OULU, Finland – Tornado Moscow Region won its third European Women’s Champions Cup in four years, sweeping the opposition to capture its second consecutive trophy.
The women from Dmitrov in the Moscow Region defeated the ZSC Lions Zurich, MODO Örnsköldsvik, and hosts Kärpät Oulu in the round-robin final to earn the right to hoist the Champions Cup. The team’s biggest test came in the opening game against last year’s runner-up ZSC, a 3-2 victory in overtime that gave the team the points needed to capture the trophy following easier victories over Kärpät and MODO.
While last year the Swedish connection of Danijela Rundqvist and Elin Holmlöv led the way for Tornado, this year it was the home-grown Russian talent of Galina Skiba, Yekaterina Smolentseva, and Svetlana Kolmykova, who provided much of the offensive production for the team in place of the departed Swedes.
All three played a big part in the win over ZSC. Smolentseva and Kolmykova scored in the first and second periods to put Tornado up 2-0 and in the driver’s seat going into the final frame.
But a furious rally by the Zurich Lions in the final ten minutes, touched off with a power play goal from Sara Benz and completed four minutes later with an unassisted effort by Lara Stalder, sent the two teams to overtime.
It would take only 45 seconds to settle the winner in the extra frame, when Smolentseva found Galina Skiba for the game-winning goal. Smolentseva and Stadler were selected as Best Players for the game, and Tornado collected the all-important extra point it would need to eventually win the tournament.
The next day, Tornado followed up with a 5-0 shutout of MODO. Slovak goalie Zuzana Tomcikova earned the shutout but had little to do for the first two periods as Tornado outshot their opponent 27-9. Skiba and Kolmykova each had two more goals in that game, with Skiba chosen as Tornado’s Best Player.
On Sunday all that was needed was a victory over the hosts Kärpät Oulu, and Tornado took advantage of miscues by the Finnish club to jump out to a 3-0 lead with three power-play goals, the first two on a two-man advantage. Smolentseva added another and Skiba an empty net goal to seal the 5-2 victory and the 2013 European Women’s Champions Cup.
Tournament leading scorer Anne Helin (1G+5A) of Kärpät was selected as the Tournament Best Forward. MODO’s Malin Sjögren was chosen as Best Defenceman.
Tornado goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova was selected as Top Goalkeeper. Tomcikova posted a 94.74 save percentage and a 1.33 goal-against average to propel her team to its second straight Champions Cup.
Tornado Moscow now has won three European Women’s Champions Cups (2013, 2012, 2010) in the span of four years.
ADAM STEISSClick here for scores, stats and photos.