Looking for the last two semi-finalists
Article - Looking for the last two semi-finalists
As the winners of their respective groups, HC Ambri-Piotta and Sparta Prague are already set for tomorrow’s semifinals. Their opponents will be determined in the matchups Orebro vs. Team Canada (3.10pm) and HC Davos vs. IFK Helsinki (8.15pm) today, Thursday.
That is not how HCD envisioned its Spengler Cup script. Instead of taking first place in the group stage with two wins and qualifying directly for the semifinals, it suffered a complete shipwreck in a 9-2 loss to Sparta Prague. Now it has to go through a semi-final matchup against IFK Helsinki and will there need a win to qualify for the semis. “Now it is already on to the knockout stage. We must stand up”, says HCD defenseman Dominik Egli. “Against Team Canada we showed what we are capable of. That is where we have to continue against IFK Helsinki. The Finns are probably a little beaten up. They lost their first two games. They have nothing to lose against us. I think IFK Helsinki will try to put us under pressure from the beginning. But there are no excuses for us. Against IFK Helsinki we simply have to perform and win.”
The Canadians, too, will be looking to make amends. Because, prior to this year, Team Canada had never lost its first two games. Nonetheless, one should not count out the Canadians in the battle for the tournament title. Then they will certainly not give up. On the contrary: every Canadian player wears the national team jersey with pride. For that reason, they never lack that unwavering desire to win and all-out effort. And based on experience, Team Canada tends to improve throughout the tournament. Not surprisingly, as the thrown together squad jumps right into the Spengler Cup after only two team practice sessions. The unit becomes more cohesive with every game. Yet, on its way to a successful title defense, Team Canada must take the detour through the quarterfinals this time. So, there is no day off. But the Canadians have gone on to win the tournament despite being in this uncomfortable position already once before - in 2016. Then they won their quarterfinal matchup against Hradec Kralove 5-1, followed by a 3-2 win over Dinamo Minsk in the semifinals, and eventually taking the final with a 5-2 triumph over Lugano.
This time around, Orebro HK will be the quarterfinal obstacle in Team Canada’s way. The Swedes, in their Spengler Cup premiere, secured their first three points in tournament history with a 5-2 win over IFK Helsinki. They appealed with two powerplay goals and good structure of play. Last year’s HCD goal-getter Mathias Brome, now a forward for Orebro, wants nothing more than add himself to the Spengler Cup scorer list.
Quelle: HCD-Onlineredaktion Foto: Keystone