Champions Hockey League (CHL) - semifinals review

Champions Hockey League (CHL) - semifinals review

17 Jan 2019Adrian J»
 

Tuesday night in the Czech Republic and Wednesday night in Austria saw the second and final legs of the Champions Hockey League semi finals decide who will be meeting in the final on 5 February.

 
 
 
 

Frölunda Indians (SWE) v HC Pilsen (CZE)

Frölunda Indians travelled HC Pilsen with a 6-3 lead from the first game. Both clubs knew that the home team would need to get ahead early and grind out the four, or more, goals needed for victory. But Frölunda were not in the mood for favours, or making a game of it.

The competition's top scorer, Ryan Lasch crushed any thoughts of a home ice victory after just 3:12 with a beautiful individual effort. Faking the shot he drew Pilsen keeper Dominik Frodl out of position only to go anti-clockwise round the goal and place the puck in the net with a textbook wrap-around number.

Frölunda stifled the talented Pilsen attackers so by the time Denis Kindl scored their first goal at 50:42 the match and, indeed the whole tie, was way out of sight for the Czech team. The Swedes won 3-1 on the night and 9-4 on aggregate to make it to their fourth final in five years. On this performance, few would be against the Trophy going to the Swedish club in less than a month.

Red Bull Munich (GER) v Red Bull Salzburg (AUT)

In the other match Red Bull Munich travelled the short distance across the border to face Red Bull Salzburg after a goalkeeper's game in Germany which ended 0-0 last week.

Home ice advantage seemed to make the difference for the Austrians as 25 year old Alexander Rauchenwald sent the puck past Germany's Olympic keeper, aus den Birken after 13:26.

But just like the national team had done in the Olympics, the Geman team hit back with double strike scoring twice in three minutes to go into the first period break up 2-1. And it was naturally one of Munich's Olympic stars who lead the way, as Bronze medalist Yannic Seidenberg got an assist on the first goal before the 35 year old defenseman found the net himself.

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure forcing 35 saves from Salzburg's Minnesota Wild drafted Steve Michalek by the time the final whistle went. Any chance of a late recovery by the home team was quashed with 10:01 to go as yet two more of Munich's German Olympians got on the scoreboard with Yasin Ehliz getting the primary assist on Patrick Hager's 3-1 goal (see Hager in photo). 

That was enough to send a German team to the final for the first time in Champions Hockey League history. They will go to Gothenburg as underdogs when they face the two times champions on 5 February. But make no mistake, this Red Bull Munich team will be brimming with self confidence and, who knows, maybe pull off a historic victory.


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