ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Slovan Bratislava will play for the qualification to the final against Metallurg Magnitogorsk after surprisingly beating MODO Ornskoldsvik 4-1.
The diminished chances for MODO to still qualify for the final were only intact for the first period when Magnus Wernblom opened the score with a power play goal at 10:53. The lead was deserved as the Swedes were playing more or less on one goal in the first period.
However, from the second period, things changed as did MODO. Underdogs Slovan Bratislava scored three goals during a two-minute Swedish blackout. Dusan Devecka equalised at 22:14 with a 20-metre shot and after that, estonishing mistakes by the Swedes’ defensive department were accepted thankfully by Martin Hujsa and Michal Hreus to gain a 3-1 lead.
The Swedes hat 35 minutes to compensate their mistakes but they could not do anything against the upsetting defeat. Michal Sersen scored even a rebound after a distance shot of Radoslav Kropac at 51:07 to finish the game 4-1.
“We had a slow start, MODO was fresher and faster because they played yesterday, but from the second period, when we started to play with just three lines, it started working for us,” said Slovan’s head coach Zdeno Ciger, the former Team Slovakia and NHL winger who changed into coaching after having finished his playing career in 2006.
Harald Luckner, the head coach of the Swedes, regretted the missed chances in the first period, “when we were so much better”. He had to renounce on his number one goaltender Karol Krizan and played with just five defencemen. “Especially for them it was hard and the concentration went down. We really tried to come back but Slovan had a good defence and goalie today.”
It was the seventh defeat of a Swedish team at the European Champions Cup. On the other hand, Slovan Bratislava is in run for the final. Tomorrow's clash with the group favourite Metallurg Magnitogorsk will decide who may play the final game against Sparta Prague on Sunday.
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