The Spengler Cup as a boost for the championship
Article - The Spengler Cup as a boost for the championship
Four of five club teams brought their Spengler Cup momentum into their respective championships. Two even made it into their leagues’ semifinals. The last team standing, Orebro HK was eliminated from the title race just yesterday.
Is it a tragic twist of fate or the mood of the hockey gods that only Spengler Cup champion Ambri-Piotta was unable to use the tournament during Boxing Week to spur their championship campaign? Finishing 12th after 52 rounds, the team from the Leventina missed a pre-playoff spot in the Swiss League by 6 points. Before the Spengler Cup Ambri had already only been sitting in 11th place and thus entered the traditional tournament an underdog. But Ambri won in impressive fashion leaving the supporters of the Biancoblu hopeful that the euphoria would carry the team up in the standings after the turn of the year. After all, it was the most emotional triumph in club history. Ambri GM Paolo Duca denies that the Boxing Week effort may have in the end cost Ambri a spot in the pre-playoffs. Although the strain may have been big, it also had the effect of a great training camp, “and what happened in those six days mostly inspired us.”
The two Scandinavian representatives fared much better in their respective championships after the Spengler Cup. IFK Helsinki as well as Orebro HK both reached the playoff semifinals. Helsinki was denied a final berth by CHL champion Tappara Tampere. The team from the Finnish capital was eliminated 4-1 in the best-of-five series. Orebro also fell short in the semifinals. However, not much was amiss against Skelleftea. Orebro lost by a score of only 1-0 on two occasions, and the series ended 4-2 in favour of Skelleftea AIK.
Spengler Cup finalist Sparta Prague also comfortably qualified for the playoffs in the Czech Extraliga. Finishing in third place may have rightfully fueled the ambition for the first championship title since 2007. But drawing defending champion Trinec, which surprisingly only finished in 6th, in the quarterfinal was unlucky. The title holder then hit its stride in the playoffs and ended Sparta’s season with a 4-2 series victory.
HC Davos suffered a similar fate. The team from Grisons qualified directly for the playoffs with relative ease. As the fifth-place team, the third-placed ZSC Lions awaited them in the quarterfinals. Although HCD played on the same level as the championship aspirant, the series was eventually lost 4-1.
Quelle: Spengler Cup-Onlineredaktion Foto: Keystone