It was a wild finish for the Champions Hockey League Round of 16, with eight teams moving on to the quarter-final round.
Four of the seven games had to be decided in overtime, but after the dust settled it was Fribourg-Gotteron, Frolunda Gothenburg, Sparta Prague, Vaxjo Lakers, Vitkovice Ridera Ostrava, SC Bern, and Linkoping HC who made it through.
With just one game remaining (Zurich versus Lugano), the CHL quarter-final round will feature three Swiss and three Swedish clubs, including defending champions Frolunda Gothenburg. Joining these six are Sparta and Vitkovice, two Czech teams that now become this first two from the country to make it this far into the CHL playoffs.
In a surprising twist, no Finnish club managed to reach the CHL quarter-final round, the first time this has happened in the short history on the league. Click here for scores, statistics, and videos.
ZSC Lions Zurich– HC Lugano 4-2 OT (6-5 aggr.)
Roman Wick scored in overtime to send ZSC Lions Zurich into the Champions Hocley League quarter-final round.
In the all-Swiss matchup with HC Lugano, the Lions were down by a goal on aggregate after dropping the opening game on the road 3-2. But the team came out determined to put pucks on the net, outshooting Lugano 50-24 in the game. Severin Blindenbacher had a big game, notching a goal and two assists. The second helper from Blindenbacher came on the power play early in overtime, as the Zurich native set up Wick, who unleashed a blast at the top of the circle that beat the goalie high to the stick side.
Fribourg-Gotteron – KalPa Kuopio 3-2 OT (4-3 aggr.)
Yannick Rathgeb pulled Fribourg into the semi-finals with an overtime goal as the Swiss club edged KalPa 4-3 on aggregate.
KalPa fell behind 2-1 in the second period, but equalized on a goal from Tommi Jokinen, tying up the score and the series. In the extra frame, Rathgeb fought off his defenceman along the boards in the KalPA zone and gained possession of the puck after it was freed it up teammate Julien Sprunger. He broke away towards the goal and managed to launch the puck into the net with a backhand for the game and series-winning goal.
Frolunda Gothenburg – Eisbaren Berlin 4-1 (10-2 aggr.)
Defending CHL champions Frolunda Gothenburg took care of business at home, dispatching Eisbaren Berlin for the second game in a row to advance to the next round.
The Indians were already ahead 6-1 on aggregate going into the game, and a 4-1 victory in Berlin sealed the deal. Forward Carl Grundstrom led the way with a pair of goals and an assist.
HV71 Jonkoping – Sparta Prague 0-5 (4-7 aggr.)
Sparta Prague came through with a stunning 5-0 comeback victory over HV71 Jonkoping to advance to the semi-finals.
Coming into the game behind two goals in aggregate after dropping a 4-2 decision at home to the Swedish club, Sparta had its back against the wall heading on the road for Game 2. But thanks to a stellar performance from Lukas Pech and Andrej Kudrna, who put up three points each in the game, along with an 18-save shutout from Filip Novotny, the Czech club was able to flip the script on the Swedes and will now head to the quarter-finals.
Vaxjo Lakers – SaiPa Lappenranta 4-2 OT (6-5 aggr.)
With a slim one-goal lead on aggregate heading into the game, Saipa Lappenranta wasn’t able to hold off the Vaxjo Lakers, giving up a late goal to Calle Rosen in the third period which forced overtime.
In the extra frame it was Erik Josefson who would be the hero for Vaxjo. With SaiPa in the offensive zone Josefson picked the puck off of forward Saku Salminen and took off for the net, beating goalie Jussi Markkanen with a backhand deke for the win.
Vitkovice Ridera Ostrava – Bili Tygri Liberec 3-1 OT (3-2 aggr.)
A breakaway overtime goal by Radoslav Tybor gave Vitkovice the aggregate win over Liberec.
Liberec held a one-goal aggregate advantage after Game 1. Things looked good for Vitkovice thanks to a pair of goals from Roman Szturc in the first and third period, but a late goal from Roman Will in the third tied things up once more on aggregate. Liberec would have likely advanced had it not been for a top notch performance from goaltender Daniel Dolejs, who shut the door the rest of the way for a 42-save performance.
In overtime, Liberec forward Michal Bulir mishandled the puck in the neutral zone, giving it up to Tybor who scored on the breakaway to put Vitkovice into the quarters.
JYP Jyvaskyla – SC Bern 3-3 (5-6 aggr.)
SC Bern held a slim lead going on the road against Jyvaskyla, after needing a 3-2 comeback win on home ice against the Finnish club in the first game.
The Swiss club started well this time around, getting the key first goal on the road from Gian-Andrea Randegger in the first period, then padding its lead thanks to an early third period goal from Ryan Lasch. Jyvaskyla charged back through with two goals midway through the period, but Andre Ebbet gave his club the insurance marked with just under five minutes remaining to extend Bern’s CHL unbeaten streak to eight games.
IFK Helsinki – Linkoping HC 0-1 (1-2 aggr.)
Linkoping dropped Helsinki with an early goal that held out as the game winner, giving the Swedish club a 2-1 aggregate win over Helsinki.
Goaltender Marcus Hogberg outduelled his counterpart Kevin Lankinen in net, putting up a 36-save shutout. Linkoping forward Garret Roe scored the game’s lone goal, jumping on a big rebound with under seven minutes to go in the first period.