Continental Cup Superfinals are set

Continental Cup Superfinals are set

26 Nov 2012 | Davide Tuniz

After thrilling semifinal groups, Metallurg Zhlobin and Bolzano Foxes will join Donbas and Rouen in January Superfinals

Continental Cup semifinals weekend lived a thrilling final in both group, played in Bolzano (ITA) and Stavanger ( NOR).
In Italy, host Bolzano Foxes and Russian VHL champion Toros Neftekamsk were on ice with the same perfect record for the last game after victories on Herning Blue Foxes and Landshut Cannibals in the first two rounds. Russian team showed a better skating and skill, but Bolzano opens the score with Marco Insam on power play at 15:07. Toros' reaction is vehement but goalie Tomas Duba and NHLer Niklas Hjalmarsson take the cake and hold out against the shock wave until 32:07 when Sergei Sentyurin equalizes with a perfect shot. At 52.51 Toros capitalize a long period of dominance: behind the gate Artyom Gareyev served a perfect assist to Vitaly Kamenev that falls silent the Palaonda. Seems the end for a tired Bolzano, but at the last gasp, on power play, also Anton Bernard finds an incredible assist for the Markus Gander tap-in. During the overtime is the worth of a Stanley Cup winner to decide the game: with a classy move Niklas Hjalmarsson avoids an opponent and serves a golden puck for Mark McCutcheon that lead Foxes to Donets'k and again to a Continental Cup Superfinals after two seasons. In the other game Herning won 4-0 against Landshut and close tournament in third position.

Russian coach Ruslan Suleymanov said after the match:" We were prepared for this match, we knew that Bolzano was a strong team and solid in defense, but unfortunately when you play an overtime you need also luck and tonight we hadn't.
Forward Vitaly Kamenev is disappointed: "It was been a  great tournament, but with a sad end for us, because we had won the first two games and we were confident for tonight".

On the other side, Bolzano coach Brian McCutcheon is radiant: "Tonight we saw on the ice two great teams that have played very well: it is not easy to play three games in three days, but when we tied the game in the final, this gave us the right propellent to win at overtime. It was a victory obtained by the heart and the head. I do not know what to expect in the final in Donetsk, I just know it will be fun thinking of the many times I have experienced the playoffs for the Stanley Cup."

In Stavanger the host Oilers and the Belarus champion Metallurg Zhlobin can both reach for the first time the Superfinals. While Kazakh champion Beybarys had its first victory beating 5-1 KH Sanok, 1.500 fans try to boost Oilers over the last hurdle. But the first minutes are a nightmare for home-side: Zhlobin scores twice in 23 seconds around minute six with Dmitri Igoshin and Konstantin Nemirka. Stavanger managed to reduce the score with a goal by American Dan Kissel but Metallurg dominates the period. In the central drittel game is more balancedand Oilers ties with Christian Dahl Andersen. Swedish centre Martin Strandfeldt completes the comeback after 35 seconds in the last period and Oilers seems to control the game. When just 40 seconds separate Stavanger from Superfinals, Zhlobin ties during the last, desperate assault again with Dmitri Igoshin.

Overtime didn't change the score, so shootouts were needed: Belarusian goalie Dmitri Milchakov stopped the first two attempts from the Oilers while Metallurg forwards Konstantin Baranov and Valeri Khlebnikov scored calling a halt to Stavanger dream.
“The win is not only a gift for Zhlobin, but for Belarusian hockey as a whole. I’m very happy that we managed to win the tournament,” Metallurg Zhlobin coach Vasili Spiridonov said. “After the 2-0 lead we unfortunately didn’t capitalize on our chances, but I believed in the team until the end.”

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