ROUEN – Two years ago, same place, same time, the Rouen Dragons defeated Asiago Hockey 6-0. This time the Italians took revenge and defeated the hosts by the same score.
Rouen outshot their opponent 46-27 but didn’t manage to score on a strong Asiago goalkeeper Vincenzo Marozzi while having trouble with the fast Italian forwards who were always ready for counter-attacks.
“Obviously we didn’t think it would be such a wide open game. The team worked very hard,” said Asiago coach John Parco. “We tried to defend the neutral zone as hard as we can and we have some forwards who are skilled and fast.”
It was the first win for Asiago in a Continental Cup Super Final. In the three previous seasons, Asiago missed the finals twice and finished its only final participation two years ago in Rouen with a 0-3 record.
It didn’t look like a one-sided affair in the beginning. Everything seemed to go the Dragons’ way and the hosts got awarded a man advantage but somehow the power-play unit didn’t get it going. On the other side Asiago looked ready for counter-attacks and Sean Bentivoglio made use of one of them to score the first goal of the game shorthanded much to the joy of the 100 Italian fans waving the red-and-yellow flags of their team and the Italian tricolour.
At 10:36 the Dragons defence was again outskated by the Italians. Daniel Sullivan converted a centering pass for the 2-0 lead. Also the next big chance three minutes later was an Italian one when Christopher di Domenico tried to outplay the defence with fine stickhandling but was stopped by Dragons goalkeeper Gabriel Girard, who was favoured over national goalie Fabrice Lhenry and didn’t get the much needed support from the defence.
With 50.5 seconds left before the first intermission the 3-0 goal was eventually scored by Lorenzo Casetti with a slap shot from the blueline.
The Rouen Dragons came out with more determination and initiative in the second period but although they earned an 8-0 shot-on-goal advantage after nine minutes, they still didn’t manage to bring the puck past Marozzi.
On the other side, Bentivoglio scored on a breakaway to give the Italians a 4-0 lead that extinguished the Dragons’ fire. To the joy of the visiting fans and the annoyance of the home crowd, André Signoretti even made it 5-0 with two minutes left in the middle frame and with 44.2 seconds remaining David Borrelli ended another fast attack with the 6-0 goal.
“Maybe the players were nervous and wanted to do things too nicely. Instead we conceded goals on counter-attacks,” Dragons coach Rodolphe Garnier tried to explain the score. “It’s unusual for us to lose 6-0 and I’m not satisfied with the way we played.”
The Italians defended their six-goal lead during the third period before celebrating the victory while hearing their fans sing the national anthem out loud.
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