ROUEN – Defending champion Donbass Donetsk opened the 2014 IIHF Continental Cup Super Final with a 3-2 victory in shootout against the Stavanger Oilers.
Donbass, ranked among the top teams in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League, entered the first game against newcomer Stavanger Oilers as the clear favourite. But that didn’t prevent the Norwegians from working on an upset.
“We know that the teams at this tournament are strong and there’s a lot of pressure on us,” said Donbass Donetsk goalkeeper Michael Leighton, who was selected as best player of his team. “They came out hard and we came out hard and they played hard all the game.”
Yevgeni Dadonov was cheering after 13 minutes of play when he thought the puck had crossed the line but it didn’t. It did so on the other side, however, with 24.3 seconds left in the first period when a screened Donbass goalie Leighton let in a shot from Juha-Pekka Koikas that gave Stavanger the lead.
Donbass outshot the Oilers 17-7 in the first period and under the vocal support from the fan groups from Norway and Ukraine the Ukrainians worked on the game-tying goal.
With 2:55 left in the middle frame the Ukrainians were eventually rewarded for their work when Jan Kolar’s shot from the blueline went in although Loikas almost regained the lead with a breakaway half a minute later.
The Ukrainians continued to be the driving force in the third period and Dadanov brought his team the lead on a breakaway at 8:43. But with 2:58 left in the period, Tommy Kristiansen came out of the penalty box and tied the game at three to bring it to overtime. It started with a man advantage for Stavanger because Maxim Yakutsenya had been assessed a penalty for hooking with nine seconds remaining in regulation time but the Oilers didn’t capitalize on their chances.
A shootout had to decide and it was Vaclav Nederost who scored the game-winning goal for Donbass.
“We met the strongest team and were a big underdog in this game,” summarized Oilers coach Petter Thoresen. “We did pretty well in the first period but in the second period they had too many chances and we watched them carry the puck too often. We created chances in the third period and managed to come back. I’m really proud of the good game our guys played against this team.”
Game-winning shot competition:
Round 1: Dahl-Andersen – 0-1, Dadonov – 1-1.
Round 2: Lorentzen – 1-2, Kaspar – missed.
Round 3: Strandfeldt – post, Yakutsenya – 2-2.
Round 4: Nederost – 3-2, Dahl-Andersen – save.
Click here for scores, stats and photos.