In the first do-or-die game of the 2015 Spengler Cup, HC Davos avoided total embarrassment by erasing a 4-2 deficit in the third period to beat Jokerit 5-4 in overtime and advance to the semi-finals.

The story of the game wasn’t who was playing for both teams, but more who wasn’t. Davos would sit out top scorers Perttu Lindgren and Dino Wieser and Devin Setoguchi, who scored in the tournament, as well as one of their best defenders in Beat Forster. For Jokerit, the team decided to sit out their leading scorer in Brandon Kozun, who was their best forward after two games of play, and defenseman Philip Larsen, who had a very strong game on Monday. Both teams elected to go with their backup goalies for the game, which scared some Davos fans knowing that there was a chance that they would never see Leonardo Genoni play another Spengler Cup game after deciding to join Bern for next season.

Besides that, it only took 2:20 for Davos to record their first lead of the tournament. After making his Spengler Cup debut yesterday, 18-year-old depth forward Jerome Portmann took a pass from Lukas Sieber from behind the net before firing the puck past Riku Helenius, giving the home team the 1-0 advantage early in the contest.

Despite Jokerit getting their chances on Davos backup goaltender Gilles Senn, it didn’t look like Jokerit had much interest in keeping the game close. It would take a penalty shot goal to tie things up after almost 12 minutes of home team domination. Daine Todd would get obstructed on a breakaway, but he didn’t make a mistake with a quick little deke on Senn to tie things up at one apiece.

Jokerit looked a little more determined in the second period, but they still were the ones to allow the first goal of the period. Former NHLer Ville Koistinen, who used to play for Davos, scored for Davos as a reinforcement after somehow beating Helenius from the blue line with a weak, long shot to make it 2-1 Davos.

But that was just a slight issue for Jokerit, who scored two in a row to take their first lead of the game. First, Juhamatti Aaltonen scored after stealing the loose puck in front of the net and flicking it under the bar, tying things back up at three with nine minutes left in the period. Then, with four minutes left in the frame, Roope Talaja tipped in a shot from Atte Ohtamaa from the point to make it 3-2 Jokerit, who quickly silenced the usually loud Davos crowd.

Everything quickly fell apart for Davos. With just over a minute left, Peter Regin took the puck in the slot and fired a soft shot at Senn, somehow beating the Davos goaltender through the legs to make it 4-2. It wasn’t good for Davos, as a weak goal like that could have easily taken any momentum the team had heading into the third period.

Davos needed a huge third period to get back into the game, and they finally found a way to get the puck past Helenius with nine minutes left. After some sustained pressure from the Swiss club, Enzo Corvi made a great pass in front to Mauro Jorg, who wasted no time firing it past the former Tampa Bay Lightning goalie to bring the crowd to their feet and put Davos down by just a goal.

The fans had been quieter than usual when it came to their own team, but with four minutes left to play, the team had the biggest reason ever to go crazy. After Davos basically controlled the whole period, Samuel Walser, who missed on a breakaway chance a few minutes earlier, took a pass from Marc Wieser, firing it just over Helenius’ glove to tie the game up at four apiece with time counting down.

With the game tied after 60 minutes, the Spengler Cup would see it’s first 3-on-3 overtime in the history of the tournament. It was a crazy few minutes of hockey, with Davos seemingly giving the puck away in their own zone numerous times. But in Mats Sundin-eqsue fashion, captain Andres Ambuhl would make a great play in the offensive zone, fending off a bit of an attack from a Jokerit defender. Ambuhl would hold to make a pass to Gregory Sciaroni, who one-timed the shot just in front of the crease into the back of the net to give Davos the 5-4 victory after trailing by two goals to start the third period.

With the win, Davos avoided going without a win in the tournament, something they haven’t done in 18 years. They’ll have to set their focus on a 9:00 am EST match with Team Canada on Wednesday in a fight to see who’ll head to the finals on Thursday. Canada easily controlled the game on Monday night between the two clubs, beating a dis-interested Davos team 2-0.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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