After two days of play the participants were split between two undefeated teams – Kurbads Riga and HC Donbass – and two winless teams, Spanish champion Txuri Urdin San Sebastian and Icelandic qualifier Skautafelag Akureyrar.
The hosts took the lead in the standings from Day 1 on and never gave it away. On the first day they beat Icelandic Continental Cup newcomer Skautafelag Akureyrar 9-2 with four goals from Edgars Homjakovs. The Latvians were similarly dominant on the second day with an 8-1 victory over Txuri Urdin with goals from six different players including Homjakovs and Martins Cipulis with a pair of goals.
The scorelines of Ukrainian champion HC Donbass were not as high but they got the full six points from two games as well. Five different players scored in the 6-2 win over Txuri Urdin to open the tournament while the game against the team from Akureyri in the north of Iceland caused more difficulties than expected. Adam Beukeboom in the Icelandic net was a wall during the first two periods as the Icelanders were bombarded with 60 shots during the game. Ilya Smirnov gave Donbass an early lead at 1:49 but Jussi Sipponen tied it up 48 seconds later and 46 seconds into the second period Thomas Stuart-Dant even gave the Icelanders the lead. Donbass coach Julius Supler, who returned to the club where he once coached the team in the KHL and to Continental Cup victory in 2013, changed goaltenders and became a bit happier when Andri Denyskin tied it up a few minutes later.
In the third period Ilya Karanchuk gave Donbass the lead at 4:26 but the Icelanders didn’t stop dreaming. At 13:56 Kristjan Arnason tied the game at three. But the dream ended when Beukeboom had to be replaced for the last minutes of play. Donbass seized on the opportunity with two goals within a span of 25 seconds from Sevastian Karpenko and Vitali Kiryushenkov followed by an empty-net goal from Vladislav Goncharov to win 6-3.
On Sunday afternoon Skautafelag Akureyrar won a game for third place against Txuri Urdin 3-2 thanks to goals from Hafthor Sigrunarson, Sipponen and Johann Leifsson to continue a historic season for Iceland in the Continental Cup.
Uldis Calpa had a clean slate in the Kurbads net for almost 50 minutes when Dmytro Ignatenko eventually beat him for the 2-1 goal. Donbass outshot Kurbads in the last period but didn’t manage to tie the score. The game ended with a tight win for Kurbads and the Latvians advancing to the next round again.
Click here for scores and stats from the tournament.
This year Kurbads Riga hope to do better than with the last-place finish in the third round as they will travel to Lyon, France, to play in Group D. The tournament from 16 to 18 November also includes host Lyon Lions, Kazakh champion Arlan Kokshetau and Belarusian top team HK Gomel.
Click here for the Continental Cup overview.