SKA Advance to Semi-Final
SKA St. Petersburg dispatched Atlant Moscow Oblast in Game 5 of the KHL Western Conference quarter-finals to win the series 4-1
Published: March 6, 2013 (Issue # 1749)
SKA St. Petersburg dispatched Atlant Moscow Oblast in Game 5 of the KHL Western Conference quarter-finals Thursday night at St. Petersburg’s Ice Palace, winning the series 4-1.
For the second time in the series, SKA dominated at home and tied their club playoff best, racking up a 7-0 win against Atlant and booking their ticket to the next round. In winning the series in five games, the Petersburg team scored 22 goals while conceding a mere four.
Artemy Panarin guided SKA to an early lead, scoring just 53 seconds after the start of the game. Atlant goalkeeper Stanislav Galimov turned away 16 shots in the first period and appeared to be the only one keeping the visitors in the game. SKA controlled the ice and played conservatively, allowing Atlant only two shots on goal during the opening period.
SKA ran away with the game in the second period with four goals within 10 minutes. Tony Martensson scored two goals, and Mikhail Varnakov and Alexander Kucheryavenko each tallied one. Varnakov scored a second in the third period and Patrick Thoresen rounded out the scoring.
Netminder Ivan Kasutin picked up his second shut-out of the playoffs.
“I’m very happy for the players that we’ve advanced to the second round,” said SKA head coach Jukka Jalonen. We played really strongly in the first period, but we only scored one goal. But then we scored four in the second and the game was practically over. I was pleased with how the offensive helped on defense. We really played well as a team, and of course Kasutin had an excellent game.”
Despite Kasutin’s solid showing, Jalonen wouldn’t commit to using him as the starting goalkeeper, saying, “We’ve got two excellent goalies and we’ll most likely continue to rotate between him and [Ilya] Yezhov.”
In the Western Conference semi-finals, SKA will face northern neighbor Severstal Cherepovets, which defeated Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in 6 games, while the other game will feature a Moscow derby between Dinamo and CSKA.
SKA will open the series at home at the Ice Palace on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. Game 2 is scheduled for 5 p.m. March 8.
At the time of publication, Ak Bars Kazan was the only Eastern Conference team to have secured a spot in the next round. They await the winner of the Metallurg Magnitogorsk vs. Salavat Yulaev Ufa series, which is currently tied at three games apiece along with the other two series: Avangard Omsk vs. Sibir Novosibirsk and Traktor Chelyabinsk vs. Barys Astana.