Davos scored just one goal, but that’s all it took as the hometown Swiss team advanced to the Spengler Cup semi-finals following a 1-0 victory over Zagreb on Sunday.
It took Davos just over a minute to take the 1-0 lead. After some split pressure, Marcus Paulsson skated in with the puck in the Zagreb zone, sending the puck over the glove of former AHLer Mark Owuya. The shot was a savable one indeed, but Owuya was expecting it to go a little higher and missed the shot.
Zagreb gave Davos many good chances to extend their lead, but none came better than the chance Reto von Arx had five minutes in. The legendary Davos player, who currently leads the Spengler Cup in all-time tournament scoring, picked up the pass on the left side of the net and fired it between Owuya’s legs. The puck looked like it was headed for the back of the net, but somehow hit the right post and trickled away, unable to expand on their one goal advantage.
The biggest story of the game had to involve the referees. The officials, wearing their famous striped uniforms with cows on the front, called ten minor penalties in the first 30 minutes alone, much higher than what usually is called in NHL competition. As a result, both teams had multiple chances at playing with the power-play, but nothing would come from it by either team in the second period.
Unlike the Geneve-Servette game earlier in the morning, there wasn’t any real favourite during the game. Most people expected Davos to walk away with the game and show their true muscle, but penalty troubles really hindered any ability to do so. Neither team was really dominating in the shot department, with the home team leading 19-16 after two periods of play, but some solid defense work by both teams were to blame.
With just over three minutes off the clock in the third, Davos goaltending star Leonardo Genoni made a huge diving pad save to stop former Atlanta Thrasher Mark Popovic up close. That was the closest Zagreb got to winning the game, as a late game attack proved to be ineffective, allowing Davos to take the 1-0 victory and secure a bye to the semi-finals on Tuesday.
With both Swiss teams off tomorrw, Ufa will battle Zagreb tomorrow morning at 9am EST in the first quarter-final game. Later in the day, Canada will face Jokerit at 2pm EST in hopes of moving on to the next round on Tuesday.
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