2006-born Russian club goes undefeated at St. Petersburg Cup
After dropping their first stretch of games into the 2022-23 season, things looked bleak for the SKA Silver Lions. But between the cracks, there were bright spots.
They had contributions from a number of players, not relying on just one or two. They were skating with some of the best teams in their birth year, often just falling short in close games.
And they were scoring —nine goals across four straight losses — just not at a rate good enough to outpace their opponents.
The team was in need of a spark, looking for just one opportunity to get things back on track. That chance presented itself in the form of a matchup against fellow 2006-born club Dynamo St. Petersburg.
Things started ominously, however, as Dynamo would strike first to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Quickly after that, Egor Shpakov finished a feed from Mikhail Tsaregorodtsev and fired a blast to knot things up 1-1. Just over 30 seconds after, Nikolay Meshkantsov put St. Petersburg back up 2-1. A mere 34 seconds later, Danil Sachan would make it a 2-2 game.
The back-and-forth nature of the contest early on suggested getting back into the win column was not going to be an easy task for the Silver Lions.
After a lull in the action, SKA would allow a third goal, falling behind 3-2, trailing for the third time in the game.
Determined to even things up yet again, Tsaregorodtsev flipped a quick shot into the net, tying it up at 3-3. Artem Bilinchuk would give SKA their first lead of the game when he finished off a pretty passing play between Makar Golovanov and Nikolay Menshikov. A minute-and-a-half later, Rostislav Zakharov got in on the scoring as he put the Silver Lions up 5-3.
Dynamo would add a late goal, but it was enough for SKA to skate away with their first victory of the season, finally in the win column.
Reinvigorated, next up for the Silver Lions was an appearance at the 2022 St. Petersburg Cup, where they looked like a completely different team.
After defeating Dynamo Junior St. Petersburg 7-4 in their group-stage tilt, they got the better of SKA St. Petersburg in the opening playoff round, downing them 6-5 and 5-2 in two games.
The final obstacle for the Silver Lions was SKA Strelna, who entered the final with an overall record of 6-2-0 on the season and ranked No. 10 in the world amongst ‘06s.
Unfazed by the magnitude of the matchup, the Silver Lions cruised past Strelna 6-0, and into the Russian Top-10 Rankings.
Balanced scoring was a main reason they emerged victorious among the field of participants. Kondrat Reshetnikov (3G, 2A), Tsaregorodtsev (2G, 3A) and Joé Muissou (2G, 2A) helped provide the spark to the offense.
Not only a leader at the tournament, Tsaregorodtsev’s penchant for finding the back of the net has helped him also tally seven points (3G, 4A) in regular-season play to lead the team overall with 12 points.
If their tournament performance was any indication of what the future holds, the Silver Lions should be very excited for the rest of the season.
In the midst of a five-game win streak and debuting in World Hockey Hub’s rankings for the first time, these boys should be riding high on confidence in facing whatever comes next.