Game one of the 2022 Gagarin Cup final went to CSKA, with the Muscovites’ defensive discipline successfully blunting Metallurg’s counter-attacking game. Sergei Fedorov’s team stuck to its task diligently, limiting opportunities for Magnitka to deploy those devastating swift turnarounds that have been so effective in previous rounds.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1 CSKA Moscow 3 (0-0, 1-2, 0-1)

(CSKA leads the series 1-0)

Game one of the 2022 Gagarin Cup final went to CSKA, with the Muscovites’ defensive discipline successfully blunting Metallurg’s counter-attacking game. Sergei Fedorov’s team stuck to its task diligently, limiting opportunities for Magnitka to deploy those devastating swift turnarounds that have been so effective in previous rounds.

The opening minutes saw CSKA enjoy the bulk of possession and carve out the first significant chances of the game. The partnership between Alexander Popov and Maxim Sorkin, so dangerous during the Western Conference final against SKA, almost clicked in the third minute when Popov went around the net and fired the puck to the slot, where Sorkin forced a good reaction save from Vasily Koshechkin in the home net.

Metallurg took time to settle into its game, but created a couple of chances of its own as the first period developed. Maxim Karpov’s hard work around the net almost presented Denis Zernov with the opening goal, but the CSKA defense managed to squeeze the forward out of possession before he could get a shot away. By the end of the opening session, Metallurg had more shots on goal while CSKA enjoyed more puck possession.

Both teams, therefore, could make an argument about having the better of the first period. But there was no question that the start of the second belonged to CSKA. The Muscovites opened the scoring in the 24th minute when a counter attack saw Artyom Sergeyev set up Sergei Andronov. The captain needed two attempts at beating Vasily Koshechkin, but found the answer with his second shot to break the deadlock in this series.

Metallurg came close to a response when Semyon Koshelev’s shot cannoned back off the boards and almost presented Pavel Akolzin with the tying goal. Only Ivan Fedotov’s sharp reactions preserved CSKA’s lead. Then the visitor hit the post through Anton Slepyshev before doubling its lead when Mikhail Grigorenko sliced through the home defense and, after Vladislav Kamenev and Konstantin Okulov failed to get a clean shot at goal, the puck broke for Nikita Nesterov to fire home from distance.

After two quick CSKA goals, the next tally would prove vital. If the visitor could get a third – and Sergeyev was close to doing just that – the game was as good as decided. But if Metallurg could reduce the deficit, this one was very much alive. And the home team breathed new life into the series opener with a power play marker in the 32nd minute. Brendan Leipsic fired in a shot from the right-hand channel while Josh Currie and Maxim Karpov jockeyed for position in front of Ivan Fedotov. Karpov applied the finishing touch, stuffing the puck home to make it a one-goal game.

It stayed that way for much of the third period. Metallurg worked hard to find a way to tie the scores, but CSKA’s pressing game was effective and for long periods the host struggled to get into dangerous positions. There were chances, especially early in the frame when Josh Currie almost redirected a Nikolai Goldobin shot beyond Fedotov and Artyom Zemchyonok sent a slap shot whistling just past the post. Gradually, though, CSKA closed those gaps in its defense and began to run down the clock.

The verdict was settled with two minutes left. Metallurg took a time out and withdrew Koshechkin. Almost immediately, though, Sergei Plotnikov grabbed an empty net goal to put the game beyond reach. After two goals in last week’s game seven against SKA, Plotnikov claimed another important marker against another of his previous clubs to put the Muscovites 1-0 up in this year’s Gagarin Cup final.

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Related clubs

Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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