HC Davos have won the 80th Spengler Cup – the oldest international ice hockey club team tournament – after beating Team Canada 3-2 in Sunday's final.This content was published on December 31, 2006 - 18:05
Swiss forward André Ambühl helped clinch Davos's 14th Spengler Cup win thanks to his 49th-minute winning goal.
In a high-tempo game, the Swiss vice-champions, beaten 6-3 by the Canadians earlier in the round-robin tournament and with a 4-6 overall losing record against them, gave an excellent defensive performance to gain revenge.
During the opening exchanges, the more aggressive and fresher North American team dictated the pace, putting the local side under pressure and creating the better chances.
In front of a sell-out crowd at the Eisstadion Davos, defenders Mario Scalzo and Jason Doig gave Team Canada an early two-nil lead, after six and nine minutes, respectively.
In the second period, despite plenty of action, both teams cancelled each other out.
"They looked dead in the water early on and if we'd of been able to get the third goal it would have been a smoke out," said Team Canada coach Pat Quinn. "But we didn't get it."
Much of the credit for pulling the host team back into the game went to Davos forwards Robin Leblanc, André Ambühl, Eero Somervuori and their goalkeeper Jonas Hiller.
Leblanc scored his third goal of the tournament just before the end of the first period to give the Davos fans something to cheer about. But it was during the last 20 minutes that the local side managed to turn the game around.
After Eero Somervuori equalised on a power play, Andres Ambuehl took advantage of a mistake by the Team Canada goalkeeper Justin Pogge to score the decisive goal.
Pogge, who had been sent off against Eisbären Berlin on Saturday for fighting, got caught out behind his goal and the Swiss number ten had the simple task of sliding the puck into an empty net.
"We were lucky to win by such a stroke of good fortune," commented Davos forward Alexandre Daigle after the game.
Despite a number of excellent chances later on, the Canadians were unable to correct their goalkeeper's mistake and beat Hiller.
"As usual he was very strong," commented Daigle. "Thanks to his performance we were able to stay in the game and hold onto our advantage right until the end."
Davos's victory is another highpoint in the impressive career of their coach Arno Del Curto, who has helped them to four titles in six years.
The winners Davos and second-placed Team Canada are followed by Mora IK, HK Khimik and Eisbären Berlin.
swissinfo with agencies
Date: December 26 –31
Winners since 2000:
2005 - Magnitogorsk (Russia)
2004 – Davos (host team)
2003 – Team Canada
2002 – Team Canada
2001 – Davos
2000 - Davos
The Spengler Cup, the oldest international ice hockey club team tournament, is held every year between Christmas and New Year.
The organisers invite three of Europe's top club teams – as well as a selection of Canadian professionals – to compete head-to-head against HC Davos in the team's 8,000-seat stadium.
Prestige, as well as the cup's tight schedule, ensures competition is fierce. Eleven games are played during the six-day competition – including a round-robin series in which each of the five teams plays each other once. The top two teams then face off in the final.
To win, teams must be consistent and recover fast from each clash – often after only an overnight break.
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