GRENOBLE, France – Red Bull Salzburg won the first-ever game of an Austrian team in a final tournament of the Continental Cup. They defeated the 2007 champion Yunost Minsk in front of 2,000 spectators in Grenoble. The Austrians celebrated a 5-3 victory despite Yunost had opened the scoring with two first-period goals.
The team of head coach Mikhail Zakharov showed its offensive potential during the first eight minutes, but they lost the game after Salzburg’s two strong periods.
Defenceman Oleg Leontiev won the puck in his own zone and the three forwards initiated a breakaway. It was the coach’s son, Konstantin Zakharov, who paced towards Salzburg goalkeeper Reinhard Divis. Salzburg’s Daniel Welser and Matthias Trattnig tried to block the way, but couldn’t prevent Zakharov from opening the scoring with a shot from a sharp angle at 8:22.
Salzburg had the chance to equalize when Yunost defenceman Alexei Baranov was sent to the penalty box, but Jeremy Rebek took a penalty for interference and Yunost scored the second goal on a 4-on-4 just four seconds later. Andrei Stepanov scored on a rebound at 9:28 after Reinhard Divis deflected Sergei Erkovich’s shot from the blueline.
Pierre Pagé’s Red Bulls came out strong for the second period and forced Yunost to take penalties. Mike Siklenka cut the lead with his goal at 25:25 during a two-man advantage.
Midway through the game, Salzburg capitalized on a 5-on-3 situation. Trattnig passed the puck from the blueline in front of the net to Daniel Welser, who equalized the score at 2-2.
Yunost Minsk reacted and had the chance to regain the lead when Salzburg took three straight penalties within three minutes and coach Zakharov took a time-out at 37:20 when a two-man advantage started for Yunost Minsk, but the Belarusians couldn’t capitalize on their chances.
Red Bull Salzburg overcame the penalty trouble and had another power play before the end of the middle period that finished with Jonathan Filewich scoring the lead at 39:25. Yunost rebounded once again and Oleksandr Materukhin scored the 3-3 goal on a power play four seconds after Marco Pewal was penalized.
Red Bull Salzburg pulled away in the third. Filewich scored his second goal on a power play at 45:27 and Martin Ulmer made it 5-3 at 56:18. It was Salzburg’s only five on five goal .
“It was a great feeling to beat a team of that caliber,” said Filewich. “It was probably one of the top three games we have played this season. We were battling pretty hard after being down 2-0. They started more physical than we expected.”
“You need to play well in every shift and you can't have too many penalties,” said Salzburg coach Pagé. “We had less and less penalties at the end. We learned in the qualification that every game is important and every opponent and referee is different. He called the penalties strictly and we adjusted well.”
Host Grenoble Brûleurs de Loups plays the Sheffield Steelers in the late game at 20:00.