Donbass Donetsk took revenge for last year’s loss and defeated the Rouen Dragons 7-1 to become the first Ukrainian team to win the IIHF Continental Cup.
With the victory Donbass dethroned Rouen, which won the competition one year ago when the French defeated Donbass on home ice, 5-2.
This time it was a different story and the Dragons found their tamer. Only few players on the Donbass Donetsk team returned from last year since the Ukrainian champion went one league higher in the Russian hockey system from the VHL to the KHL. This year’s Donbass team proved to be too strong for the Dragons.
Ukrainian national team player Sergi Varlamov and Finnish forward Tuomas Kiiskinen each scored a pair of goals.
“I’m relieved, tired and satisfied. It was a sweet revenge especially winning on home ice. We did it in a way fans expected it to be with many goals,” Varlamov said. “We were patient when we couldn’t really get it going in the beginning of the tournament. But today luck was on our side.”
“It’s nice to win the Continental Cup. I love winning and we won all three games, conceded just one goal and the fans were great,” Kiiskinen said with the gold medal around his neck. “The first two games were really hard for us, so we expected the last game to be harder. But it was the third game in three days. You have to be ready.”
And his team was ready. Early in the first period Donbass Donetsk showed why the Ukrainians were the favourites going in. Facing Donbass' speed, puck-control, and precise passing, Rouen’s French national team goalkeeper Fabrice Lhenry was under constant pressure.
The Ukrainians opened the scoring already at 1:54 by capitalizing on a power play after 17 seconds. Lukas Kaspar passed the puck from the goal line on the left side to Varlamov, who netted the puck for the first goal.
Rouen had the chance to bounce back when Donbass took two straight penalties. The French were almost four minutes on the power play, but produced few scoring opportunities.
The French caused more danger in the Donbass zone once the penalties had expired. At 8:10 the puck was suddenly in Jan Laco’s net. The goalie lost the overview in a scrum in front of his net but an opponent was standing in the crease and the goal was consequently disallowed.
However, less than two minutes later, Laco’s shutout streak came to an end after going 129:57 minutes without conceding a goal in the tournament. Swedish forward David Fredriksson succeeded with a shot from the blueline just before the ten-minute mark.
But with 13 seconds left in the first period, Tuomas Kiiskinen tipped in the puck after a pass to the crease from Yevgeni Dadonov.
After the teams changed ends, the Rouen Dragons took three penalties in the first ten minutes of the period and gave up as many power-play markers for Donbass, the goals coming within a span of just 2:53.
At 6:29 Clay Wilson hammered a shot from the blueline into the net on a 5-on-3 power play and at 7:53 Kiiskinen scored his second goal of the day with one more player on the ice.
At 9:22, Varlamov also added his second goal when he tipped in the puck after Lukas Kaspar’s pass from the side boards. The 5-1 score forced Rouen coach Rodolphe Garnier to use his time-out.
“We lost the game due to indiscipline. At this level discipline is key,” said Rouen defenceman Jonathan Janil. “Internationally the officiating is different than in France and we have to adjust. I think we played a solid game otherwise. We were not bad when playing in full strength.”
“Donbass played great tonight, they really deserve the win,” Rouen forward Eric Castonguay said. “We had a good first period but then we took too many penalties in the second period. That hurt us.”
The goal galore stopped for the rest of the middle frame but continued in the beginning of the third period when Sergei Peretyagin scored the 6-1 goal from the blueline. Peter Podhradsky added another to make it 7-1 before the celebrations began.
“It feels really good to win. We worked hard for the last three days. It’s the first time I played in the Continental Cup and I know it’s really big for the club,” said Donbass’ Swedish forward Fredrik Pettersson. “We just won 1-0 against Metallurg Zhlobin and also against Bolzano in the second game we had to work really, really hard. Today we were lucky to score so many goals.”
Article Originally Published by Martin Merk at http://www.iihf.com/
1. Donbass Donetsk, 9 points
2. Metallurg Zhlobin, 5 points
3. Rouen Dragons, 3 points
4. Bolzano Foxes, 1 point
Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate
Best Goalkeeper: Jan Laco, Donbass Donetsk
Best Defenceman: Clay Wilson, Donbass Donetsk
Best Forward: Julien Desrosiers, Rouen Dragons