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20 Oct 2013 | Davide Tuniz

Host teams Nottingham Panthers and Dab.Docler Dunaujvaros advances to Continental Cup semifinals


Both home teams win the group stage of the second round of the Continental Cup and qualify for the semi-finals in November. Nottingham Panthers will fly to Asiago, Italy, while in Vojens , Denmark , there will be Hungary's Dunaujvaros . Both teams organized , as mentioned, these groups of second phase and both had to wait the last game to get the pass to the semifinals.

In Group B, played on the ice of the National Ice Center in Nottingham, the host Panthers faced the Dutch HYS The Hague, the Latvians Juniors Riga and the Spanish Bipolo Vitoria, that have replaced at the last gasp the Estonian Tallinn Viiking Sport, winners of the first round, who waived the trip to Britain for visas requested too late. As expected Panthers and Juniors Riga, Dinamo Riga's farm team, arrived at the last act with a perfect record, deciding all out in the face-to-face : the British won Vitoria 5-3 and the Dutch champions 7-3 , while the young Latvians, led by Latvia U20 national team coach Leonids Tambijevs, have collected 6 points by winning 8-3 with the Hague and 7-2 against Vitoria. The final battle was a real clash between generations, with the Panthers ' roster, as quite common for English teams, which collects many veterans for an average age of 29 years, while the Juniors, true to their names,  had an average of 19 years , with the goalkeeper Maris Jucers, 26 years, by far the veteran of the group. But the freshness of the young Latvian was not enough : in front of 3200 spectators the Panthers took a 3-1 win and the qualification showing a tough game , made ​​especially for intimidate the young opponents. The key player during the tournament for Panthers was the Canadian striker Matt Francis, 4 goals and 4 assists in 3 games, including the decisive opening goal in the last match, scored short-handed. Not much to report about The Hague and Vitoria campaigns, with the Dutch probably more disappointing then the Spaniards who came to Nottingham in a pleasure trip and have honored the tournament, finishing last, as expected , also beaten 5-3 by The Hague in last match of their European adventure.

Also in Group C the verdict was postponed to the last game but with an extra thrill to the hosts of the Dab.Docler Dunaujvaros: the Hungarians suffered a yield point in the first game, won on penalties against SC Miercurea Ciuc, beaten 3-2 after recapture the draw with five minutes to play. Most accredited rivals, Poland's Cracovia Krakow, in the meantime hadn't too many problems in getting rid of the Slavija Ljubljana, beaten 2-0. Three points for both teams, however, on the second day with opponents reversed: 2-0 again for Cracovia and 3-0 for Dunaujvaros . All set in the last round, with the Poles with a point more, so just one result, the victory, counts for Dunaujvaros: hopes fade for the 2,000 fans in the stands when at 12:43 the Krakow is 2-0 . But a brilliant second period - combined with a roster of Cracovia markedly weaker compared with recent years - closed with a partial 3-0 and a third part passed to control the game, give the final 5-3 to the Hungarians and the qualification, frustrating once again the European ambitions of Krakow, which each year is focusing on the European campaign, but finishing always a handful of flies in his hand. Good campaign for Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc, who let its light shines, taking three points from the game against Slavija - a simple supporting actor - and that lost a great chance in the opening game, lost at shootouts.

Now Continental cup lands in semi-finals in November to determine the two teams who will reach Donbass Donets'k and Rouen in January superfinals

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