BOLZANO, Italy – The Bolzano Eagles won their first-round tournament of the European Women’s Championship Cup on home ice after edging HC Neuilly sur Marne from France 4-2 on Sunday night.
Both teams had a clean record after two games with high-scoring wins over third-placed KHL Gric from Croatia and Spanish champion Valladolid Panteras.
Anna de la Forest scored four goals for the Eagles in their first game against Valladolid while team captain Chelsea Furlani shone with six goals in the second game against Gric.
In the deciding game against Neuilly sur Marne it became more difficult for the Italians. They outshot the French 52-34 but both teams had their chances to win the tournament.
The home team had the better start and opened the scoring on a five-on-three power play with a goal from de la Forest.
The French defended the net better in the second period and built up some pressure. They were initially rewarded with the tying goal from Guendaline Gendarme but the Bolzano Eagles reacted and capitalized on two power plays with two markers in the last five minutes of the second period by Furlani and de la Forest.
Carola Saletta sealed the win with the Eagles’ fourth goal at 6:39 of the third period and Maiwenn Lombard cut the deficit with 87 seconds left to play for the final score of 4-2.
While Furlani and de la Forest scored the most goals in the tournament, goalkeeper Daniela Klotz had 32 of 34 shots on goal saved in the deciding game.
Gric defeated Valladolid 4-3 in a shootout to claim the third place of the tournament.
The Bolzano Eagles will now advance to the second round in Dornbirn, Austria, where they will face Switzerland’s ZSC Lions Zurich, German champion OSC Berlin and another qualifier from 7 to 9 December.
The tournament in Bolzano took place two weeks earlier than the other three tournaments of the first stage that will be hosted in Molodechno (Belarus), Örnsköldsvik (Sweden) and Vienna (Austria).
Click here for the scores.
Click here for an overview of the European Women’s Championship Cup.