Time to make the push for a place in the Salute
With the European Trophy going into the second week of games, it is time for the teams in the competition to position themselves in the hunt for the eight places in the Red Bull Salute. After the Finnish teams hosting the majority of the games during week one, this week the main part of the games in the tournament move south.
Last week, the teams from central Europe played the Finnish teams. This week they are playing host to the Swedish teams. ”The week in Finland was very good and helpful for our preparation. We could play well against strong teams and I think, we had some good performances” says Bern forward Ryan Gardner who scored twice and added two assists to his pointstally during the first weeks games. ”But we wer a little disappointed to only pick up three points, even though we could have won all the three games.” He hopes that the team can make amends this week. ”It will be a tough series against the three Swedish teams this week, but we will give our best to win all the three games.
The week for Bern starts in Langenthal on Wednesday against Malmö Redhawks with HV 71 coming to visit on Thursday, the only game in the tournament that night. The third Swedish team in the Central division, Frölunda Indians, will play Bern on Saturday.
Frölunda will start their roadtrip in Europe by giving the crowd in Salzburg a first taste of what awaits in the Red Bull Salute this Wednesday in the first game in four days in Salzburg.
”For us it is the first of three tough games. I know that Salzburg are hard to bet on their home-ice” says Frölundacoach Kent Johansson. ”We will also experience a different kind of hockey to what we are used to. We will face teams that play with a lot of speed and intensity and it will be a good test for our defesive game.”
The third game in the Central division on Wednesday night pits reigning Swedish campions HV 71 who have yet to drop a point in this years European Trophy, against ZSC Lions who ended their roadtrip to Finland last week by defeating reigning Finnish champions TPS 6-3.
In the Capital division the German anad Czech teams play host to the Swedish visitors, starting on Wednesday when the only yet undefeated team in the division, Färjestad, travel to Prague to play Sparta Praha, Djurgården visit Mannheim and Linköping play Eisbären Berlin in Crimmitschau. "The European Trophy makes our pre-season games a little bit more difficult because we want to win the games on the one hand but also want to watch our players and test them in certain situations" says Eisbären coach Don Jackson.
The program for week two is rounded off by the meetings in Finland where the Finnish teams will play each other.
Oulun Kärpät is in a perfect position with a one-hundred-percent redord in the tournament. Wins in Wednesdays game against TPS and Fridays game against Tappara would mean that the team can book the tickets for the Red Bull Salute.
”We got good start at home in the tournament, but in two of the games (against Red Bull and Bern) it was only one goal separating the teams, so they could have gone either way” says Kärpät forward Kristian Kuusela. He is, together with teammate Kamil Kreps and Florian Busch of Eisbären Berlin the tournaments top pointsscorers after week one with five points in three games.
Kuusela enjoys playing in the European Trophy and is looking forward to this weeks games and the games in Sweden next week. "It's fun to play these games and face opponents that play a different style of hockey while we pactice our own system and prepare for the start of the SM-Liiga." But on first Kärpät will take on a well known opposition.
In the other Wednesdaygame in Finland the two teams from Helsinki , Jokerit and HIFK face off in Vantaa in an important game for both teams. They both have two wins and one loss in the first three games.
European Trophy (2010-08-18 12:15:58)
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