had the puck in the net once again when he met Mikhail Vorobyov’s feed with a wrister that beat Dansk. However, the Spartak bench was unhappy with the was Tsityura screened the goalie and challenged the call. This time, the video review found in the home team’s favor, and it remained a one-goal game.

Late in the middle frame, though, SKA legitimately doubled its lead. A power play chance saw the visitor set up camp in front of Dansk’s net and Igor Ozhiganov exchanged passes with Vasily Tokranov before firing in a low shot that squeezed its way into the net through traffic.

Down by two at the second break, Spartak could be forgiven for feeling that the momentum was slipping away not only in this game, but in the series as a whole. That spectacular victory in game one was in danger of slipping into the past and a competitive third stanza was essential for the Red-and-Whites here. A power play goal after seven minutes went some way towards changing the script: it took just nine seconds for Andrei Loktionov to halve the deficit with a low shot from the right-hand circle.

However, Spartak was unable to get any closer. SKA did a good job of closing out the final minutes of the game and came closest to scoring again when Nikita Gusev got on an odd-man-rush but couldn’t beat Dansk with his wrister.

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SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
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