By Spenglercup.ch

Opening game victory for Lugano

Last year’s finalist Lugano has successfully started into the 90th edition of the Spengler Cup. The Ticinesi defeated Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 4-2 in the opening game on Monday night.

Lugano’s reinforcement James Wisnewski put his team ahead with a precise shot from a distance on the first power play. The man advantage lasted for only seven seconds. Dmitry Monya capped a fine solo effort with a slick finish to tie it up for the Russians. The Ticinesi decided the game in the middle period with two goals within 71 seconds. First, Raffaele Sannitz redirected a long-range shot by Ryan Gardner into the net. Then, the 38-year-old Ryan Gardner showed his continued reliability in front of the net of Avtomobilist keeper Vladimir Sachatzky, who had replaced Ivan Lisutin after the second goal against. On the power play, Aryom Gareyev then brought his team back into the game with a goal twelve minutes before the end of regulation time. Yet, Lugano’s solid goaltender Elvis Merzlikins prevented to equalizer. Linus Klasen put the game away for good with an empty-netter 20 seconds before the end.

Lugano, thanks to its opening game victory, will get the day off Tuesday, while Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg will face off against HK Mountfield in the second game of Group Torriani in the afternoon.

Dynamo Minsk announces its ambition

Defending champion Team Canada started its campaign at the 90th Spengler Cup with a loss. The Canadians suffered a 7-4 defeat at the hands of Dynamo Minsk, despite having led the game 3-1 and 4-3.

Team Canada and Dynamo Minsk wore each other down in a high-level, fast-paced battle with five goals already in the first 17 minutes of play. The Canadians showed a fierce reaction to Alexander Materchin’s go-ahead goal. Andrew Ebbett tied things up soon after, then Maxim Noreau as well as Mason Raymond took advantage of a couple of power play opportunities to put their team up by two. Yevgeny Kovyrshin cut Minsk’s deficit to one before the first intermission. Team Canada dominated parts of the game, but Ben Scrivens, Dynamo’s Canadian goaltender, kept the Belarusians in it with several outstanding saves. And then Yevgeny Lisovez’s 3-3 in the 31st minute blew the game wide open again.

To start the third period, Noreau gave the Canadians a 4-3 lead with the third power play goal, but then the Eastern Europeans came up big. Dmitry Korobov, Kovyrshin, Sergei Drosd, and Nikita Komarov (empty netter) delivered the ultimately comfortable win for Dynamo Minsk. The Belarusian’s efficiency was brilliant, as they required only 19 shots on Drew MacIntyre’s net to score their seven goals. On the other hand, the high pace early on seemed to have taken its toll on the Canadians.