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Davos hopes high after first round victory in Spengler Cup

Davos's Lonny Bohonos (in yellow) scores the first penalty against Czech goalkeeper, Petr Briza

(Keystone)

Davos’s ice-hockey players have made a strong start in the Spengler Cup, after taking the first match against Sparta Prag in a penalty shoot-out.

The two teams matched each other goal for goal throughout the game, ending extra time 2-2. The match then went to a penalty shoot-out, enabling Davos to snatch victory and place two points on the scoreboard to Sparta's one.

The Czechs' defeat means that Davos should have a chance of qualifying for the final on Sunday, not least because it has some strong players.

Traditionally the home squad gets five top stars from the Swiss league to complete the team. But this year, Davos received a boost with four Scandinavians and a former Davos star, now playing in Bern, Ivo Rüthemann.

They were also helped by a strong contingent of American and Canadian players, who are on contract to the Swiss side.

But speaking before the match, Davos’s trainer, Arno del Curto, said he was concerned that his team was feeling the stress after playing so many national and league matches in the run-up to Christmas.

In the day’s other match, the Finnish team, Jokerit Helsinki, beat last year’s winners, Germany’s Kölner Haie, also in a penalty shoot-out. The Germans led for most of the match, which ended 3-3 in extra time.

Davos take on the Germans on Wednesday, while the tournament favourites, Canada Selects, play their first match against Jokerit Helsinki.

It’s the 74th Spengler Cup and 42 years since Davos took the title.

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