Continental Cup Finalists determined
by Henrik Manninen|20 NOV 2023
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
Kazakhstan´s Nomad and GKS Katowice from Poland became the first two teams to advance to the final of the 2024 IIHF Continental Cup. Following a dramatic finish in Round 3 of the Continental Cup they were joined by Great Britain´s representative Cardiff Devils and Herning Blue Fox from Denmark. The quartet will now move to the final round contested between 12-14 January 2024. All four teams have previously featured at this level but none have yet lifted the Continental Cup winners' plate.

Nomad sweeps Group E in France, Cardiff also progress.

With an average age of just 21, Nomad´s young guns proved unstoppable in Group E. Qualification from Round 3 was sealed after two consecutive victories. The Kazakh champions finished top of the standings with an unblemished record following a final day win over Zemgale Jelgava 4-1.

The team hailing from Kazakhstan´s capital Nur-Sultan finished second in their Continental Cup debut in 2018. The team coached by Fedor Polishchuk now has the chance to go one better come January next year.
Despite travelling the furthest distance Nomad showed no symptoms of jet lag in Grenoble´s Patinoire Pole Sud. In their opener against top-seeds Cardiff Devils, they were outshot 45-29 but clinical finishing saw Nomad race into a three-goal lead to beat the top seeds 5-4.

Conceding just five goals in three games, netminder Nikita Boyarkin was selected as Nomad´s best player in their opening two games. Against hosts Bruleurs De Loups in the Kazakh's second game, the 25-year-old enjoyed a memorable night blocking all 52 shots. Once again Nomad proved efficient in capitalizing on their chances scoring twice in just 16 shots. A powerplay goal by Viacheslav Kolesnikov got them off the mark before Eduard Shetle sealed a memorable 2-0 win in front of a crowd of 3724.
Nikita Boyarkin from the Nomads (KAZ)
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
The Cardiff Devils will also join the party as the team from South Wales qualifies for the 2024 IIHF Continental Cup Final as runner-up in Group E. Bouncing straight back from their opening day loss, Devils stepped out to beat Latvia´s Zemgale Jelgava 5-2. Second place was confirmed in the closing game of Group E´s as tournament top scorer Justin Crandall (3+2 in three games) netted the only goal of the game against Bruleurs De Loups.

The qualifier from the second round, Latvia´s champions Zemgale finished third after winning their opener against Bruleurs De Loups. The 2010 Continental Cup finalists and hosts Bruleurs De Loups finished without a point in a tournament on home ice marred by missed opportunities. A deflected effort in their opening game scored by captain Sacha Treille was the only goal the hosts could muster during nine periods.

GKS Katowice tops Group F, Herning also progress

High-flying GKS Katowice needed only two games to qualify for the final round. Jacek Plachta´s coached team finished top of Group F in Cortina D'Ampezzo. The Polish champions will now have another shot at Continental Cup glory following their third-place finish in 2019. They are joined in the final by Group F top-seeds Herning Blue Fox. The Danish top seeds seemed down and out but managed to squeeze past host team SG Cortina for second place during a nail-biter of a final round.

In front of a large contingent of travelling Polish fans filling one end of the Stadio Olimpico, Grzegorz Pasiut notched four goals and an assist to open Katowice´s campaign with a 5-4 win against Hungary´s Ferencvarosi TC. In their second game, the ruthless Silesians scored four unanswered first period goals in just 125 seconds blanking hosts SG Cortina 8-0. Having already booked their ticket for the final round, Katowice closed the tournament with a point in an overtime loss against Herning. Bartosz Fraszko finished as the tournament points leader with 0+7 in three games for Katowice.

Despite encountering a fair share of bumps along the way, Herning Blue Fox notched second place in Group F. In their tricky opener against hosts SG Cortina, the Danes held a slender 3-2 lead when Mathias Bau´s squandered his penalty shot. Right at the death of the second period, Cortina quickfired two goals in 20 seconds turning the game into a memorable 4-3 victory.
Matthias BAU from the Herning Blue Fox (DEN)
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
But in the end, it was the Danes having the last laugh. They rallied back from a goal down to beat Ferencvaros 4-1 in their second game before displaying a similar never-say-die attitude in their final game against group winners Katowice. Trailing 0-2 Herning clawed themselves back as Petter Hansson´s overtime winner beat the Poles 3-2. The Danes now clung their hopes to Ferencvaros getting something out of their closing game against SG Cortina in order to progress.

During a final day full of twists and turns, the Hungarians answered the call. Despite Cortina leading 4-1 with 15 minutes left of the third period, Ferencvaros sparked into life. Netting four unanswered goals, blueliner Vladimir Roth scored the overtime winner for the fourth-placed Magyars to propel the Danes into the final round where they last competed back in 2016.