Source: Spengler Cup
Defending champion Team Canada was already stopped in the quarterfinals by Orebro. Tactically exceptional and strong one-on-one, the Swedes cruised to a 3-1 victory. In the second pre-semifinal game, HC Davos narrowly got past Helsinki.
After falling behind early in its first two games, Team Canada started more cautiously against Orebro. Still, the Canadians got themselves in trouble early when Radek Muzik took a major penalty and game misconduct. The Swedes had many shots on net during the man-advantage. But Canada’s goaltender Michael Hutchinson was only beaten on the 18th shot, when Filip Berglund scored exactly twelve minutes into the game. The reaction of the team from overseas was surprisingly tame. Optically, the Canadians may have had an advantage, but were unable to create dangerous scoring opportunities against the Swedes, who were playing disciplined and strong to the man. Orebro’s goalkeeper Jonas Arntzen also exuded confidence and certainty with his exceptional positioning.
The deciding goal came 21 second into the final period: on the powerplay, Linus Oberg took the puck across practically the entire ice and successfully finished. Subsequently, the Swedes focused primarily on controlling the game. Some suspense only returned to the game six and a half minutes before the end, when Chris DiDomenico cut the lead in half. But that ended up being mere aesthetics for the Canadians. In the final minute, Mathias Brome’s empty-net goal sealed the final score.
For the first time since its debut at the Spengler Cup in 1984, the Canadians are going home with three losses and without a win. Also, it is only the second time they were eliminated in the quarterfinals.
In the second pre-semifinal game, HC Davos qualified for tomorrow’s semifinal matchup against Ambri-Piotta with a 3-2 win over IFK Helsinki. In the 54th minute Marc Wieser scored the game-winner on the powerplay in this high-level, balanced game.
With its resolute, aggressive engagement in one-on-one matchups, Davos was visibly determined to make up for the shameful 9-2 loss against Sparta Prague. That was to be expected, though. Surprising, however, was the tempo the Finns put forward. They controlled the game in the first period with their quick, determined attacks (16-5 shots on net).
Davos was more prepared for its opponent in the second period. They interrupted the Finns more effectively with earlier forechecking, bringing the Helsinki-Express to a stutter. At the same time the hosts became more dangerous on the offense (15 shots on net in the second period). Their persistence paid off. Andres Ambuhl buried the rebound after a shot by Klas Dahlbeck for a 2-1 lead. The 6,275 spectators in the sold out Eisstadion witnessed an attractive game, also because the Finns remained a constant threat on the counterattack but failed to get past the secure HCD goaltender Sandro Aeschlimann. The suspense reached its maximum when Eetu Koivistoinen tied it at 2-2 64 seconds into the third period. The game-winner was scored during a 4-minute penalty to Roni Hirvonen for high-sticking Aleksi Saarela in the face. Marc Wieser finished an accurate pass from Corvi in the 54th minute. With great discipline, the hosts then took care of business.