Divisional winners face off in the big final
Eisbären Berlin from Germany, winners of the Capital division after the regulation round will face HV 71 from Sweden in the final of the European Trophy, competing not only for the trophy and the honor, but also for the prizemoney of 40 000 Euro to add to the 30 000 that the two teams have allready made sure of by winning their respective divisions.
Berlin made sure of their place in the final thanks to 116 explosive seconds in the third and final period of their semifinalencounter with Swiss champions SC Bern. Going into the third period with Berlin 2–1 up, it was really anybodys game, the ticket to the final was there for the taking.
A burst of goals from Berlin made sure that the Germans went through. André Renkel added to the Berlinlead with a superb goal after 6:18, assisted by Derrick Walser. He soon added hos second of the night after 8:00 and then Stefan Ustorf put the game out of reach for Bern, only 14 seconds later when he put a fifth puck in the net behind Bern goalie Marco Bührer who couldn’t repeat the perfect performance form the semifinal when he kept a clean sheet against Jokerit, stopping 23 shots in the process. In the semifinal he let in five of the 19 shots he faced. In face Bern won the shots 26–19, but Eisbären won the game, 5–1.
It was Ustorf who hade opened the scoring early in the second period on a powerplay. Berlins second also came on a powerplay, courtesy of Richcie Regehr. Sqeezed in between those two goals, the Bern topscorer Brett McLean scored the only goal for the Swiss.
”It was a good game, played at a high level” said Berlin coach Don Jackson after the game. ”Once we hade sized up our opponents, we quickly found our rythmn and took control of the game. Don’t forget how exhausting the last few days and weeks have been, what with all the travel and games against strong opponents from different countries.”
The Eisbären have one more game to play against strong opposition, when they face Swedish champions HV 71 in the final. HV won their semifinal, the all-Swedish encounter against Färjestad just as convincingly as Berlin did. Färjestad opened the scoring on a powerplay early in the first third of the game, goal scored by Christian Berglund. Färjestad had two more opportunities to score on powerplays, but HV held on and with just a little ove two minutes to go in the first, HV equalized through André Petersson. They also managed to score another goal before the end of the first period when special goalscorer of the whole tournamnet, Kris Beech, scored his eighth goal in ten games.
That goal was psychologically important for HV 71. The two goals, midway through the second period were killerblows for Färjestad. First, young defenceman Oscar Fantenberg extended the HV-advantage when the teams were playing 4 on 4. And then André Petersson, who had assisted Fantenberg on the 3–1-goal, scored his second of the game less than two minutes later giving HV a 4–1-lead to take into the final third of the game. There Marcus Pålsson gave Färjestad a little hope, reducing the deficit to 4–2 midway through the period, but goals from Martin Thörnberg and André Petersson – his third of the game – put the game out of reach for Färjestad.
HV has impressed a lot during the European Trophy, only suffering one defeat in ten games (away against Bern), but will be a little worried that their allready quite long list of injuries might have had another name added to it when goalie Daniel Larsson got injured in the third period against Färjestad and had to be replaced by Andreas Andersson. On the positive note, Andersson kept a clean sheet during his almost 11 minutes on the ice.
HV 71 will now take on Eisbären Berlin in the final of the European Trophy and the Red Bull Salute in Salzburg at 8:45 p.m. Sunday September 5. Before that, Bern and Färjestad will have played each other in a battle for third place in the tournament, that game being played at 5:30 p.m. in Salzburg.
The classificationmatches for fifth and seventh place respectively will be played in Zell am See. On Saturday, Jokerit delt fellow Finns from TPS Turku a crushing blow, scoring five times with six shots in the final period to turn a tight game into a huge 8–3-win. Jokerit will face compatriots Oulun Kärpät in the battle for fifth place, Kärpät who defeated the hosts of the Salute, Red Bull Salzburg, 6–3, in a game where Salzburg went 3–2 up 4:37 into the third period, but where Kärpet scored four goals in seven minutes to win the game.
Per Csongrádi (2010-09-05 01:05:49)
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