Canada storms into Spen­gler fi­nal

Conacher, Giroux goals cap late rally to beat hosts

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - FRONT PAGE -

DAVOS, Switzer­land — Alexan­dre Giroux and Cory Conacher helped rally Canada into an im­prob­a­ble Spen­gler Cup fi­nal Wed­nes­day.

Giroux and Conacher scored just over a minute apart to lead Canada to an ex­cit­ing 6-5 semi­fi­nal win over HC Davos and cap an im­pres­sive come­back from an early 4-1 deficit. Giroux’s goal at 15:26 of the third pe­riod tied the con­test 5-5 be­fore Conacher scored the game-win­ner 65 sec­onds later.

Perttu Lind­gren had put HC Davos ahead 5-4 just be­fore the mid­way point of the fi­nal pe­riod at Vail­lant Arena.

“What an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing to com­plete the come­back and get to the cham­pi­onship game,” said Cana­dian for­ward Matt El­li­son, who scored twice be­fore as­sist­ing on Conacher’s game-win­ning goal. “We had a slow start but a tremen­dous (fi­nal) 40 min­utes for the win.

“We had our backs against the wall with the home team fans, and found a Cana­dian way to win.”

The Cana­di­ans will face HC Lugano in the cham­pi­onship game to­day. The Swiss side de­feated Av­to­mo­bilist Yeka­ter­in­burg 3-0 in the late semi­fi­nal.

Canada, which de­feated HC Davos 2-0 Mon­day, will ap­pear in its 22nd Spen­gler Cup fi­nal since 1984 and chase a 13th over­all tour­na­ment crown but first since 2012.

“Events like this de­fine the true char­ac­ter of what Cana­dian hockey is all about,” said Cana­dian as­sis­tant coach Rob Cook­son. “Tonight, when we got down, we stayed with the plan and we con­tin­ued to be re­lent­less on a very strong Swiss team.

“We came to make Canada proud, and we are not done.”

Tom Py­att and Chris DiDomenico also scored for Canada, which out­shot Davos 45-28. Gre­gory Scia­roni, Sven Ryser, Tino Kessler and Feli­cien Du Bois had the other goals for HC Davos.

Canada fin­ished 2-of-6 on the power play while Davos con­verted on one of its two chances with the man ad­van­tage. Jeff Glass got the start in goal for the Cana­di­ans but was re­placed by new­comer Matt Climie in the sec­ond pe­riod af­ter stop­ping 17 of 22 shots.

Climie, who joined the squad Tues­day af­ter an in­jury to Drew Mac­In­tyre, stopped all six shots di­rected at him in just over 33 min­utes of ac­tion.

Davos opened the con­test with two quick goals be­fore fin­ish­ing the open­ing frame with a 3-1 ad­van­tage. Scia­roni opened the scor­ing on the power play at 6:16 of the first be­fore Ryser made it 2-0 just 23 sec­onds later.

Py­att cut the deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal at 9:52 be­fore Kessler made it a 3-1 con­test at 18:52.

Du Bois gave Davos a three-goal lead at 6:43 of the sec­ond be­fore DiDomenico started Canada’s come­back at 7:05. El­li­son’s goals at 9:33 (power play) and 18:37 (even strength) pulled the Cana­di­ans even head­ing into the fi­nal pe­riod.

The Cana­di­ans fin­ished the pre­lim­i­nary round with a 2-0 mark while the Davos squad was 0-2 be­fore down­ing Jokerit 5-4 in over­time in its quar­ter-fi­nal game Tues­day.

Canada has ap­peared in 10 of the last 14 tour­na­ment fi­nals, win­ning four times (2002, ’03, ’07 and 2012).

PAS­CAL MULLER / KE YSTONE / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Team Canada’s Cor y Conacher cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing

the game-win­ning goal late in the third pe­riod.

Alexan­dre

Giroux

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