Belfast Telegraph

Arlan Kokshetau hold on against Katowice to open Continental Cup with victory

GKS Katowice 2-4 Arlan Kokshetau

By Adam McKendry

Continental Cup favourites Arlan Kokshetau held off a GKS Katowice comeback to take victory in the first game of the Final, winning 4-2 at the SSE Arena.

The Kazakhs raced into a 3-0 lead by the first intermission thanks to a particularly dangerous powerplay, Katowice fought back in the second period however they didn't have enough to overcome the superior Arlan side.

Vadim Yermolayev had the first look of the game, tipping one in on Kevin Lindskoug which the netminder stopped, while Jakub Wanacki fired straight at Ivan Poloshkov at the other end.

The Kazakhs took the lead at 11:44 though, Konstantin Savenkov getting the tip on a shot from Ivan Kiselyov and although Lindskoug made the initial stop, Savenkov followed in to finish the rebound.

That was quickly followed by two powerplay markers for the Kazakhs, Stanislav Borovikov getting the first at 14:13 before Dmitri Potaichuk added the third at 18:00.

Lindskoug made a big stop to block a Vadim Berdnikov redirect at the start of the second and off the back of that, Katowice started their comeback.

The first came on a 5-on-3 powerplay at 23:40, Niko Tukhanen ripping a shot in from the high slot, before Jesse Rohtla finished with a lovely backhand from the right circle at 27:16 to make it a one-goal game.

Arlan had two good chances to strike back immediately, Lindskoug saving well from Nikita Bazhenov before a great defensive intervention prevented Vadim Berdnikov from tapping in a backdoor pass from Yermolayev.

Katowice's powerplay was looking very dangerous and they nearly struck twice on it early in the third period, Bartosz Fraszko denied by the stick of Poloshkov and Rohtla firing wide from in the slot.

They would pay for not making the most of it at 54:21 when Arlan put the tie to bed, catching Katowice on a line change and getting the clincher when Denis Klemenshov slid the puck into the empty cage after a one-two with Alexander Nesterov.

The winger was unlucky not to score a goal of his own in the late stages, stopped by Lindskoug on the wraparound before the netminder pulled off a simply sublime pad stop to deny him one-on-one.

Man of the Match: #27 Ivan Kiselyov

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