GRENOBLE, France – Red Bull Salzburg is close to the goal. After a 6-1 victory against the Sheffield Steelers, the Austrians have the possibility to win the 2010 Continental Cup tomorrow – or even tonight. Only Grenoble can prevent an Austrian triumph.More:Game sheetPhoto galleryHighlight video
Salzburg needs just one more point on Sunday against Grenoble Brûleurs de Loups to win the tournament. If Grenoble doesn’t win tonight’s game (start 20:00) against Yunost Minsk in regulation time, Salzburg will be crowned tournament winner already tonight.
Yunost Minsk can’t win the tournament anymore because they lost the head-to-head game against Red Bull Salzburg, the first criterion in the tie-breaking formula.
Manuel Latusa and Daniel Welser scored two goals each for Salzburg, blueliner Matthias Trattnig had three assists.
“It was important for us to show that we’re clearly stronger than Sheffield apart from the first five minutes when we were sleeping,” said Welser. “After the second period they didn’t seem to have the energy to compete with us. We were always one or two steps faster and they could just react with fouls.”
Just as on Friday, the Red Bulls were efficient in their power play and the start of the game was no exception. With a penalty called for six skaters on the ice, Michael Gergen hit the post, but Kelsey Wilson scored on a rebound at 3:40.
The Sheffield Steelers reacted immediately and equalized 25 seconds later. Matt Hubbauer escaped for a breakaway along the left sideboards and Gergen, who followed him, couldn’t prevent him from scoring the 1-1 goal.
However, Sheffield’s goal was the exception. Already the third power play of the Austrians ended with their second marker. Daniel Welser deflected a shot from Matthias Trattnig from the blueline at 15:21. Two minutes later Manuel Latusa made it 3-1 for Salzburg after the first period and a 24-9 shot advantage.
Sheffield’s simple defence-first game plan lead to a victory against Grenoble on Friday, but it was not the solution to beat Salzburg. Although Sheffield had a two-man advantage early in the middle stanza, the Brits couldn’t create many dangerous scoring chances.
Some minutes later it was Salzburg’s Michael Schiechl who was cheering after a shot which went under the body of Steelers goalie Andrew Verner, but Verner made a spectacular stick save behind his back. 14 seconds later, the 4-1 goal became reality when Latusa deflected a shot from the blueline from Trattnig. It was Latusa’s second goal and Trattnig’s third assist. This sealed the win for the Austrians.
Welser and Michael Schiechl extended the lead to 6-1 late in the second period. The third period ended with many penalty minutes against the frustrated Sheffield players, but without goals.