After going undefeated through four games, Team Canada has won the 89th annual Spengler Cup thanks to a 4-3 win over HC Lugano.
Canada was the stronger team in the first ten minutes, taking seven shots while allowing just three after half a period of action. That didn’t stop Lugano from finding the back of the net first, however. Alessio Bertaggia made a great play to 2010 Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Gregory Hofmann, who took the puck behind the net. From there, the former HC Davos forward would jam the puck past Jeff Glass on the wrap around, giving him his fourth point of the tournament in what has proven to be a great performance for the young forward.
Easily the best goaltender in the tournament, Elvis Merzlikins had a strong opening period for Lugano. Just 21-years-old, Merzlikins took over the starting role after splitting the job with Daniel Manzato last year, who has injured for most of the season in 2015-2016. Merzlikins, however, would allow a goal in the first, with Chris DiDomenico sending a shot out to Keaton Ellerby at the point, who ripped the shot past the screened goaltender to make it 1-1 before the end of the first. Canada looked like they would get another one before things came to a close, but an outstanding left pad stack save with two minutes to go potentially saved their game early in the contest.
The line of Derek Roy, Cory Conacher and Matt Ellison were easily the best line in the entire tournament, combining for three goals yesterday in Canada’s come-from-behind victory over Davos. So, naturally, it made sense for the group to score again for Canada. This time, Conacher’s shot would get stopped by Merzlikins, who kicked the puck right back in front. Matt Ellison did a good job of making it hard for the defense in front to get to Roy, who poked the puck past the Lugano goaltender to give Canada the 2-1 lead after just 3:27 of play in the second.
Lugano started to quickly lose momentum, as shown by going down by two goals with over half the game left. Just two minutes after Canada’s last goal, the national team was able to get another one on the board after Chris DiDomenico made a tremendous cross-ice pass on his knees to Tom Pyatt, who scored his second of the tournament to make it 3-1 Canada.
Very few leads in the Spengler have been safe throughout the tournament, including Davos’ 4-1 lead yesterday before Canada came back. Canada would see their two-goal advantage fall to just one after taking their fifth penalty of the contest, a play that Alessandro Chiesa would make no mistake on after just nudging it between Glass’ legs for the 3-2 goal.
It took just five minutes into the third and final period for Lugano to tie the game back up and force Canada into desperation. Hofmann was in a perfect spot for the goal once again, jamming the bouncing puck in from the right post to give make things 3-3 with a good portion of the game still to go.
But three minutes later, Canada would bounce back. With more ice to play with, the tournament has been filled with some of the best passing you’ll ever see. That didn’t change when Matt Lombardi touched the puck, making a behind the back pass from below the goal line to Matt D’agostini, who fired a hard shot past Merzlikins to score his first of the tournament at an important time. It proved to be the final goal of the tournament, giving Canada exactly what they needed to win the 2015 Spengler Cup championship in Davos, Switzerland.
With the championship, Team Canada has now won 13 tournament titles in the history of the Spengler Cup, with their most recent before this year coming back in 2012. The current top-ranked team in the IIHF men’s hockey rankings, Canada finishes off 2015 with gold at the World Juniors, World Championships, Inline Worlds, Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, Sledge Hockey World’s, World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, World Junior A Challenge and now the Spengler Cup.
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