Dynamo St. Petersburg emerges victorious at 2022 tournament
Held annually since the 2016-17 season, the St. Petersburg Cup took place last weekend. This year’s tournament for 2007-born clubs followed the customary format, with 16 teams all vying to be the last one standing.
After the field of 16 teams participated in a round of single-elimination games, only eight squads remained. Those teams took part in a two-game series in both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. That all culminated with the championship game, which reverted back to a single elimination, winner-take-all match on Saturday.
This year’s championship matchup was a rematch of the final from last year’s tournament, with Dynamo St. Petersburg (7-4-1) taking on SKA St. Petersburg (11-3-0). SKA emerged the victor in 2021, besting Dynamo 2-1 in a tightly contested game.
Dynamo and SKA are two names synonymous with success not only within the St. Petersburg District limits, but in Russian youth hockey as a whole. It came as no surprise that these two rivals would clash in the championship game of this tournament, especially given the impressive run by Dynamo in the preliminary rounds.
What stood out throughout Dynamo’s tournament run was the incredible balance from the team in all aspects of its game. The offense was clicking at a staggering rate, filling the back of opponents’ nets with incredible ease. And defensively, they allowed little to nothing for a team to strike back at them.
After kicking off their tournament with an astounding 23-1 win against Zanevsky Molot, they had no issues in a two-game set vs. Dynamo Peter with resounding 8-1 and 10-1 wins.
In the semifinals, the task would get tougher as the opponent switched to SKA Strelna. The No. 4-ranked ‘07 team in Russia, Strelna presented the toughest matchup of the tournament yet. As Dynamo’s offense was highlighted in previous contests, defense and goaltending took center stage here. After edging Strelna in a shootout 3-2 in Game 1, Dynamo finished off the series with a 2-1 victory in Game 2.
Going an undefeated 5-0-0 heading into the final game, Dynamo had handled business almost perfectly at both ends of the ice and had their sights set on payback. The loss in the championship game from last season still fresh in their minds, there was extra motivation for Dynamo as they took to the ice against No. 5-ranked SKA St. Petersburg.
Despite the best efforts of SKA, Dynamo’s overwhelming balance of offense, defense and goaltending would once again serve as the perfect ingredients for a 4-2 victory, crowning them champions.
All in all, 14 skaters for Dynamo tallied at least two points at the tournament, led by the incredible depth provided by Erik Pastukhov (8G, 8A), Daniil Prokhorov (14G, 1A), Alexander Kotov (6G, 7A) and Gleb Semenov (1G, 10A). This group made up four of the top five scorers at the tournament.
Not to mention the stellar goaltending Dynamo received from Viktor Levchenko and Mikhail Tatulyan, who recorded 1.21 and 1.33 goals-against averages, respectively.
The story, however, does not end there.
After recording three wins against Top-25 teams in the world last weekend, Dynamo will reconnect with SKA St. Petersburg later this week. Now the opportunity for revenge sits with SKA, as two of the top teams in St. Petersburg get set to clash for the third time in eight days.