Asiago leaves with heads high

Italians beat Tychy, make it a two-team race


Asiago forward Sean Bentivoglio tries to separate Tychy defenceman Lukasz Sokol from the puck. Photo: Christophe Delaville

ROUEN – Asiago Hockey got its first win at the 2016 IIHF Continental Cup Final in its third and last game, 4-2 against GKS Tychy, which is now out of the race for first place.

The new Continental Cup winner and the final ranking will be determined in tonight’s game. The unbeaten Rouen Dragons just need a win or at least a point from a regulation-time tie to claim the winners’ plate for the second time after 2012 while the Herning Blue Fox need to beat Rouen in regulation time no matter with which score to move up to first place.

GKS Tychy entered the last game as a team that still had slim chances for the tournament win in case it would have beaten Asiago Hockey in regulation time while the winless Italians were out of contention for the first place after starting with two losses.

However, it was the Italians who had the more successful start. At 7:49 Jose Magnabosco Aguirre opened the scoring on a power play. He capitalized on a rebound after a blocked shot from his teammate Matteo Tessari.

Asiago started the second period on a power play and after 43 seconds of play and with one second remaining on the man advantage the Italians also capitalized on this situation. Former national team player Andreas Lutz scored the 2-0 goal for the Italians.

“We didn’t want to leave here without winning a game and we showed that we want to be a rollover for everybody,” said Layne Ulmer. “We were more relaxed going into the game today. We were maybe a little bit nervous in the last two games.”

Tychy tried to find its way back into the game and dominated the rest of the period also thanks to four power plays and once they succeeded. While playing five-on-five Marcin Kolusz cut Asiago’s lead at 13:11 of the middle frame. Tychy outshot Asiago 34-22 throughout the game pushing hard but fortuneless for a comeback.

The Poles started the third period with a five-on-three power play but to no avail. Asiago killed the penalties and some shifts later Ulmer scored the 3-1 goal. Two penalties for two separate infractions against Maxim Kartoshkin also took its toll for Tychy. Sean Bentivoglio scored the 4-1 goal after seven seconds on the second power play with 5:23 left in the game.

Tychy’s Adam Baginski capitalized on a late power play to cut Asiago’s lead to 4-2 with 2:09 left in regulation time but the score remained until the final buzzer.

Whether Asiago or Tychy will earn the bronze medals will be known after the evening game. If Herning earns points against Rouen tonight, Asiago will finish the event in third and Tychy in fourth place thanks to the win in today’s head-to-head game. If Herning loses in regulation time, the three teams will be tied for three points with Herning having the advantage in the head-to-head records between the three teams followed by Tychy and Asiago.

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