Oscar Fantenberg’s first goal of the playoffs snapped a 2-2 tie in the game – and put SKA up 3-2 in the Western Conference final. Roman Rotenberg’s team can book its ticket to the Gagarin Cup final with victory in Moscow on Tuesday.

SKA St. Petersburg 3 CSKA Moscow 2 (1-1, 1-1, 1-0)

(SKA leads the series 3-2)

Both teams welcomed players back to their rosters for game five. SKA’s defenseman Mikko Lehtonen returned after missing Friday’s win in Moscow, while CSKA forward Sergei Andronov was back in action for the first time since April 4.

In the early stages, SKA looked the more effective team. The host controlled the puck better and created the more dangerous chances. However, it was the visitor that got the opening goal.

Throughout this series, CSKA’s third line of Andrei Svetlakov, Maxim Sorkin and Alexander Popov has been hugely influential. Today, once again, they made an impact, combining for that first goal in the 12th minute. Sorkin’s clearance went to Popov in center ice and the veteran did a great job to set up the on-rushing Svetlakov for a wrist shot from the left-hand circle that left Lars Johansson with no chance.

SKA managed to tie the scores before the first intermission when Alexander Volkov took a calculated risk to make it 1-1. Vladislav Tsitsyura’s effort was beaten away, but when Volkov took possession behind the net he quickly assessed the situation on the slot and correctly reasoned that drilling the puck into the danger zone was a high percentage play. Sure enough, the deflection went SKA’s way, and Volkov was credited with the tying goal.

The second period came close to repeating the first. CSKA again got in front, again through Svetlakov. Konstantin Okulov and Bogdan Kiselevich combined beautifully to pick out the forward at the back door and Svetlakov needed no second invitation to fire past Johansson for his second of the game.

Having gone behind, SKA raised its game. Anton Burdasov fired against the piping, then the home team again got a tying goal late in the frame. This one took a video review to confirm as Danila Moiseyev bundled the puck over the line from close range after his initial shot was saved. The officials were concerned about possible use of the hand, but the review found the goal was good and the scores were level once more.

It stayed that way until deep into the third frame. However, a late penalty on Svetlakov proved crucial. The CSKA forward was penalized for tripping on the SKA blue line, a frustrating call for the visitor to take when there was little danger to Ivan Fedotov’s net.

SKA recognised that the power play represented its big chance to settle matters in regulation, and duly conjured up the winning play. Nikita Gusev was the architect, shaping to shoot before accurately picking out Fantenberg in a central position and the big Swede stepped up to fire home a one-timer.

There was still 1:10 left to play but CSKA was unable to find a way back into the game despite replacing Fedotov with a sixth skater. SKA closed out the final seconds to claim a win that puts it one game away from the grand final.

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SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
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