In the regular season, Severstal beat the capital army team in 3 out of 4 games, but in the playoffs, hockey takes a different shape, and the value of wins and losses is disproportionately higher.
At first, the teams seemed to look at each other. Although, apparently, they played the day before. The account was opened closer to the middle of the period. The guests distinguished themselves for the most part. Robin Press charged powerfully from the blue line and opened the gates for Sharychenkov.
CSKA responded only in the second half, but how! Immediately two discs in 1 minute. Mikhail Grigorenko and Vitaly Abramov stood out. 2:1!
The second period statistics on shots is impressive 44:9 in favor of the army team. At some point, the owners took advantage of a nearby store and simply herded the bobcats into the area, firing shots from time to time. The yellow-blacks defended themselves, but history repeated itself in the third half. Now CSKA needed only 30 seconds for two goals. Vitaly Abramov and then Sergey Plotnikov defeated Dmitry Shugaev. 4:1!
Severstal recovered a goal. Ilya Ivantsov closed the gap. 4:2! The Cherepovites went all out, removing the goalkeeper, but they scored an empty goal. 5:2! Double by Sergey Plotnikov and victory for CSKA in the first game of the series.
WHAT THE COACHES SAID
After the match, the team coaches summed up the results.
Severstal head coach Andrey Razin explained the reasons for the defeat:
“We had a good first half, we kept the record. They did well in attack. In the second half they “brought” a couple of turns for them, plus the terrible performance of our center forwards in the “tip”. We conceded the first two goals after that. Apart from the missed goal on an empty net, all the pucks are the same. We’ll figure it out, we’ll see. The series is just beginning. Let’s fight.
What changes did you expect from the opponent? We didn’t expect any. We lost the game at the faceoff point, unlike the last game against CSKA. Almost every throw-in in our zone ended with a shot on goal. It’s hard to make a change in your area, everyone is sitting in the snow, freezing.
Take Plotnikov and Denisov, Sedov, Churkin – it is difficult for them to resist such a closet. Especially Plotnikov with such experience. We’ll throw bigger players in the next game.”
CSKA mentor Sergei Fedorov also shared his impressions of the first game of the playoffs:
“After three days of preparation, we managed to reach the level of play that helped us score important goals. Although jumping first is not the case. In the second half we lost our attackers, they cut us off with a pass. They told the guys that the two wingers were playing against the opponents’ two defenders. We aim our centrals, but most leave a lot to be desired. I didn’t really focus on the fact that in the first round there were a lot of victories of the “inferior” teams over the “superior” ones. The assistants told me the results and showed me the video, and I focused more on our opponent.
The throw-in is the beginning of the game, the single combat. Our boys know it very well. I am a former center forward, I myself take part in training during matches. In the team we had four full-backs out of six who acted as central defenders. The throw-in is an important component, whoever wins it has the initiative.
Sharychenkov became number one? At the moment, Sasha Sharychenkov plays in goal, we will move forward step by step. It is difficult to play when there are few shots. Goalies need to be on pace and in a mode where there is work every shift. It’s good for the team that the opponent doesn’t enter our area, but it’s a very difficult part for our goalkeepers. Adam and Sasha have a certain routine that they prepare with, so the guys were ready for any attack in our zone. We had some issues, but we fixed them.
Double Abramov? Vitaly Abramov had a major operation and recovery. The time he missed was a typo. It was his first serious injury of its kind. I always tell guys who play third or fourth link that they have the hardest pace. I am happy for Vitaly because he took a big step and showed his perseverance in this game. We did not doubt his ability, but certain physical characteristics and the lack of time did not allow him to get into the rhythm of the game.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
CSKA forward Sergei Plotnikov shared his emotions from the first game of the cup draw:
“We came to a conclusion after the match in Cherepovets. Now we’re in the playoffs, and every mistake here can be worth losing. They failed in most, but they knew how to add and score their goals. What did the coach say at the first break? This is a military secret. Severstal got off to a good start so might as well have gone the underdog path on day one of the playoffs, but we managed to win.”
Severstal striker Adam Lischka answered the question of what it takes to beat CSKA:
“Play like we played the first half. Clear and disciplined. Here CSKA observed discipline, they withdrew only once. We need to win the majority because of our speed and game. At the point of confrontation, the opponent dominated today. Here we also have to take a step forward.”
And everything seems to be fine, except for one “but”. The half-empty stands of the CSKA Arena. Severstal striker Igor Geraskin was asked in a post-match interview if he was surprised by the number of spectators in the stands tonight:
“Yes, I thought there would be more people,” replied the striker.
– Embarrassing or encouraging? – continued one of the journalists, hinting that they did not come to Severstal.
“It is no longer our business how many people come here,” Geraskin replied. That’s right. Because there were enough yellow and black “beacons” in the stands. In Cherepovets, all tickets for two matches are sold out. But why does CSKA have open slots in the empty ranks even in the playoffs? (This is also often seen in the regular season.) Maybe it’s time for the club to understand that the right marketing works wonders. And hitting you in the chest and inducing artificial arousal, well, that’s all. CSKA is a great club, but it’s time to keep up.
The second match of the CSKA – Severstal series will take place on March 4 at 5:00 p.m. at the CSKA-Arena.