SKA St. Petersburg 4 - Canada 3
RUSSIAN SIDE SKA ST. PETERSBURG BEATS CANADA IN SPENGLER CUP TITLE GAME
DAVOS, Switzerland – Mark Messier's first major coaching stint has ended with a silver medal at theSpenglerCup.
Former NHL players Alexei Yashin and Maxim Afinogenov scored second-period goals to lead SKA St.Petersburgpast Messier's Canadians 4-3 in the tournament final Friday.
Yashin, on the power play, and Afinogenov scored to give SKA St. Petersburg a 3-1 lead after MickiDupontpulled the Canadians into a 1-1 tie. But twice in the third Canada rallied to make it a one-goalgame,although Josh Holden scored to make it 4-3 came with just two seconds remaining in regulation time.
“You could look at it as we ran out of time or could say we could've used a little more time,”Messiersaid. “Playing five games in four-and-a-half days with a quick turnaround … you never want to makeexcusesbut the reality is the schedule certainly didn't help us.”
Messier came into the tournament with just four games of elite-level coaching under his belt –allaccumulated with Canadian teams that went a combined 2-2 at the Swiss Challenge and Deutschland Cuplastmonth.
He was impressed with how his team handled the grueling Spengler schedule.
“Every other team got one or two days rest during the tournament but we played five gamesinfour-and-a-half days and it was a quick turnaround with a late game (Thursday night),” said the HallofFamer. “The heads were willing but the body betrays you under those circumstances.”
After beating host HC Davos 4-0 in the semifinals Thursday night, Canada was back on the ice againsttheRussian team at noon local time.
“We picked our spots to be aggressive, we did that well and we were patient when we couldn't be andtriedto turn pucks over in the neutral zone, which we did,” said Messier. “We had our opportunities and Ithinkunder different circumstances the outcome is different.”
Every team was given a day off during the preliminary round, but Canada's came on the opening day oftheevent. That meant the squad then had to play all its games in consecutive days.
SKA St. Petersburg's win marks the third straight year a Russian team has captured the title. Canadawasmaking its ninth championship appearance in 11 years and its 12th overall but first since 2007.
The turning point in the game came in the second when Yashin and Afinogenov gave SKA St. Petersburgatwo-goal lead after the Canadians had tied it. Yashin's goal came on a two-man power play with BlaineDownand Mark Popovic in the penalty box, a call Messier said came at a pivotal time in the contest.
“I haven't seen the replay but that was a tough part of the game,” Messier said. “In a championshipgameyou hate to see those kinds of calls.”
Canada's Brett McLean cut the Russian squad's lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal at 18:38 of the third.Butcaptain Maxim Sushinskiy scored his second of the game into the empty net at 18:57 to restore SKASt.Petersburg's two-goal advantage before Holden rounded out the scoring.
Canada's Jeff Deslauriers captured the tournament's top goalie award while Travis Roche was named oneofits best defencemen.
SKA St. Petersburg finished the tournament undefeated, winning all four of its games although it hadtorally from a 3-0 deficit to beat Geneve-Servette 4-3 in the semifinals Thursday. Canada suffered itsonlyloss to Davos during the preliminary round earlier in the week.
The Spengler Cup, which debuted in 1923, is the world's oldest pro hockey tournament.
|Arena||Vaillant Arena||City, Country||Davos, SUI|
|Month / Day / Year||12/31/2010||Time||06:00 AM ET|
|SKA St. Petersburg (SKA)||1||2||1||4|
10:08 SKA 33 Maxim Sushinskiy (9 Tony Martensson)
06:53 CAN 25 Micki Dupont (9 Domenic Pittis)
10:11 SKA 19 Aleksey Yashin (33 Maxim Sushinskiy, 80 Mattias Weinhandl) PP
14:26 SKA 61 Maxim Afinogenov (44 Evgeny Artyukhin)
18:38 CAN 15 Brett McLean (73 Mike Iggulden)
18:57 SKA 33 Maxim Sushinskiy
19:58 CAN 27 Josh Holden
|SKA St. Petersburg||
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|
|SKA St. Petersburg||0||0||0||0|
For more information:
Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations