Champions Hockey League (CHL) - weekend 2 review

Champions Hockey League (CHL) - weekend 2 review

10 Sep 2018 | A Brit On Thin Ice
 

The second weekend of the CHL has come to an end with every team playing another two games, leaving only just two remaining matches in the group stage of the tournament.

 
 
 
 

The only teams to maintain unbeaten record are Czech Republic's HC Pilsen (four wins out of four in regulation) and Swiss SC Bern (three wins in regulation and one in overtime). Meanwhile Skellefteå AIK (SWE) and HV Zug (SWI) remained unbeaten in regulation having both won three games, but losing one match in overtime.

Three players have scored 8 points in four games, but Red Bull München's Trevor Parkes leads the Total Points competition by virtue of also being the CHL's Top Goal Scorer with 6. The Canadian forward is in his third season in the German DEL but has previously played over 200 games in the AHL. Those have primarily been with Detroit Red Wings development team, Grand Rapid Griffins. Top scoring Swede in the competition with 7 points (1G-6A) is Skellefteå's super striker, Joakim Lindström (photo) who has played 200 games in the AHL and 150 in the NHL.

Unexpected losers in the competition are Finnish TPS, Swedish champions Växjö Lakers (both with 3 losses) and Germany's Eisbären Berlin, who have lost all four matches. These teams will struggle to make it into the knockout stages now.

This has been the most exciting CHL since it started in 2014/5, mainly because the gaps between the teams are far less than before.

Cardiff Devils (GBR), for example, may not have won a game, but are at a whole other level to the team that lost 10-1, 7-3 and 5-1 in their away games last year. The Elite League champions were leading top team, SC Bern 2-1 with 16:06 to go in the game until a late run of goals lead to 3-2 to the home side at the final whistle.

Surprise of the tournament remains Italian, HC Bolzano who have beaten Finnish legends Helsinki IFK home and away as well beating Skellefteå AIK in overtime at home. I use the word "surprise" cautiously, however, because this is team has nearly 2000 AHL games of experience. Wins against Polish GKS Tychy, who so far have lost every match, will guarantee the EBEL champions qualification to the knockout stages.

The final rounds of the group phase of the competition will take place on 9/10 and 16/17 October and will feature back to back matches against the same opponents. So, see you then to find out who's in and who's out of this year's Champions Hockey League.


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