Victor Ahlstrom scores the shootout-winning goal for Ritten Sport against Beibarys Atyrau. Photo: Max Pattis
Continental Cup host beats Atyrau in shootout
IIHF Continental Cup host Ritten Sport opened the final tournament with a 3-2 win in shootout after a tight game with Kazakh champion Beibarys Atyrau.
“We showed a great team effort. Our opponent was skilled and experienced and dangerous in our zone but we were able to defend well and just got two goals while playing shorthanded,” said Ritten forward Simon Kostner.
“The whole team worked hard and we tried our best and came back to tie the game but in a shootout it can go anywhere, it’s a gamble. In my opinion we played a very good game and I think we deserved to win but it didn’t happen,” said Beibarys Atyrau forward Eliezer Sherbatov.
Like in the semi-final tournament it wasn’t an easy game for either team. Back in November Ritten came back from a deficit with two goals in the last eight minutes of play to beat Beibarys Atyrau 3-2.
Beibarys Atyrau had the better start into the game. During the first power play Albert Vishnyakov scored with his shot from the middle of the offensive zone after a pass from Maxim Korobov to give the Kazakh club the lead.
But as it is written high in the arena: Ritten’s boys never give up. The home crowd had reason to cheer just two-and-a-half minutes later when Bradley Cole tied it up for Ritten and during their second power play Thomas Spinell gave the Italians a 2-1 lead at 17:39.
Beibarys Atyrau tried to get back into the game after the intermission and outshot Ritten 8-5 thanks to two power plays but there haven’t been too many dangerous scoring opportunities. The Italians seemed to defend their tight lead until Beibarys was awarded another man advantage midway the third period. Alexander Zhurun capitalized on it with the game-tying goal at 13:32.
The game was relaunched and Ritten had some shots on a late power play while on the other side Patrick Killeen had a great night in the Ritten net and the game went to overtime. There the Kazakhs had more chances and at 3:01 got a power play when Christian Borgatello was assessed a hooking penalty but after the scoreless five-minute extra period a shootout had to decide.
Also here the import players shone for the Italian champion as Swedish forward Victor Ahlstrom and Latvian national team player Janis Sprukts scored the lone goals in the shootout.