Lugano takes direct route to semifinals
With a 4-3 victory over HK Mountfield on Wednesday afternoon HC Lugano secured top spot in Group Torriani and, thus, a direct semifinal berth at the 90th Spengler Cup.
The matchup between the Ticinesi and the Czech club from the town of Hradec Kralove was decided halfway through regulation time. Within 88 seconds Luca Fazzini with an accurate wrist shot and reinforcement Ryan Vesce extended Lugano’s lead to 4-1. Up that point the game had been even. Gregory Hoffmann had put the Ticinesi ahead on a long-range shot redirect on the man advantage, and, after Jiri Simanek’s equalizer, gave the Swiss the lead again with a fine solo for his second marker. Mountfield had the upper hand in the opening period outshooting their opponents 16-7. And, shortly before the third goal against them, Radislav Dej missed the 2-2 equalizer, when he failed to beat Lugano keeper Daniel Manzato on a short-handed breakaway.
After the 4-1 goal Ondrej Katecl took over for Patrik Ryber, who was not at fault for any of the goals, in net for Mountfield. The number 2 goaltender shut the door, while Andris Dzernis short-handed and Rudolf Cerveny brought their team within one goal to make for a highly exciting end to the game. But the final eight minutes and, in the end, an extra skater were not enough for the Czechs to even the score.
Davos only finish in second place despite win
At the 90th Spengler Cup HC Davos defeated Dynamo Minsk 5-4 in an particularly spectacular game. Based on the goal differential the Belarusians still secured first place in the group ahead of the hosts and Team Canada, who both finished with the same point total.
The sell-out crowd of 6300 at Vaillant Arena witnessed a wild game. In the middle period Davos was, in theory, temporarily in first place of the group, when they took a 4-1 lead. The “Bündner” resolutely took command of the game after an unlucky start with a short-handed goal by Minsk’s Canadian Rob Klinkhammer. Still in the first period Adam Hall tied it up on the power play. Noah Schneeberger used the next man advantage for a Davos lead. Then it was Perttu Lindgren, who finished a textbook combination and Drew Shore marked the 4-1. The Belarusians reacted promptly as Danila Karaban and Alexander Pavlovitsh cut the deficit after some carelessness on Davos’ defence. In the middle period no fewer than 5 goals were scored within nine minutes and ten seconds. When Enzo Corvi netted the 5-3, Davos’ first place hopes sprung again. But Pavlovitsh put in his veto by bringing Minsk within a goal on the power play.
While Minsk has directly qualified for the semifinals on Friday, Davos will play on Thursday evening at 8.15pm in the quarterfinal versus Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. In the first quarterfinal, Team Canada will face HC Mountfield at 3pm.