SKA Saint Petersburg Wins Gagarin Cup

SKA Saint Petersburg overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat Metallurg Magnitogorsk 5-3 to win game five of their championship series. SKA won the series four games to one and took home the Gagarin Cup as the KHL champions at Arena Metallurg in Magnitogorsk, Russia.

Former Devil Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist in the comeback, which began midway through the second period with a Nikita Gusev power play goal. SKA would score four unanswered, including Kovalchuk’s capper to put the game – and the series – away.

Devils defensive prospect Yegor Rykov had a shot on goal and was a minus-1 in 5:57 of ice time over ten shifts.

Congratulations to SKA Saint Petersburg and Yegor Rykov on their championship season. This is SKA’s second Gagarin Cup in club history and their second in three seasons.

In other news, the Albany Devils’ first round opponents for the AHL’s 2017 Calder Cup playoffs are set, as they will play the Toronto Marlies in the best-of-five opening round. This is a rematch of last year’s second round series that went a full seven games between these two teams. Toronto won last year’s matchup.

The two teams finished in second and third place in the North Division, Toronto going 42-29-4-1 with a .586 winning percentage and 89 points. Albany finished 39-32-2-3 with a .546 winning percentage and 83 points.

The A-Devils are beginning their final playoffs in Albany, as the franchise will be moving to Binghamton for next season.

The series begins on April 20 at the Times Union Center in Albany. Although Toronto finished with the better record, the seeding gives the first two games to the A-Devils at home and then the third, and final two, if necessary, will be played in Toronto.

Moving over to the OHL, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the Owen Sound Attack faced off in game six of their playoff series. It was a close one with the Attack winning 1-0 and completing the series, wrapping it up four games to two.

Nick Suzuki scored the only goal of the game, played in Owen Sound. He scored at 13:09 of the second period with assists to Jacob Friend and Jonah Gadjovich. In goal, Joseph Raaymakers made an incredible 41 saves on 42 Attack shots. Michael McNiven stopped all 23 Soo shots he saw in getting the win.

And so, with Sault Ste. Marie knocked out, Owen Sound will face the winner of the Erie Otters-London Knights series.

So that leaves Mississauga’s Mikey McLeod and Nathan Bastian as the only Devils prospects remaining in the OHL playoffs. The Steelheads will take on the Peterborough Petes for the Bobby Orr Trophy beginning April 20 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

Steelheads Take 3-1 Series Lead over Oshawa

The Mississauga Steelheads-Oshawa Generals series returned to Oshawa, Ontario for game four and it was the Steelheads who prevailed on the road to go up three games to one in their OHL second round playoff series. They squeaked out a 4-3 win after withstanding a three goal barrage from the Attack late. This game was played yesterday.

Spencer Watson got the scoring off to a start late in the first period at 18:25. Nicolas Hague and Ryan McLeod had the assists on that goal.

The Steelheads would pour it on in the second period, getting goals from Jacob Cascagnette at 8:55 and Watson at 12:09. Owen Tippett scored the game winner at 14:20 unassisted.

They were up 4-0 going into the third period, but the Generals were about to make things a little bit more interesting.

Mason Kohn scored just 39 seconds into the third frame and then Medric Mercier scored a pair of power play goals at 7:20 and then again at 14:22 to make it 4-3. Despite the late onslaught, Mississauga held on to go up three games to one in their series.

Jeremy Brodeur made 15 saves on 18 shots faced. He was pulled at the 12:09 mark of the second in favor of Kyle Keyser, who made 23 saves on 24 shots and took the loss. For Mississauga, Matthew Mancina made 20 saves on 23 Oshawa shots.

The Steelheads can finish off the series and move on to the conference finals with a win tomorrow at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa.

Over to the KHL where I made a mistake on game three. The game did not last two overtimes and in fact, SKA Saint Petersburg did win it in one OT.

Game four was played earlier today, Saint Petersburg time from the Ice Palace with SKA winning 3-2 and taking a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven Gagarin Cup Final. Khafizullin Dinar scored his second of the game with about eight minutes left in the game on the power play to give SKA the victory over Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Goaltender Mikko Koskinen made 22 saves for SKA on 24 shots on goal.

Devils prospect Yegor Rykov had a shot on goal in 6:30 of ice time in this game.

SKA can finish things off and claim the Gagarin Cup on Sunday at the Arena Metallurg in Magnitogorsk.

Coming back to North America and the OHL, where the Owen Sound Attack faced the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in game five in their second round series from the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. That series was tied up at two games apiece coming into tonight.

This game was close too, with the Attack edging out the Greyhounds 4-3 to take a three games to two lead in the series.

Owen Sound jumped out to the early lead when Nick Suzuki scored 6:07 into the first period. Chase Campbell then doubled their lead at 14:54. The Attack rounded out the first period when Kevin Hancock gave them a 3-0 lead at 18:51.

The Greyhounds had a steep hill to climb going into the second period, and they began chipping away when Jack Kopacka scored just 38 seconds into the second frame. Colton White had the primary assist on that goal.

The Soo kept at it, as Boris Katchouk scored just 23 seconds into the third period. Blake Speers had the secondary assist on that goal, which made it 3-2.

And it remained 3-2 until Petrus Palmu of the Attack doubled up their lead to 4-2 at 17:34 of the third. That would prove the game winner, but Sault Ste. Marie would add one more with about 2:29 left in the game to make it interesting. That goal came with goalie Joseph Raaymakers pulled for the extra attacker.

But Owen Sound held on and now has the Greyhounds on the ropes, up four games to two.

In goal, Raaymakers made 30 saves on 34 Owen Sound shots while Michael McNiven made 36 saves on 39 Soo shots in being named the game’s first star. Palmu was the second star while Katchouk was the third.

Owen Sound can advance to the conference finals in the Eastern Conference with a win in game six, which takes place at 6 PM on Sunday in Owen Sound.