Team Canada eases into semifinals
Team Canada qualified for the semifinals on Thursday night with a convincing 5-1 victory over HK Mountfield. There the defending champions will face off against Dynamo Minsk on Friday afternoon.
The Canadians set things straight early on. In the opening period they took advantage of two of their four power play opportunities. After no less than 259 seconds it was Andrew Ebbett who put the team from overseas ahead on the first power play. Maxim Noreau, the second “Bernese” on Team Canada, then increased the lead 19 seconds before the first intermission with a snipe from long range. Midway through the game Brandon Gormley made it 3-0 during 4-on-4 play. Shortly before the second intermission Mountfield’s captain Jaroslav Bednar put the Czechs on the board on the power play, thus avoiding the potentially first shutout of the current Spengler Cup tournament. Mason Raymond and Francis Pare added a goal apiece in the closing period to seal the walkover victory for the Canadians. In an absolutely fair game played in a harmless, non-aggressive way, the referees, due to the zero-tolerance interpretation of the rules, handed out 16 minor penalties – ten against Mountfield and six against Team Canada.
In Friday afternoon’s semifinal there will now be a reunion of sorts. Dynamo Minsk and Team Canada already played each other in the first game of Group Cattini on December 26. The Belarusians handily took that matchup 7-4.
Senn magical as Davos moves into semifinals
Thanks to a fantastic Gilles Senn in net, HC Davos qualified for the Spengler Cup semifinals on Thursday evening with a 3-1 victory over Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. Next, a Swiss showdown versus HC Lugano awaits them on Friday evening.
The outstanding atmosphere amongst the 6300 spectators at the once again sold out Vaillant Arena obviously fired up the HCD players. Davos showed no signs of fatigue in their third tournament game within 50 hours. Only in the opening period were the Russians, on a day’s rest, superior on the ice. Yet that is when the hosts shone with efficiency on the finish. Tuomo Ruutu (6.) scored the go-ahead goal on the power play. And three minutes later Drew Shore doubled up for his team. He securely finished a textbook combination that Sven Jung had initiated with a through pass to Ruutu. Gilles Senn showed a fantastic game in net for Davos. Only Anatoly Golyshev (18.) was able to beat the HCD netminder with a snipe to the top net corner. Senn stopped 31 Russian shots, leading to a lofty save percentage of 96.88%. In the game with the fewest goals scored this tournament, it came as no surprise that Senn and his Russian counterpart Ivan Lasutin were awarded best player honours after the game.