Yekaterinburg earns a semi-final spot

Yekaterinburg earns a semi-final spot

Marco Meneghetti30 Dec 2015Marco Meneghetti»
 

The KHLers beat Mannheim and clinch a spot among the first four teams of the tournament.

 
 
 
 

Yesterday's second semi-final was a promising one even before its start: both Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, possibly the biggest revelation of this year's Spengler Cup, and Adler Mannheim, current German Champions now facing a troubled time in the DEL because of injuries and unexpected defeats, were strongly motivated and willing to reach the final stages of the competition, after one win and one defeat each in the group stage.

In a completely sold-out Vaillant Arena, the Russian club showed its superior technical strength right from the outset, combined with higher discipline (the lack of which, on the other side, sent the Eagles to the penalty bench five times) and more scoring occasions: right in the first period, Avtomobilist scored twice, first with Tommi Kivistö (formerly of Jokerit and with a rather long career in Finland's youth leagues) assisted by Ondrej Roman and then with Alexander Torchenyuk, assisted again by Roman and Nikita Tryamkin. 

The young age of the Russian roster surely didn't prevent its players from being highly experienced, and the level of play encountered almost daily in the Kontinental Hockey League arenas paid off well: a third goal, putting Avtomobilist on a 3-0 lead, came shortly thereafter, thanks to Sergei Yemelin assisted by Kivistö and Finn Eero Elo. A weak answer came with just ten minutes to go, with Brent Raedeke assisted by Ronny Arendt and Mathieu Carle, but after that the Russian defense didn't allow any other goal, thus allowing its team to fly to the semis.

A 1-2 record for Mannheim is surely a negative one, but the Eagles were entertaining enough in some key points of the games thy played and this, combined with the highly praised performances of 41-year old Glen Metropolit, allows the club from northern Baden to come home partly satisfied, and with the benevolence of fans and press alike. As for Avtomobilist, tonight's semi-final game against Lugano will be a decisive one, with both teams being mentioned (by one source or another) for the ultimate win of the Cup: what will happen? It's hard to say that, but the game will surely be a spectacular one. Stay tuned!

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