ROUEN – French Continental Cup host Rouen Dragons beat Polish champion GKS Tychy 6-5 in another offensive-minded game and is close to claiming the winners’ plate for a second time.
The Frenchmen had the better start into the game and built up a 6-2 lead until midway through the game but Tychy kept its heads high and came close to tying the game in the last minute.
“I told our players that this game is like a semi-final for us. We started well but were lucky to survive in the third period when we gave our opponent too many presents,” said Rouen coach Fabrice Lhenry.
After beating Herning 2-1 on the first day, Tychy had a great first minute to start against host club Rouen Dragons although the run of luck didn’t last much longer and the team wasn’t able to cause another upset.
Kamil Kalinowski opened the scoring already 42 seconds into the game on a quick attack. But the Polish fans at the arena didn’t have the chance celebrate it for too long as Dan Koudys tied the score just two minutes later tipping in the puck after a point shot from captain Patrick Coulombe.
The Dragons outskated the Tychy defence for that goal and did so again one minute later when Marc-Andre Thinel gave Rouen the lead. Olivier Dame-Malka extended the margin to 3-1 with his slap shot at 11:02 and Thinel scored his second marker of the night at 13:00 on the Dragons’ first power play.
A 5-on-3 power play late in the period gave the Poles hope to find their way back into the game. Marcin Kolusz capitalized on the situation with a goal to make it 4-2.
However, the second period was only 49 seconds old when Sacha Treille’s shot went in to restore Rouen’s three-goal lead. With a shot from just before the blueline Dame-Malka made it 6-2 – the defenceman’s second goal of the night tripling the number of goals he has scored for Rouen this season.
“We were more opportunistic in the beginning. We capitalized on our opportunities and built up a lead during two periods but were too relaxed on defence and let them come back,” said Nicolas Arrossamena. “We have to recover and prepare for the game tomorrow.”
Jaroslaw Rzesutko’s power-play marker midway through the second period cut the Dragons’ lead to 6-3 but that was not the end yet. Although the home team looked to remain the one in charge of the game, Tychy came another goal closer when Michal Kotlorz scored with 2:07 left in the middle frame to bring the game back within reach for the Poles.
GKS Tychy outshot Rouen in the third period but didn’t manage to score until with 37.3 left and the goalie pulled Rzesutko had his second marker of the night to make it 6-5 from an acute angle on the right side. Tychy was pushing hard for the equalizer in the last shifts of the game but the Poles didn’t beat Dany Sabourin for the game-tying goal.
Tychy lost but thanks to the last marker and only losing by a one-goal difference, the Poles at least kept their theoretical chances to win the tournament alive for tomorrow although they have slimmed down drastically. Tychy would need to beat Asiago in regulation time and hope for a 1-0 win of Herning against Rouen in regulation time to come atop in a three-team tie.
Tomorrow it all comes down to Rouen against Herning for the tournament win in the evening game. The Dragons just need to win the game or at least get one point from a regulation-time tie to claim the Continental Cup for the second time after 2012 without any math. A one-goal loss in regulation time may also be enough in case of a three-team tie with Herning and Tychy as long as the Dragons score at least once.
The Herning Blue Fox need to beat the Rouen Dragons in regulation time. If Tychy gets a regulation time win against Asiago to cause a three-team tie, Herning even needs a win with a margin of at least two goals.
“The Danes are defensively strong and have quality players. It will be a tough game,” Rouen coach Lhenry said.
Tychy plays Asiago at 16:00 before the Rouen vs. Herning final at 19:30.