ZSC Lions come up huge, 5-1

Semi-finals set: Metallurg-Salavat & Zurich-Espoo


Zurich's Jan Alston (two goals) and Thibaut Monnet say hello to the CHL semi-finals after the 5-1 trashing of Slavia Prague. Photo: Getty Images/Bongarts

The Champions Hockey League is down to the final four. Metallurg will host Salavat Yulayev in Magnitogorsk in the first semi-final, while the Espoo Blues visit the ZSC Lions in Rapperswil-Jona. This after Zurich’s massive and unexpected 5-1 win in Prague.
Champions Hockey League semifinals – December 10 & January 7

Semi-final 1 – December 10, 2008
Metallurg Magnitogorsk – Salavat Yulayev Ufa (in Magnitogorsk, RUS)
ZSC Lions Zurich – Espoo Blues (in Rapperswil-Jona, SUI)

Semi-final 2 – January 7, 2009
Salavat Yulayev Ufa – Metallurg Magnitogorsk (in Ufa, RUS)
Espoo Blues – ZSC Lions Zurich (in Espoo, FIN)

Note: The Group Stage record determined which team earned home-ice advantage in the second game.

Group A:
Eisbären Berlin (GER, 2W-1OTW-1L) – Metallurg Magnitogorsk (RUS, 3W-1L) 2 – 1
(in Berlin).
Andy Roach and Denis Pederson provided Berlin with a 2-0 lead half way through the game. They held on to inflict the first loss on a Russian team in the CHL. Tomas Rolinek replied for Metallurg, but Eisbären won and finished second in the group. Game report.

Group B:
HV71 Jönköping (SWE, 1W-3L) – Espoo Blues (FIN, 4W-0L) 0 – 6

(in Jönköping).
Sami Ryhanen had two goals and one assist and Tero Konttinen added a pair as the Espoo Blues kept a perfect record going to the semi-finals. The win against a lethargic HV71 secured home-ice advantage in the second semi-final game on January 7. Espoo starts the semis against the ZSC Lions in Rapperswil-Jona next Wednesday. Austrian goalie Bernd Bruckler had his first CHL shut-out. Game report.

Group C:
Salavat Yulayev Ufa (RUS, 4W-0L) – Slovan Bratislava (SVK, 1W-3L)  8 – 2
(in Ufa).
Salavat Yulayev Ufa kept its perfect CHL record in tact. The win forced Metallurg Magnitogorsk to win by eleven goals in Berlin to grab home-ice advantage in the second semi-final and that was not to be.
Andrei Sidyakin scored a pair while leading a four-goal second-period outburst to change the score to 5-2 prior to second intermission. Andrei Taratukhin, Leos Cermak and Andrei Kuteykin added third-period tallies to run up the score to 8-2. Game report.

Group D:
Slavia Prague (CZE, 2W-1OTW-1L) – ZSC Lions Zurich (SUI, 3W-1OTL) 1 - 5
(in Prague).
An impressive and huge win for the Swiss, who were outshot 52-22, but goalie Ari Sulander was a force. Swiss-Canadians Ryan Gardner and Jan Alston struck with two goals on two great shots 38 seconds apart midway through the third period to break a 1-1 deadlock at Prague’s O2 Arena. Gardner and Alston also got the two late security goals to make it 5-1. The Lions’ home game next Wednesday will be in neighboring Rapperswil-Jona as its home arena, the Hallenstadion, already had an event scheduled .
Game report.

Go to www.championshockeyleague.com for complete game summaries and the final standings of the clubs in all four groups.

The home and away finals will be played on January 21 & 28.



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