Ritten Sport defended the Italian championship and beat Asiago, the last team to defend the title in 2011, in the final. It’s the third championship in four years for the South Tyrolean team.
This season most of the teams from last year’s Serie A play in the new Alps Hockey League with teams from Austria and Slovenia that don’t compete in the Austrian top league EBEL. There Ritten Sport leads the league ahead of regional rival Pustertal Bruneck and Slovenian team Acroni Jesenice.
The best four Italian teams from the league now played the Italian championship during a weekend in Asiago to determine the winner of the Serie A trophy, the “scudetto”, and the right to play in the Continental Cup next season.
Ritten with a 5-2 win against SG Cortina and Asiago Hockey with a 3-1 victory against Pustertal Bruneck won the semi-finals on Saturday to set up the final on Sunday.
In front of 1,800 spectators host Asiago had the better start. Canadian centre Krys Kolanos scored after just six seconds of play and at 6:05 Davide Conci gave Asiago a 2-0 lead. But Ritten, which outshot Asiago 28-24, came back with goals from two Italian national team players.
Alex Frei cut Asiago’s lead at 12:05 and at 12:55 of the second period Tommaso Traversa tied it up for Ritten’s “Buam” (“boys” in the local German dialect). Less than six minutes later Frei scored his second goal to give Ritten the lead.
The 3-2 score stayed until the end of the game and the Ritten players earned the trophy for the 83th Italian championship.
Ritten recently hosted the 2017 IIHF Continental Cup Final where it started with a 3-2 shootout win against Kazakh champion Beibarys Atyrau but after two losses ended up in last place.