Red Bull Salute: JYP and FBK with opening wins

Red Bull Salute: JYP and FBK with opening wins

20 Dec 2013 | Dennis Mende

The first of four days of pre-Christmas hockey action in Berlin, Germany, started with one game from each of the two groups.


As tournament hosts Eisbären Berlin don't start their entry into the tournament until Friday, the Red Bull Salute management decided to let the first two games of the European Trophy finals be played in the smaller and older venue Wellblechpalast in Berlin-Lichtenberg and not the top-modern O2 World in Berlin-Friedrichshain, where the other three matchdays are being held.

JYP - DIF 3-1 (0-0, 3-0, 0-1) - Group B

In the first period the gap between the two sides didn't seem all to big, despite JYP playing in the Finnish top-tier Liiga while Djurgarden was relegated to the Swedish second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan in 2012. Both teams had a high number of good scoring opportunities in a fast and open game. At the start of the middle period, though, the Finnish side was able to gain control of the game more and more and was rewarded with a double by Jonne Virtanen, who scored on his own rebound after a breakaway at 23:47 and, just a minute later, Ouva Palve had an easy job to make it 2-0 JYP by holding his stick into the right direction waiting close to the left post after his team won a face off on the right circle. Just when DIF seemed to find their way back into the game with several good opportunities, it was Max Wärn who made everything clear in favour of JYP with a shorthanded breakaway at 34:19. With less than three minutes left on the clock, DIF were finally rewarded for their efforts with a consolation goal by Marcus Sörensen, but despite playing the last minutes without the goalie but an additional attacker it was too late to change the outcome of the game.

For his stellar performance with 45 saves -- 21 of them in the third period -- Tuomas Tarkki was a deserved winner of the three stars for the MVP of the game. DIF's Mattias Guter received two stars and JYP's Max Wärn one star.

An interesting side fact: of the approximately 1900 fans who visited the first Thursday game, about 600 were DIF supporters and 300 to 400 Finns supported JYP, showing the popularity of Swedish record champions DIF (16 titles) remains even after their relegation.

FBK - Frölunda 5-2 (1-1, 2-1, 2-0) - Group A

After most of the DIF and JYP supporters had left the arena after their teams' games, about 1050 spectators remained in Wellblechpalast to see the second game of the tournament. Only few of them were from the two Elitserien sides and most of them supporters of Färjestad BK.

The game started with high speed and was open from the very first minute. The first penalty at 4:44 against FBK's Milan Gulas for interference was punished soon by Magnus Kahnberg, who used the following power play to give the Frölunda Indians the lead from short distance at 6:34. Just 40 seconds later, though, Gulas made up for his mistake and tied the game. The best chances didn't lead to another goal in the first 20 minutes but the aggressiveness of both teams showed more than once with hard checks and fisticuffs. One of them -- just after the end of the first period -- led to a 2+2+10 penalty for spearing and roughing against Frölunda's Mathis Olimb and a 2+10 penalty for cross-checking and roughing against FBK's Christian Berglund.

At 23:48, Milan Gulas was able to put Färjestad into the lead on the power play and then Pontus Aberg's breakaway at 32:58 -- just after an unsuccessful Frölunda power play -- gave FBK a two-goal lead at 3-1. Near the end of the period, a five-on-three advantage brought the Frölunda Indians back into the game. Just after the first player stepped back onto the ice, it was Robin Figren who converted a nice and fast power-play combination from short distance to make it 3-2 at 39:09. As in the previous period, just after the final horn another skirmish broke out and Frölunda's Dick Axelsson and FBK's Ole-Christian Tollefsen were sent to the penalty boxes, each with double minors for roughing.

The third period started with a big opportunity for Färjstad when Christian Berglund hit the crossbar from short distance, and that seemed to be the wake up call for Frölunda, who took over the initiative and had a series of good chances. The game was more-or-less decided when Joakim Nygard used the increased space for a breakaway goal at 52:45. With 79 seconds left on the clock, Gulas finished off his hat trick with an empty-netter.

Of course, with three goals, Färjestad's Milan Gulas was rewarded with his efforts with the three stars and thus the MVP title of the game. Two stars went to Frölunda's Robin Figren and one star to Färjestad's Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.

Matchday 2 is played this Friday afternoon in the O2 World.

Group B: 17.00 CET - Lulea Hockey - JYP
Group A: 20.30 CET - Eisbären Berlin - Färjestad BK 

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