It’s CHL crunch time

Semi-Finals, Wednesday: Metallurg-Salavat & Zurich-Espoo

08.12.2008
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Who will make it to the finals? Alexander Eremenko (Salavat), Jan Marek (Metallurg), Bernd Brückler (Espoo) and Ryan Gardner (Zurich) all had a great CHL campaign so far. Photos: Getty Images/Bongarts

The Champions Hockey League enters the semi-final stage on December 10 (all starting times are listed CET). Both games will be broadcast live and they will also be streamed live on www.championshockeyleague.com.

The semi-finals will be played “best-of-two”, home and away. The return games will be on January 7. There will be no shoot-out after a tied game. A shootout will only take place if teams are tied on points after the second (one win each or both games end in ties).

Teams earned home ice advantage in the return game on January 7 due to their record in the CHL group stage.

Semi-final 1 – both games on December 10, 2008

Metallurg Magnitogorsk (RUS) – Salavat Yulayev Ufa (RUS) 16.00 (in Magnitogorsk, RUS)
A semifinal between two KHL teams. While Salavat had a perfect 4W-0L (12 points) record in the CHL group stage, Metallurg won its group despite one loss (to Eisbären Berlin, away). In their domestic league, Salavat leads all 24 KHL teams with 74 points after 31 games, while Metallurg is ten points behind despite one more game played. Metallurg is a three-time European club champion: 1999, 2000 and 2008. The teams have met once so far in the KHL this season, with Salavat winning 5-1 away in Magnitogorsk on September 28.

ZSC Lions Zurich (SUI) – Espoo Blues (FIN) 19.30 (in Rapperswil-Jona, SUI)
Surprise ZSC Lions host Espoo Blues in Rapperswil, some 25 km south-east of Zurich as the regular home venue Hallenstadion is occupied by bicycle races.
The Lions are still on a high after the impressive 5-1 win over Slavia in Prague last week, a performance which earned the Swiss side a semi-final spot. Goaltender Ari Sulander, the hero from the Prague game where he stopped 51 shots, will now be facing his fellow countrymen. ZSC has won 14 out of their 16 last games. Espoo will be well rested as they have been idle since their last CHL game on December 3.

Finnish clubs have a 12W-1T-2L record against Swiss clubs in major IIHF club competitions (European Cup 66-97, European Hockey League 97-00, European Champions Cup 05-08 and Champions Hockey League). The only occasions on which a Swiss club has defeated a Finnish club are: 1995-96 EHC Kloten vs. TPS Turku 3-2 and 1992-1993 Jokerit Helsinki vs. SC Bern 0-1 (European Cup).


Broadcasters for Wednesday’s games:

Metallurg Magnitogorsk – Salavat Yulayev
Broadcasters: Live: RTR All Sports (Russia); TVP Sport (Poland); Eurosport 1 (delayed, Germany); Universal Sport (live streaming, USA); MTV3 (Finland); CT4 (Czech Republic); Megasport (Ukraine); Viasat Sport (Sweden); Viasat Sport Norway (delayed); www.sportstream.cz; Boom Sport 1 (Romania); www.championshockeyleague.com
Highlights: RTR All Sports; TVP Sport; Universal Sport; MTV3; Megasport; SNTV (News); EVS (News); Sport+ (France and Africa).

ZSC Lions Zurich – Espoo Blues
Broadcasters: Live: SRG Switzerland (SF Info; TSI2; TSR2-delayed); Eurosport 1; MTV3; TVP Sport; Universal Sport (live streaming); CT4; Rai Sport (delayed, Italy); STV3 (delayed, Slovakia); RTR All Sport (delayed); Boom Sport 1; www.championshockeyleague.com
Highlights: MTV3; TVP Sport; Universal Sport; Megasport; SNTV (News); EVS (News); Sport+.


Go to championshockeyleague.com for latest news, team updates and the clubs in the semi-final round. Click here for the on-ice officials assignments for the Wednesday’s games.

The next semi-final games will be played on January 7, 2009 as follows:

Salavat Yulayev Ufa – Metallurg Magnitogorsk (in Ufa, RUS)
Espoo Blues – ZSC Lions Zurich (in Espoo, FIN)

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

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