ROUEN – The plate for the Continental Cup winner seems to be at hand for Donbass Donetsk after defeating HC Asiago 6-2.
Donetsk is 2-0 after two days, but still has to earn points on Sunday against French host Rouen Dragons to win the tournament.
Ukrainian national team players Oleg Shafarenko and Sergi Varlamov each scored two goals while Donbass outshot Asiago 61-31.
After losing 6-0 to Rouen the night before, Asiago remains winless. The Italians were outskated by Donbass Donetsk from the beginning.
It took a pass from Denis Kochetkov to outplay the Asiago defence and Varlamov opened the scoring at 3:53.
With 45 seconds left to play in the first period, Donbass also capitalized on a man advantage when Valeri Dydykin sent a pass from the blueline to the crease that was tipped in by Yevgeni Dubrovin.
The direction changed after the intermission when Donbass took two early penalties. Asiago didn’t capitalize on the two-man advantage, but they did on another power play at 6:00 when captain David Borrelli scored with a shot from just behind the face-off circle.
However, Donbass replied only 39 seconds later when Shafarenko made it 3-1 after Vitali Donika’s drop pass.
Asiago didn’t give up and Layne Ulmer cut the lead at 12:06, but with four minutes left in the middle stanza, Shafarenko restored the two-goal lead. Asiago netminder Anthony Grieco blocked his first two shots, but third time was a charm for Shafarenko.
The game remained under control by Donbass Donetsk in the third period and Varlamov scored his second goal with six minutes left in regulation time on a two-man advantage. Sergei Piskunov made it 6-2 on a breakaway with one minute left to play.
Asiago can’t win the Continental Cup anymore after two games.
“Hockey is a game with emotions, with mistakes. And the team with least mistakes usually wins,” said John Tucker, the former NHL player who has been behind the Asiago bench since January 2010.
“It’s an honour for us to represent Asiago and Italy here. We wish we’d be doing better, but it shows our guys that there’s another level of hockey we can get to,” Tucker said. “We have 11 kids in our team grown in Asiago, a village of 6,000 people. I don’t know if every team has that here. They have big hearts and they hope to give their best. We just don’t have the depth some other teams have.”
While Asiago will mainly play for the honour on Sunday afternoon against Yunost Minsk, the game between Donbass Donetsk and host Rouen Dragons on Sunday night will decide about the tournament win.