ROUEN – Yunost Minsk defeated winless HC Asiago 4-1 to secure a medal at the Continental Cup. Whether the colour will be gold or silver will be determined by the outcome of the game between the Rouen Dragons and Donbass Donetsk tonight.
Yunost will see the final race from the tribune and needs Rouen to win in regulation time by a margin of one or two goals in order to finish on top, or by the score of 3-0.
If Rouen wins by a margin of three goals but with the score of 4-1 or more goals, or if Rouen wins by a margin of four or more goals, the French will win the Continental Cup.
Donbass Donetsk simply needs to gain at least one point against the Rouen Dragons to win the tournament, either by defeating the French or by losing in overtime/shootout.
HC Asiago mainly played for honour in the afternoon game while Yunost Minsk needed to win in regulation time to keep its chances alive. But the task was more difficult for Yunost in the beginning than the final score indicates.
The Italians were on a par with Yunost in the first period, but they suffered from a bad start. Michele Strazzabosco was sent to the penalty box for interference and Jason Pitton made it even worse when he was called a penalty for roughing after attacking Andrei Bashko. Yunost capitalized on the two-man advantage with goals from Latvian forward Armands Berzins and Viktor Turkin.
Asiago tried to find its way back and kept up well with Yunost, but the Italians simply didn’t find ways and ideas to defeat Yunost goalkeeper Mika Oksa and to make up for the mistakes that happened early in the game. On the other side, Yunost Minsk always remained dangerous with its skilled forwards.
At 15:30 of the second period Sergei Zadelenov concluded a quick attack by his line with the 3-0 goal and 88 seconds into the third period Maxim Slysh scored another goal the same way.
Raffaele Intranuovo made it 4-1 with two minutes left to play, but it was too little, too late.
“It would have been nice to win a game, but it was a good experience for our players,” Asiago’s head coach John Tucker said. “We have some players who played NHL games and in the minors, but the majority has never played at the level we had here.”
While Asiago has to go home without having gained a point in its first-ever Continental Cup Super Final, Yunost can still hope to win the tournament. However, coach Mikhail Zakharov doesn’t really believe in a miraculous win by the Rouen Dragons.
“We are satisfied with the second place, but we had the chance to be the tournament winner. We came here to win, but unfortunately we lost our chance in the game against Donetsk,” Zakharov said.