Ryabkin, Melikov led unstoppable offense to title
At the Championship Cup for 2007-born teams, Dynamo Moscow lived up to its reputation as one of the premier squads this season. Following a 4-0-0 group play stage, the club went on to win its next three matchups in the playoffs. During the tournament, Dynamo’s incredible well-rounded team game was on full display. From scoring in bunches, to holding opponents to little offense, Dynamo was perfect. It all culminated in the championship game, where Dynamo edged SKA Strelna in a 3-2 victory.
Making a statement in group play
Dynamo was one of five WHH-ranked teams in attendance at this year’s championship. Along with SKA Strelna, Dynamo joined Severstal Cherapovets, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Siberia in Group B. Group A was home to world-ranked Avangard Omsk, Lokomotiv 2004 Yaroslavl and Salavat Yulaev. Rounding out the Group A teams were Dynamo Minsk and Amur. Each club played one game against its fellow group teams for playoff seeding. Avangard and Dynamo Moscow were the only teams to go undefeated in the group stage, ensuring them decent positioning in the quarterfinals of the playoff round.
Dynamo out-scored opponents by a combined 45-3 and was the only Group B team with a positive goal differential. They burned out goal lights as they averaged an incredible 11 goals per game, to go along with three shutouts. It’s defense didn’t allow much, and when it did, solid goaltending from Vladimir Selivanov and Kirill Golubev came up clutch. Avangard finished with a plus-21 goal differential and also carved through fellow group teams with ease.
Strelna’s Playoff Upset
It was an all-Dynamo opener when Moscow defeated Minsk 9-3 in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Mikhail Melikov collected a hat trick, while Ivan Ryabkin dished out three assists. Ryabkin and Melikov once again were standouts for Dynamo in their next contest. The duo combined for five points in a 7-1 victory over Amur, which secured them a spot in the championship game. Avangard emerged victorious in its first playoff game as well when it bested Metallurg 6-3. Janusz Heybatov notched two goals and an assist and six other players collected at least two points. The win set up a meeting with SKA Strelna in the semifinals with a future date with Dynamo Moscow on the line.
Strelna came out flying and opened up a two-goal lead in the first period. After regaining composure at the intermission, Avangard cut into the lead with a goal from Yegor Privalov. With about 10 minutes remaining in the game, Maxim Moiseev tied the game at 2 to force overtime. A little over three minutes into the extra frame, Alexander Moskalenko was the hero for Strelna when he tallied the game-winning goal. Roman Frass made a great individual rush up the ice and sent a perfect pass over to Moskalenko who sent a shot off the far post and in.
Moscow, SKA Strelna keep it tight in final matchup
Dynamo Moscow once again got on the board first when Ivan Arkhipov tipped a shot from the point to kick off the scoring with 10 minutes left in the first period. With just over three minutes left, Melikov ripped a shot into the net to double Moscow’s lead. Ryabkin slid a pass over to Arseniy Anisimov, who then fed it through the crease to Melikov. Strelna, determined to change its fortunes, struck early in the second period to make it a 2-1 game. Erik Serbin rushed up the ice and created a partial two-on-one with Mikhail Lebdev. Lebdev finished the play when he shot the puck past the glove of Vladmir Selivanov. Ryabkin restored the two-goal lead when he one-timed a shot from the blue line through traffic with five minutes remaining in the second period.
Strelna made it a close game once more when it cashed in on an early power play in the third period. After goaltender Matvey Karbainov made a great outlet pass from near his crease, Strelna gained the offensive zone. The puck was thrown on net and deflected off Egor Platanov and in. Only down a goal, the remainder of regulation saw Strelna with numerous opportunities to tie the game, but a strong Dynamo defense held firm. Selivanov also came up with crucial saves down the final stages of the game as well to secure the championship. Ryabkin (10G, 15A) and Melikov (10G, 10A) finished as the top two scorers among all skaters.