Spengler Cup 2013
CSKA Moscow v Vitkovice Steel 3-2 OT
Despite losing both their previous games, Vitkovice must have been fancying their chances of causing an upset against a CSKA team missing offensive threats Radulov, Grigorenko and Sergei Fedorov.
The first period was a tense affair with both sides feeling each other out but there were a couple of half chances.
Kucsera picking up a drop pass from Kolouch should have done better than to send his shot wide from a good position
CSKA responded and thought they had scored.
Prokhorkin saw his initial shot saved but he took the rebound around the net and tried a wraparound attempt that looked in the net for all intensive purposes. Only the replay showing that it was the butt end of Sindelar’s stick that kept the puck out, not that he knew much about it.
Neither team could take advantage of power play opportunities but after their second man advantage of the game, Vitkovice would break the deadlock.
A huge slap shot from Stehlik at the blue line beat Stana all ends up as he didn’t see the puck until it his the meshing behind him.
Exactly 30 seconds later and the Czech’s would double their lead.
A cross ice feed from Huna found Roman and his effort was kept out by a combination of Stana and the goalpost but the rebound fell kindly for Svacina to tap home.
CSKA would fire 18 shots during the second period and finally they would make one count at the midway marker of the game.
A backhand spin around attempt from Zainullin taking everyone including Sindelar by surprise and the puck snuck through his 5-hole.
A power play late in the period would give CSKA the chance to tie up the game and with eight seconds left they would do just that.
A pass come shot from Prokhorkin was expertly tipped in by Zharkov.
With the tournament at the knockout stage, it was no surprise that the final twenty minutes would become a little tentative at times as both teams feared making a game costing mistake.
Sindelar did a good job of keeping CSKA at bay with his glove hand failing to give any rebounds for waiting forwards, whilst the CSKA penalty kill managed to keep Vitkovice power play unit quiet on their single chance of the period.
Just 50 seconds were left on the clock when Huzevka took a blatant holding penalty to give the Russians their first power play.
They wouldn’t be able to capitalise in regulation and it was off to overtime.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and CSKA were just that as a shot from Misharin took a wicked deflection into the path of Rylov who fired the puck into the net with Sindelar left way out of position. That goal 46 seconds into extra hockey mean CSKA progress and the valiant Vitkovice leave Switzerland.
Best Player of the game:
CSKA – Nikolai Prokhorkin
Vitkovice – Filip Sindelar
Team Canada v Rochester Americans 6-3
What looked like being an easy victory for Team Canada, ended up being a nervous game for the Spengler Cup holders after almost blowing an early advantage.
After twenty minutes of play, Canada had earned themselves a three goal lead, getting the best of their North American counterparts in a fast and furious period of hockey.
A swift break out from the Canadians enabled Ritchie to work his way between two defenseman before finishing with aplomb past Lieuwen to open the scoring.
There would be no further scoring until the last five minutes of the opening frame as Rochester gave up a pair of stupid penalties and they would be made to pay on both occasions.
Micflikier would tap in the first from a rebound of the inside of Lieuwen’s pad before expertly tipping home a shot from the point by Spylo.
Matt Hackett would replace his counterpart in the Amerks net and straight away made a big save to deny McLean. That save would immediately lead to Rochester getting themselves on the board with a blast from Hutchings down the right side beating Chris Mason over his shoulder.
Team Canada would re-instate their three goal advantage as a shot from Walser beat Hackett 5-hole who wasn’t helped by his defensemen neither blocking the shot or giving him a clear view.
Rochester would respond inside a minute with arguably their best goal of the tournament.
A tic-tac-toe play from Varone to Adam and then Armia to finish it off was a joy to watch and brought the Amerks within one goal of Team Canada.
You could send the momentum shift for the rest of the period as Rochester pushed hard for a tying goal, no one going closer than Armia to doing so.
The intermission was only ever going to favour Team Canada as they needed to regroup, and Allen York come out to take the goaltending duties from Chris Mason for the second change of net minders during this game.
Rochester would still push hard for the crucial next goal, committing men forward and the line of Varone, Adam and Armia looking a big threat.
It would be Rochester’s lack of discipline and Canada’s impressive power play unit that would swing the game back in the latter’s favour. Haydar with a tape pass from down low for Ritchie to fire home his second goal of the game and stretch Canada’s lead to 5-3.
There would be no second comeback from the Amerks and Canada iced the victory with an empty netter from Giroux inside the final minute.
Best Player of the game:
Canada – Byron Ritchie
Rochester – Luke Adam
Monday’s semi-finals will be as follows:
HC Davos v CSKA Moscow
Geneve Sevette v Team Canada
Although I didn’t post on my preview, my pre-tournament picks were CSKA Moscow and Geneve Sevette. Both semi-finals should be intriguing affairs and promise some great hockey.