Showdown on the North Sea

Continental Cup Super Final streamed live


Host Bremerhaven Fischtown Pinguins creates a scoring chance during the preliminary round of the Continental Cup. Photo: Sven Peter

BREMERHAVEN, Germany – The 2015 IIHF Continental Cup Super Final kicks off on Friday in Bremerhaven. All games will be streamed live in high definition.

The games can be watched live on SpradeTV for €5.50 for a game or €19.80 for a four-game package. On fans can follow the live ticker for free.

18 teams entered the Continental Cup and after three rounds the four finalists have been determined. The longest-running European club competition culminates in the biggest German city at the North Sea from 9th to 11th January.

As a complement the new Champions Hockey League, this year the Continental Cup functions also as a qualification event for top teams from domestic leagues that are not among the six founding leagues of the Champions Hockey League. The best team from the Super Final – except for Bremerhaven, which cannot qualify due to playing only in the second-tier league of its country – will play in the Champions Hockey League in the 2015/2016 season, which will be extended from 44 to 48 teams.

Check out the participants of this year’s Continental Cup Super Final.

Yertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan)

For the first time since Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk in 2008 a Kazakh team has made it to the final of the Continental Cup. Yertis Pavlodar will even be the top-seeded team thanks to its great performance in the preliminary round.

The qualification is emblematic of the changes in Kazakhstan in the last few years. While in the past only two or three Kazakh teams played professional hockey in the top-two Russian leagues, domestic competition and opportunities for players have increased with the ten-team Vysschaya Liga that is led by Yertis again.

With more funding in Kazakh hockey also outside of the traditional ice hockey centres, the league has also lured professional players from anywhere between Canada and Russia.

Although Kazakh forward Alexei Vorontsov is the team’s scoring leader, the team also relies on imports with 15 players from Slovakia or the Czech Republic on the roster. 35-year-old Slovak forward Martin Hujsa was his team’s scoring leader in the Continental Cup with two goals and as many assists, followed by fellow countrymen, twin brothers Richard and Robert Huna, who are all in their third season in the city located on the road between the capital of Astana and Novosibirsk.

Angers Ducs (France)

With champion Briancon Diables Rouges in the Champions Hockey League, runner-up Angers Ducs represents France in the Continental Cup. Angers has never won a French championship to this day but has been a top-four team in most of the last seven years.

Angers travelled to Bremerhaven being ranked third in the French Ligue Magnus with an 11-6 record. When hosting a Continental Cup preliminary-round group on home ice, the team from western France started with two wins before suffering a tight defeat that was still enough to win the tournament. As in many other teams in the league there is a remarkable Canadian presence. Real Paiement spent most of his coaching career in Canada including coaching at the World Juniors before moving to Angers in 2014. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin also hails from Montreal and is one of the top netminders in the French league.

Also the top-five scorers are imports with Canadian forwards Yannick Tifu, Cody Campbell, Tim Crowder, Swedish forward Johan Skinnars and Canadian defenceman Sebastien Bisaillon. Robin Gaborit, who played exhibition games for the men’s national team the last four seasons but hasn’t made it to the World Championship yet, is the best Frenchman in scoring.

Neman Grodno (Belarus)

Founded in 1988, Neman Grodno is starting to harvest the fruits of their work. This year the team from the city close to the border with Poland and Lithuania won the second straight championship after beating Yunost Minsk in the final and the fifth in total with many of the players hailing from the city.

After missing out the qualification for the final one year ago, Neman Grodno advanced as the second-placed team of a tight preliminary-round group in Angers where they were involved in a three-team tie with the hosts and the Belfast Giants. Same as in the league scoring has been a weakness for the team after losing the best two scorers of the last season.

Despite that, Neman Grodno hopes to shine with more home-grown players having to step up but in the Belarusian Extraliga Neman was ranked fourth with a 25-15 record.

Russian coach Vasili Spiridonov, who led Metallurg Zhlobin to a second-place finish in the Continental Cup two years ago, is behind the bench since this season.

The best three scorers are long-time players of the club. Murmansk-born Vyacheslav Lisichkin, 34, is in this 17th season, followed by Grodno products like veteran defenceman Andrei Korshunov, and 24-year-old forwards Pavel Boyarchuk and Sergei Malyavko.

Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany)

Although the Continental Cup will not include teams from second-tier leagues in the future, the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven were given an exception this season after missing last year’s competition due to an administrative conflict within their country.

The team from northern Germany reacted with strong performances in two preliminary rounds and will host the final tournament in the 2011-built Eisarena Bremerhaven with a capacity for 4,422 spectators.

In six games in the Continental Cup the team has lost only one game so far, 3-2 against Yertis Pavlodar. Canadian import Andrew McPherson, who hasn’t scored a single goal in domestic play until early December, and Russian-born defenceman Andrei Teljukin were difference makers with two goals apiece in the third round.

However, during DEL2 play the performance differs significantly from the international success. In early December the team was ranked only 11th in the 14-team league after a weak period in October, meanwhile it has recovered and moved up to sixth place.

Although one of the best teams in the league defensively, the Fischtown Pinguins had too little to offer offensively so far. But when the Continental Cup comes to Fischtown, the host club hopes to present itself again in the best light like in the preliminary round.

Click here to access the 2015 IIHF Continental Cup Super Final page.

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