MINSK – Reining Continental Cup champion Red Bull Salzburg opened the 2011 Continental Cup Super Final in Minsk with a 6-1 victory against French champion Rouen Dragons.
The game was open until early into the third period when Salzburg scored three goals within two and a half minutes.
Ryan Duncan was the only player who scored twice, including the first goal after 71 seconds of play, and he also had two assists.
Two quick goals paved the way for the lopsided score that doesn’t necessarily reflect puck possession, but for sure the scoring efficiency. The Austrian players outclassed their opponents in front of the net while Reinhard Divis did his work well on the other end with 20 saves.
“It definitely wasn’t easy. I think the final score is not representative for the game. The game was pretty close for a long time,” Duncan said. “We had a couple of goals pretty early, but they never gave up and we had a great goalie. It’s the way hockey goes sometimes.”
Salzburg coach Pierre Pagé had warned his team against taking the game vs. Rouen too easy and his squad responded accordingly from the beginning.
Duncan at 1:11 and defenceman Andre Lakos from the blueline two minutes later gave Salzburg a two-goal advantage.
“Rouen played well and hard and their physical style of play woke us up. Rouen had lot of chances and we had to capitalize on ours while Divis made the difference,” Pagé said.
The early two-goal lead was the foundation for Salzburg’s win because Rouen’s efforts were fruitless.
“We missed the first three minutes and then it was 2-0. Afterwards it was tough and we didn’t make use of our chances,” Rouen coach Rodolphe Garnier said.
It took six minutes until Luc Tardif had the first real scoring chance for the French when he appeared in front of Divis, but the Austrian netminder made the save.
One-and-a-half minutes later Divis had a great glove save when Daniel Babka got a pass from Alexandre Mulle just in front of the net, and after 12 minutes of play Julien Desrosiers missed on a breakaway.
Rouen’s scoring drought eventually ended at 14:15. Playing with a two-man advantage, Carl Mallette cut the lead.
While Fabrice Lhenry deflected Thomas Koch’s penalty shot midway through the game, the French were desperately looking for the second goal, but didn’t succeed in front of the net. François-Pierre Guenette had the biggest opportunity to tie it up when he hit the post at 11:50, but from that moment on it went downwards for the French.
Salzburg’s Daniel Welser capitalized on a quick attack to make it 3-1 at 14:33.
Welser and Ramzi Abid had two great chances in the dying seconds of the second period, but the score remained while Luc Tardif got a penalty for slashing that gave Salzburg wings.
The Austrians didn’t capitalize on its chances during the man advantage, but they improved at 3:24. Lhenry deflected a shot from Welser, but Abid passed the puck to the other side to Duncan, who made it a three-goal lead. At 5:18 Shaun Heshka scored another goal, and 27 seconds later Michael Schiechl made it 6-1.
Denmark’s SønderjyskE Vojens will challenge host Yunost Minsk in tonight’s game.
For Red Bull Salzburg the tournament continues on Saturday afternoon against SønderjyskE while Rouen takes on Yunost in the evening game.
“We hope to get better throughout the tournament. We don’t know much about our next opponent, but every team here is a champion, so we know they’re going to be good and we need to be prepared for the Danish team,” Duncan said.