It was another losing effort in Omsk today, where the home team fell to visiting Traktor Chelyabinsk by the score of 6-3. The Hawks got off to what Allhockey.ru writer Evgeni Tyuityuinnik described as another “listless” start, allowing Chelyabinsk to go up 3-1 through two periods, spending the majority of time boxed in their own zone, struggling to complete passes, and with only limited offensive chances of their own.
Yet somehow they mustered a flurry of pressure to tie the game at the start of the third period on goals by Maxim Yakutsenya at :29 (watch), followed quickly a textbook Jaromir Jagr wrister coming off the right boards to knot the score at three on the power play at 1:44 (watch).
The Hawks then had the ultimate opportunity to take their first lead in the game less than eight minutes into the period when former Ranger property and Wolf Pack tough guy Martin Grenier earned a major and game misconduct for an open-ice hit on Yakutsenya. But just the opposite happened when Jagr broke his stick (sound familiar?) and Omsk gave up a short-handed 2-on-1. Goaltender Alexander Fomichev stopped the initial shot by Vadim Shakhrajchuk, but the puck bounced up over his shoulder. Jakub Klepis attempted to bat it away from the net with his hand, but instead knocked it in (watch). That spelled the end for Omsk in this game.
The Hawks gave up two more goals in the third, and if there’s any doubt whatsoever why the team has struggled so far this season, just check out the defensive play and goaltending on the goals by Andrei Popov (watch) and Evgeni Galkin (watch).
Sergei Gersonsky, who remains the team’s head coach — for now (and seemed to be blaming one of his players for spreading rumors of his impending demise in his post-game presser) — once again shuffled his lines, replacing Pavel Rosa on the top line with Alexander Popov and creating a new line of Rosa, Yakutsenya and Alexei Cherepanov. Viktor Alexandrov, who’s been a healthy scratch in the last two games, returned to his place on the fourth line with Dmitri Pestunov and Alexei Kopeikin, who scored Omsk’s first goal, in the first period, on a 4-on-4 while Alexandrov sat in the penalty box (watch). Cherepanov, who also saw time on a line with captain Alexander Svitov, finished an active game with 4 shots in 15:03 of ice time over 15 shifts. According to the on-line play-by-play he set up an excellent chance for Yakutsenya in the final minute of the first and had two great scoring chances of his own within a minute of each other late in the second, but was unable to convert. On the downside, it appears he was on the ice for four goals against. (Cue blind criticism of him being a lazy, one-way player in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…)
Omsk are off until Friday, when they host Lada Togliatti. Here’s hoping they spend some time working on team defense in practice between now and then.
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