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Team Canada win Spengler Cup

(Keystone)

Team Canada won ice hockey's prestigious Spengler Cup in Davos on Monday, beating the Russian team Salavat Yulaev of Ufa 2:1 in the final.

It is the 11th time that the Canadian team, whose members mainly play in the Swiss championship, have won the trophy in the 81 years of the tournament's existence. They were the beaten finalists in the last two years.

The game's three goals all came within a few moments of each other. Scoring was opened by Canadian Kirby Law on 27 minutes, after a controversial decision by the referees that appeared to disconcert Salavat goalkeeper Alexander Yeremenko.

However, the Russians quickly equalised with a goal from Alexander Perezhogin. The Canadians scored again when a shot by Ryan Keller hit the wood, and Yeremenko slid the puck into his own goal.

"We were really unlucky. It's something that happens in hockey, but it still isn't nice to be at the receiving end," said Salavat player Oleg Tverdovsky.

Magnanimous

The Canadian captain, Serge Aubin, was magnanimous in victory. "In a game between two great teams, it's often small details which make the difference," he said afterwards. "Ufa deserves credit too. They could have won just as easily."

The experienced Canadian goalkeeper, Curtis Joseph, fended off 38 shots, proving that even at the age of 40 he is still one of the best keepers in the world.

"We had our chances, but their keeper was simply amazing," Tverdovsky commented.

The Canadians also paid tribute to Joseph.

"We worked very hard for sixty minutes, and Curtis Joseph did the rest," said team mate Shawn Heins.

Last year's winner, the local team HC Davos, who have won the cup four times since 2000, failed to qualify for the final. In the group stage they managed only one win. But they can take comfort from the fact that the team they beat was Salavat, with a score of 6:5.

Swiss public television used its high definition programme, launched earlier this month, to show the tournament.

swissinfo with agencies

Spengler Cup

The Spengler Cup, the oldest international ice hockey club team tournament, is held in Davos 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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