Zemgale triumphs, Bulldogs finish last – Continental Cup Group C Round-up

Zemgale triumphs, Bulldogs finish last – Continental Cup Group C Round-up

17 Oct 2023 | Kristers Rozenlauks

The C group of the IIHF’s Continental Cup second round held in Jelgava in the weekend, pitting the Latvian champions Zemgale against teams from Belgium, Romania and Slovenia.


The C group of the IIHF’s Continental Cup second round held in Jelgava ended just a short while back, pitting the Latvian champions Zemgale against teams from Belgium, Romania and Slovenia. The prize was clear for every team to see – a trip to Grenoble, France, for the third round.

Zemgale comes out on top!

The hosts may have struggled quite a lot, with every game being tight until the final whistle, but Zemgale’s fans were nonetheless happy to sweep the tournament. The Jelgava-based team started the group with a game that many predicted to be the decider for the entire group, as they had to face off against the Romanian champions Corona Brasov. Zemgale ended up undeterred by the North American physicality on display, winning 3-1. The toughest game of the tournament was definitely against the underdogs, Liege Bulldogs, as it took Zemgale 52 shots to score just 2 goals in a 2-1 victory. The home team brushed aside the Slovenian HK Celje in the last game, nabbing a 4-1 victory and reserving their tickets to Grenoble with yet another great performance by their starting goalie, Rihards Cimermanis.

So close, yet so far for Brasov

Corona Brasov came out on the short end of the stick, with a hat-trick by Zemgale’s Ukrainian forward Bohdan Panasenko sinking their team in the previously aforementioned 1-3 loss. The Romanian team, comprised of Romanians and Hungarians alongside Canadians and Americans, did not sulk on this loss and picked up two comfortable wins against Celje (4-2) and the Liege Bulldogs (11-2). It would not be enough though, and Celje would not do them a favour by not defeating Zemgale on the final day, with the Romanian side finishing second place in the group.

HK Celje struggle, finish in third

Out of the 3 teams assigned to the group from before the tournament started, HK Celje felt like the weakest, yet one that could pull off an upset or two. No such upsets ended up happening, however, as they would fall to the group favourites Corona Brasov (2-4) & Zemgale (1-4), leaving the team without any chance of progression. The final period of their game against the Liege Bulldogs, in which they won 9-3 & outscored the Belgian team 5-0 in the final third, may very well have been their best period throughout the entire group stage.

The underdogs, Bulldogs finish last place!

The Liege Bulldogs were very lucky to reach the second round, but as they say – the mightiest is also the luckiest! The Belgian team was supposed to participate in Group A of the first round of the Continental Cup, but only one game ended up being played between the hosts CH Jaca from Spain & the very same Liege Bulldogs. The Belgian representatives defeated Jaca 6-1, and, with every other game being cancelled due to issues with the playing surface, automatically advanced to the second round. Despite almost upsetting the hosts Zemgale, they would ultimately end up getting outshot 57:161 through the 3 games they played. The underdogs would rightfully finish in last place off the backs of 2-11, 3-9 and 1-2 losses against Brasov, Celje and Zemgale.

Tournament MVPs

Best Goalie: Rihards Cimermanis, Zemgale (3W, 95.59SV%, 1GAA)

Best Defender: Nik Sirovnik, HK Celje (1G + 2A; +2)

Best Forward: Connor Sills, Corona Brasov (4G + 2A)

Tournament MVP: Rihards Cimermanis, Zemgale

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