Vityaz Podolsk Wins the Moscow City Mayor’s Cup

After three consecutive wins, two of which were obtained in overtime, Vityaz Podolsk has won the Moscow City Mayor’s Cup. Vityaz played the last game of the Cup against Dinamo Moscow, managed to bring the game into overtime, where they won 3-2.

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Although Vityaz is less successful than Dinamo in terms of its history, the team from Podolsk has had tremendous luck for suffering little from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it is the only team participating in the 2020 Moscow City Mayor’s cup, which has not canceled its preseason camp. The results of this piece of luck showed throughout the whole tournament.

Vadim Shipachev, Dmitriy Kagarlitsky, Dynamo Moscow
Dynamo Moscow’s Vadim Shipachev and Dmitriy Kagarlitsky (Image courtesy of the mayor and Moscow government)

The top-level teams from Moscow traditionally play in a short tournament a few days before the season starts in Russia, which will be Sept. 2 this year.

Formally speaking, Vityaz has made history this week by becoming the first non-Moscow team to win the Moscow City Mayor’s Cup during its 13-year-old history. Truth be told, Podolsk – the town which Vityaz calls it’s home – lies several miles away from Moscow’s southern border.

Besides Vityaz and Dinamo, Spartak and CSKA Moscow also participated in the tournament. As all the teams from Moscow have suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic, it was Vityaz Podolsk, who powered through the whole tournament without a single loss. A 3-2 victory against Spartak Moscow followed another 3-2 win over CSKA. And the success against Dinamo concluded the tournament for Vityaz.

The Rink Knows Little Hockey History

During the game against Dinamo, two Vityaz players turned out to be exceptionally useful: goalkeeper Ilya Yezhov and forward Justin Danforth. Yezhov kept his goal shut for the first two periods, whereas Danforth participated in all the three goals assisting in one of them and scoring the other two.

According to the rules of the tournament, Vityaz managed to win the Cup thanks to the draw in the regular time of the game, which was achieved thanks to the goals by Linus Hulistrom and Danforth. Dinamo evened the game with goals from Vadim Shipachev and Dmitry Kagalitsky. The overtime goal by Danforth just made the tournament victory of Vityaz more acceptable for all.

Dinamo lost all of their games in the tournament, playing especially poor in the third period of all three matches. The team’s captain, Shipachev admitted after the game that he was not in his top form yet and hoped to gain it during the week left before the start of the season. He sounded optimistic and business-like and promised that “it all will be well with us,” while speaking about Dinamo’s prospects in the new season.

Old Rivals Help Each Other Gain Condition

CSKA and Spartak played the other game of the third day of the tournament, with CSKA overpowering their way to a 5-2 victory. This is a remarkable achievement for CSKA at this moment because the team had no preseason camp due to the pandemic. Thus, the players of CSKA did their best while playing against Spartak, who had more time to prepare for the tournament.

CSKA and Spartak Moscow play each other in the run-up to the KHL regular season on August 29, 2020

Due to its victories against Spartak and Dinamo, CSKA came second in the table. Spartak finished in third place with Dinamo fourth.

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The tournament has shown that Moscow teams are still far from being in top form. The couple of days left before the start of the new season will not be enough to become top-conditioned. This means that the teams from outside Moscow will do their best to gather points at the beginning of the season before their rivals from the capital city get into top form.

Now the KHL teams are just eager to start their season and get into top condition while playing regular games. Just the way hockey players used to do back in the 60s and early 70s.