Russia Battles Back to Win Sochi Hockey Open

Russia Battles Back to Win Sochi Hockey Open

Steven Ellis09 Aug 2017Steven Ellis»
 

Russia finished off the Sochi Hockey Open with a 4-3 come-from-behind shootout victory over SKA St. Petersburg, taking the tournament championship in the process.

 
 
 
 

Russia finished off the Sochi Hockey Open with a 4-3 come-from-behind shootout victory over SKA St. Petersburg, taking the tournament championship in the process.

St. Petersburg showed more strength in the early stages of the first, but Russia still found a way to pot the first goal. Six minutes in, Pavel Kraskovsky created a great screen in front of Mikko Koskinen, allowing Yegor Korshov options at the point. Korshov's shot easily whistled in above Koskinen's glove, giving Russia the 1-0 advantage early on.

SKA would fight back, scoring two goals just over a minute apart. At 10:50, Alexander Dergachyov rushed into the zone and sent a weak wrister between Igor Shestyorkin's five-hole and in, tying the game up at one. Then, 1:07 later, Ilya Kovalchuk took advantage of a massive defensive breakdown by receiving a pass in the high slot from Viktor Komarov before sending a hard wrister blocker side of Shestyorkin, giving St. Petersburg the 2-1 advantage.

The pace really slowed down in the second period, but SKA still would extend their lead. At 2:13, Nikita Gusev took the puck behind the goal line and waited until he was attacked by multiple Russian defence. From there, he managed to send the puck out in front of the net to former Arizona Coyote Viktor Tikhonov, who sent a quick one-timer into the back of the net to make it 3-1 for the club team.

An absolute blooper of a goal saw Russia claw their way back into the game. At 16:24, Maxim Chudinov sent a flying saucer down the ice, expecting to just have it bounce off the boards. Instead, Koskinen completely missed the dump in, allowing a goal from Russia's zone to make it 3-2 heading into the third period. 

Russia looked slow and tired in the later stages of the game, but they still managed to tie the game up at three. Artem Fyodorov would find the back of the net after two previous Russian players failed to score, picking up the puck on a rebound and scoring from the right faceoff circle to make it 3-3.

The game required a shootout to declare the victor and at one point, it looked like SKA would pull off the victory. Instead, goals from Mikhail Grigorenko and Vladimir Tkachyov both scored beautiful goals for the Russians to secure the victory, giving them their first tournament title of the national team season.

SKA St. Petersburg will play at the Nikolai Puchkov Tournament next week along with fellow tournament combatants HC Sochi and Team Canada, with their first game set for August 14th against Sochi. Russia's first real chance at getting a full team together will be the Karjala Cup in November, featuring six teams for a chance to win gold in Finland.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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