Platt’s backhander gives Red Army OT win in KHL opener

Platt’s backhander gives Red Army OT win in KHL opener

24 Aug 2015Lucas Bradelj»

The games between two of Russia’s most prestigious hockey clubs are of those kind that no hockey fan should ever miss. So was also the 2016 KHL opener between SKA St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow.


Red Army and SKA St Petersburg – two real powerhouses of European ice hockey for the first game of the 2015/2016 Kontinental Hockey League season. Last season Moscow was up 3:0 in the Western Conference Finals, when Kovalchuk and the rest of the SKA-team came back in incredible fashion to win the series. In the finals, they overcame Kazan in 5 games to take

The defending champions though lost some key players in the off-season, such as Viktor Tikhonov (Chicago Blackhawks/NHL), Tony Martensson (Lugano/NLA) or Jimmie Ericsson (Skelleftea/SHL). Though, there is no doubt that they will not again be a competitor for the Gagarin Cup, as new head coach Andrey Nazarov has a worldclass team to work with.

Just as last season, CSKA Moscow is one of the clubs with the intention to defeat St. Petersburg. New acquisitions such as Geoff Platt or goaltender Viktor Fasth also prove their goal, even though losing Igor Grigorenko to Ufa might not be what they were hoping for.

The game started with an early man advantage for the home team, but St. Petersburg could not create any real danger in front of goaltender Stanislav Galimov. Moscow-native Ilya Kablukov had the first chance of the game against his former team, but Galimov had his right pad ready.

Alexander Radulov Still in the first period, also SKA-goaltender Mikko Koskinen could show his class, first denying Alexander Radulov with a flashy glove save and later on warming up his knees on a deflection by Geoff Platt. The defending champions responded as Alexey Ponikarovsky tried to go five-hole on the 1-on-0, but the net minder was able to read the play, as was his Finnish colleague in the 18th minute on Blazhiyevsky’s slapshot to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes of play.

Moscow had a strong start into the second frame and it did not take long for their superstar Alexander Radulov to score the first goal of the evening. A perfect pass by Igor Ozhiganov to the former Nashville Predator, who had no problem beating the SKA-goalkeeper.

Jaokim LindstromIt did though only take 106 seconds for SKA to strike back. Swedish national team forward Joakim Lindstrom scored the equalizer with a perfect wrist shot on the blocker side.

Shortly after Jan Mursak had the open net in front of him to give Moscow the lead again, but missed by centimeters. Nikita Zaitsev though had the luck on his stick, squeezing the puck between Koskinen’s legs and into the net and giving CSKA the 2-1 lead.

It would not be fun though if not also St. Petersburg found an immediate response. On the power play Vadim Shipchayov delivered an astonishing pass to Maxim Chudinov, who capitalized and the game was tied going into the third period.

Ilya KovalchukBy now you should know what happened again in the third period: CSKA gained the lead with Igor Ozhiganov, whose shot deflected off a SKA-player and into the net. Though, the lead did not hold long, as the absolute superstar of the KHL, Ilya Kovalchuk, was given too much space on the mad advantage and he made Moscow pay with one of his feared wrist shots.

In the last minutes of regulation time, the superstar even had the chance to decide the game, as once again Shipchayovshowed his amazing playmaking abilities. This time though Galimov was there with a gorgeous pad save to force the game into overtime.

His save would also classify as the game saver, because only 25 seconds were played when Geoff Platt capitalized on his own rebound to give ‘Red Army’ the extra point.

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