TILBURG/MARIBOR – Poland’s Cracovia Krakow and Romanian champion SC Miercurea Ciuc won the second-round groups of the Continental Cup played last weekend in Tilburg and Maribor. Both now advance to the third stage.Mikolaj Lopuski’s goal seals Cracovia win
Cracovia Krakow faced little resistance in its first two games in Tilburg when it defeated Estonia’s Kohtla-Järve Viru Sputnik, 9-1, followed by a 10-1 bashing against Spanish qualifier CH Jaca.
The two wins were still not enough to seal the tournament win as host Tilburg had a small chance to provide the upset despite suffering a 7-4 loss against Kohtla-Järve the night before.
Tilburg knew it would need three points against Cracovia and proved to be a tough nut to crack for the Polish squad. David Kostuch opened the scoring in the middle period, but in the next three minutes Angelo van Hunten and Diederick Hagemeijer made it a 2-1 lead for the Trappers.
The game became got wild in the third period, with six goals on both ends. Grzegorz Pasiut tied the score at two, but Andreas Nilssons’s power-play goal restored the lead. 44 seconds later it was Daniel Laszkiewicz, assisted by his younger brother and national team captain Laszek, to equalize. David Kostuch gave Cracovia the lead at 50:46.
Mickey Bastings scored on a power play to deadlock the game at four. Tilburg had a chance to seal the win with a late power-play, but the Dutch couldn’t capitalize on their chances. It looked like the game would go into overtime, but Mikolaj Lopuski got the win with his goal with less than three minutes left in regulation.
It was the eleventh consecutive victory for Cracovia, including games in the Polish league.
“It was a very good game on both sides. I cannot remember a game that was such a tough, but fair match for us in Poland. It was spectacular for the fans,” Cracovia head coach Rudolf Rohacek said.
Cracovia Krakow advances to the third stage after winning the tournament in Tilburg. They will face the Rouen Dragons (France), the Coventry Blaze (Great Britain) and Liepajas Metalurgs (Latvia) in Group D which is hosted by Rouen.
“Tilburg showed that you can keep up with any team if you fight for the win and that’s what we want to take over to the next round in Rouen,” Rohacek said. “We will go there to win and to put our heart and soul into the game.”Click here for box scores of Group B.Miercurea Ciuc first Romanian club to play in third round
SC Miercurea Ciuc wrote history when it became the first-ever Romanian team to advance to the third stage of the Continental Cup.
Romanian clubs have struggled to keep up in the second round of the Continental Cup, but SC Miercurea Ciuc was close the last two years when it hosted second-round groups and finished in second place each time.
This time, the Romanians topped the standings of Group C in Maribor, Slovenia. They didn’t have a perfect record, but this time two wins proved to be enough to advance to the next round.
Miercurea Ciuc defeated HDK Maribor, 8-3, in the opening game before facing Kazakh champion Sary-Arka Karaganda – the game that ultimately decided the weekend winner.
The Kazakhs had the better start with power-play goals from Eldar Nazhmutdinov and Sergei Shikhanov, but they couldn’t defend the lead for long. Istvan Nagy and Vaclav Novak reacted with two goals within 62 seconds to tie the game.
Penalty calls against Rustam Yessirkenov and Dmitri Kokorev gave Miercurea Ciuc a five-on-three for more than a minute. It looked like the Romanians would not beat Sary-Arka netminder Alexei Semyonov until Ladislav Sikorcin hit the back of the net with 11 seconds left in the two-man advantage.
The teams were scoreless in the middle stanza, but Sary-Arka came out strong in the third.
Miercurea Ciuc took six minor penalties in a row in the second and third period, but the Kazakh power play proved to be ineffective in front of Stanislav Kozuch’s net. Sikorcin scored his second goal with a shorthander at 42:11. Vladimir Ivantsov cut the deficit one minute later just after Miercurea Ciuc was back in full strength, but Miercurea Ciuc’s 4-3 lead prevailed until the final buzzer.
Because Dunaujvaros lost its second game against Maribor 3-2, Miercurea Ciuc was already the tournament winner after two games. The Romanians didn’t need a win and lost against Dunaujvaros, 5-2, while Sary-Arka defeated Maribor for second place.SC Miercurea Ciuc players celebrate a goal in the 4-3 win against Sary-Arka Karaganda. Photo: HDK Maribor
Miercurea Ciuc moves onto Group C in Asiago, Italy. The other teams will be SønderjyskE Vojens from Denmark and Ukrainian champion Sokil Kyiv.
Both groups of the third round will be played November 26-28.Click here for box scores of Group C.Click here for the Continental Cup overview.
European club hockey continues on Friday with four groups of the European Women’s Champions Cup in Bolzano (Italy), Ankara (Turkey), Jelgava (Latvia) and St. Pölten (Austria).Click here for the EWCC structure and schedules.