Spengler Cup host HC Davos advanced to the Spengler Cup Final after defeating HC Vitkovice 5-4 in a thrilling match before an enthusiastic crowd. Patrick Kane scored two eye-popping goals against the Steel to highlight a match filled with a series of dazzling plays. The hosts boast a number of star players but HC Vikovice offered up some magnificent goals of their own and even took the lead mid-way through the second period.
Kane opened the scoring midway through the first period just as both teams were changing lines on the fly. Kane skated all the way up to his team’s bench and then noticed the Steel defenders also leaving the ice. Quickly changing directions, Kane zipped around to the other side of the rink where the loose puck lay motionless inside the neutral zone. He soared into the Steel Zone and sent a blistering wrist shot over the shoulder of Steel goaltender Filip Sindelar. It stood as the only goal of the period but there was plenty of action and people in the crowd thumped loud drums throughout the course of the game. The atmosphere easily put to shame many hockey crowds in North America even with only room for a crowd half the size of a typical NHL crowd.
The Steel tied the game at 7:31 of the second period when Lukas Klimek took advantage of some careless play by Davos defense. The Steel then jumped into a 2-1 lead when Davos continued to play sloppy in their own zone. At 11:09, Steel defenseman Tomas Kudelka banked in a shot past Davos goaltender Reto Beera from just inside the left face-off circle. For a very brief period of time, the Swiss crowd stopped cheering but the play quickly woke HC Davos up!
Thirty-six seconds after Kudelka’s goal, Gregory Hoffman snapped a low wrist-shot under the Sindeler’s pads to quickly re-tie the score at 2. Then at 16:02 of the period, Dario Burgler took a tape-to-tape pass cross-ice pass from one blue to the other from Josef Marha and burst into the Steel zone at full-speed and put Davos back in the lead. In spite of the valiant play on the part of the Steel, the Czech club left the second period with the same one goal deficit that it faced when it entered the period.
Yet the club was far from discouraged and at the 2:42 mark, Roman Szturc tied the game 3-3. Still, Davos proved just how dangerous the club is when Joe Thornton scored a dazzling goal just four minutes later on a play that serves as a perfect illustration as to how Thornton once won the Art Ross Trophy. Thornton moved into the Steel end of the rink like a bulldozer moving with ease of a Porsche and Steel players scrambled to prevent him from scoring his goal.
The Steel almost managed to reply to Thornton’s goal on the very next play but Davos remained in the lead until Ondrej Roman caught Davos players gazing hypnotically at the puck and sent a backhand pass to teammate Vladimir Svacina, who deposited an easy goal past an exasperated Berra. With the score now tied at 4, the possibility of the tournament underdog cruising on to victory remained a very real possibility and for nearly five minutes, the two teams remained locked in a tie.
Both sides exchanged scoring opportunities and some of those chances should have by rights gone into the net. Nevertheless, the game remained tied in the final minute of play. Then on his last shift of the night, Patrick Kane accepted a pass in the neutral zone from teammate Mathias Joggi. Kane entered the Steel zone with some room to play with (though the Steel certainly had their eye on him) and that’s when he put an end to the Steel hopes. His quick slap shot sent the puck whistling into the Steel net over the top of Sindeler with just 22.9 seconds left in the game. The Steel called time-out and drew up a play but it was to no avail and Davos held on to their last-minute lead.
HC Davos will now attempt to defend their Spengler Cup title against Canada in the Spengler Cup Final at noon in Switzerland. That game will be aired live on TSN2 at 3:55 am Mountain Time. TSN will re-air the game at 1 pm and TSN2 will re-air the game at 11:30pm.