Two semi-final premieres
Article - Two semi-final premieres
On Friday the 94th Spengler Cup will feature to semi-final premieres: In the Battle of Switzerland, HC Davos will face off against Ambri-Piotta with a final berth on the line for the first time in tournament history at 8.15pm. The matchup between Sparta Prague and Örebro HK in which the first finalist will be determined at 3.10pm, is new as well.
In their first Spengler Cup appearance in 2019 HC Ambri-Piotta missed advancing into the final game by a hair. It lost its semi-final game against Ocelari Trinec 3-2 in overtime. The overtime knockout blow to the Ticinesi was provided by Matej Stransky, the forward currently on HC Davos. This year no one shall stand in the way of Ambri’s path to the final. The game will be special for Ambri’s Dario Burgler. He played for Davos from 2007 to 2014. In 2009 and 2011 he won the Swiss championship with Davos and in 2011 the Spengler Cup. “This tournament so far, we distinguished ourselves with efficiency and cold-bloodedness on the finish, especially in important situations. So, in both games we were able to react instantly when the opponent came within one goal”, says the current Ambri forward. “But we have to keep working hard, become even more tight on defense, and be better off the puck as well, if we want to move into the final”, warns Burgler.
HCD forward Enzo Corvi expects a massive offensive from Ambri-Piotta. “The Ticinesi have already had two rest days, while we are playing our fourth game in four days. Because of that, they will come out guns blazing from the moment the puck drops. This will be a hard-fought battle”, the center predicts. HCD will do everything to move into the final for the first time since 2012.
In the first semi-final, the traditional Czech club Sparta Prague will match up against a relative newbie on the international stage; Orebro HK has only been playing in the highest Swedish league since 2014. Sparta Prague has already won the Spengler Cup in 1962 and 1963, for Orebro this is the first tournament appearance in Davos. The two teams share the ambition to rise to the top of their respective national championships. After a long low, Sparta Prague finally wants to be national champion again after 15 years, Orebro’s management wants to reach Sweden’s elite as soon as possible. As such a Spengler Cup triumph would of course come at an opportune time. Sparta Prague are the favourites following a 2-1 win over Team Canada and a 9-2 blowout win against Davos. Thanks to its outstanding defensive tactics, Orebro eliminated defending champion Team Canada with a 3-1 quarterfinal victory. Thus, the theme of today’s semi-final looks to be: Czech offensive firepower against Swedish defensive concrete.
Text: Spengler Cup-Onlineredaktion Foto: Keystone