Defending champion Team Canada is back in the Spengler Cup final. The Canadians secured a final berth with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Dynamo Minsk on Friday afternoon.
After the Belarusians had pulled their goalie in favour of a sixth skater 104 seconds before the end of regulation time, things went haywire in front of the Canadian net. But then it was the post that saved the already beaten keeper Zach Fucale. And so it remained 3-2 for the team from overseas. The Canadians had paved the road to success in the opening period, when Marc-Antoine Pouliot put his team ahead (8.) and Kirill Gotovets unluckily redirected a Chris DiDomenico pass into his own net (15.) during a 5-on-3 power play to make it 2-0.
Minsk only really found its way back into the game in the second period, mostly due to five minors giving the opponents several man advantages. Andrey Stepanov’s marker in 22nd minute to cut the deficit in half then invigorated the game. The decisive pass came from former Lugano forward Fredrik Petterson, playing his first game for the Belarusians. Because the Canadians played attentive and disciplined defense and the two netminders Fucale and Ben Scrivens were brilliant, it was not until the 53rd minute that Chay Genoway’s finish on a counter attack lead to the third goal for the Canadians. On a two-man advantage Matt Ellison was able to narrow the lead to 3-2; yet the score remained after a dramatic finish.
Dynamo Minsk – Team Canada 2:3 (0:2, 1:0, 1:1)
Attendance: 6300 (sold out). - REF Fonselius/Wiegand, Borga/Kovacs.
Scoring: 8. Pouliot (Micflikier, DiDomenico) 0:1. 15. DiDomenico (Noreau, Pouliot/Penalties Korobov, Drosd) 0:2. 22. Stepanov (Pettersson, Korobov/Penalty Emmerton) 1:2. 53. Chay Genoway (Pouliot) 1:3. 56. Ellison (Korobov, Kovyrshin/Penalties Pare, Heshka) 2:3.
Penalties: 8 minors, plus 10 minutes (Graborenko) against Dynamo Minsk, 6 minors, plus 10 minutes (Heshka) against Team Canada.
Dynamo Minsk: Scrivens; Graborenko, Gotovets; Korobov, Lisovez; Shinkevitsh, Chenkel; Pettersson, Ellison, Klinkhammer; Stas, Stepanov, Komarov; Pavlovitsh, Drosd, Kulakov; Materuchin, Kovyrshin, Kitarov; Palushay, Karaban.
Team Canada: Fucale; Noreau, Gormley; Heshka, Chay Genoway; Parlett, Flood; Vukovic; DiDomenico, Pouliot, Micflikier; Ebbett, McIntyre, Raymond; Pare, Sheppard, Campbell; Spaling, Emmerton, Colby Genoway; Katic.
Notes: 59. (58:35) Timeout Dynamo Minsk, after 59:16 empty-netted.