Game Summary

CANADA 8 - SPARTA PRAGUE 2
By Paul Romanuk

DAVOS - Canada clinched a berth in the Spengler Cup championship game with an 8-2 win over Sparta Prague on Day Five of the holiday season tournament. Canada was led by the line of Glen Metropolit, Dale McTavish and Martin Kariya, who clicked together for four of the team’s goals.

It took a year, but revenge was sweet for Team Canada. One year ago, having already qualified for the final game, Sparta Prague coach Slava Lener rested seven of his top players for a game that Canada needed them to win. Sparta lost and that left Canada out looking in on Championship Day.

“I know it was a different guy who was coaching the team last year [Lener was fired earlier this season] but we still remembered back to what happened last year and it provided some emotion for the guys who were here,” said Canadian coach Marc Habscheid.

Canada, coming off a 6-1 win over Eisbaren Berlin on Thursday, picked right up where they left off. Jean Guy Trudel opened the scoring for the Canadians when he converted on a power play at 5:48 of the opening period. McTavish followed up with back to back goals at 6:40 and 7:24 to put Canada up 3-0 before the half way point of the opening period. Kariya scored his first goal of the tournament at 13:07 on a beautiful set up from Metropolit. Metropolit backhanded a no look pass from behind the net right onto Kariya’s stick as he cruised through the slot. Kariya held the puck as he cut across in front of Prague goalie Reto Pavoni before finally flipping it into the corner.

“Metro has been great to play with,” said Kariya. “He’s been a big help making the adjustment to this style of play.”

“We work well together,” said Metropolit, “McTavish is a real bull around the net and Kariya’s just like a little water bug out there. It’s a good combination.”

Jason York added another power play goal for Canada at 17:23 to put Canada up 5-0 after one.

“We knew they had nothing to play for and we wanted to establish a tempo and not let them back into it,” said Canadian assistant coach Sean Simpson. “The game plan worked. We got it going and just kept doing the things we needed to do to get ready for the final.”

Ian White put Canada up 6-0 with a goal at 2:14 of the second, before Sparta got goals from Josef Straka and Jan Hanzlik to make it 6-2. Kariya put Canada up 7-2 after two with a goal at 12:07 of the second. Stacey Roest rounded out the scoring with his second goal of the tournament in the third period.

Asked how the team was feeling heading into the final, Kariya couldn’t have been more brief.

“Great. We feel great. It’s coming together.”

It will be the 5th trip to the final in the last 6 years for Team Canada. The year’s team will be looking for Canada’s 11th Spengler Cup title.

You can read more on this year’s Spengler Cup at Paul Romanuk’s blogsite.

For more information:
Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations