Red Army dominates challenging round robin to win 2006 national championship
The 2020-21 Russian youth hockey winter season came to a close this week, as the 2006 age group completed its national tournament on Sunday. It was the last age group in the country to conclude its postseason — 2005s concluded two weeks ago — as various age levels finished throughout the month of May.
CSKA Moscow was one of the top teams in the world all season long, ranking second in the world with a 27-4-0 record and the odds-on favorite at the beginning of the national tournament. Different from the ‘05 format, the 2006 event consisted of nine teams competing in a round-robin tournament over the course of 10 days in Sochi, Russia. There was no single-elimination playoff, so the team with the most points after the round robin would be crowned the national champion.
CSKA won its first three games handedly, defeating opponents by a combined score of 28-3, and living up to pre-tournament expectations. Meanwhile, Lokomotiv 2004 Yaroslavl, SKA Silver Lions and Metallurg Magnitogorsk spent the first few days of the event battling it out in tightly-contested overtime games. Egor Surin scored not one, but two game-winning goals to keep Lokomotiv in the hunt in the early days of the tournament.
Metallurg and SKA may have had the most exciting moment of the week in their meeting last Monday. With just 15 seconds left to go in regulation, Silver Lions forward Roman Golnik scored to tie the game at 1-1 and force overtime between two teams contending for the top spot. Then four minutes into overtime, Andrey Florovsky completed the late-game comeback for SKA, scoring the game winner to take the extra point in the standings.
The Red Army continued to roll through the round robin, scoring four-or-more goals in seven of the eight games they played. Even when the top two teams in the field met on Friday, No. 1 CSKA was too much for No. 2 Lokomotiv. A three-point performance from the tournament leader in points, Arseny Vorobiev, would give CSKA the 4-1 win and essentially clinch the championship with one game left to play.
In the finale, the Silver Lions did what no other opponent could do and shut down the CSKA offense. After giving up an early first-period goal, SKA would go on to hold CSKA scoreless for the next 51 minutes; the Red Army’s longest stretch of scoreless hockey throughout the entire event. During that time, Vladimir Bakhtov would score his tournament-leading 11th goal to tie the game at 1-1 and then Daniil Anatsky would score the eventual game-winning goal for the Silver Lions, just past the halfway point of the contest.
The ‘06 Russian national championship closes the book on the 2020-21 winter season. Much of the world experienced pauses, delays or shut down completely over the past several months, so acknowledging national champions at this time of year feels even more important. Many in the youth hockey community were unable to have a season, much less a championship, and keeping that in perspective brings on a newfound appreciation for those hoisting a trophy.
As the global climate slowly begins to shift towards a new normal, we at World Hockey Hub look forward to providing extensive coverage of youth hockey worldwide. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for the latest news, updates, events and more as we turn the page to a new 2021-22 hockey season this summer.