CANADA TOPS LUGANO TO WIN SPENGLER CUP
JASON LA ROSE
DAVOS, Switzerland – A shorthanded goal by Cory Emmerton (St. Thomas, Ont./HC Ambri-Piotta, NLA) stood up as the game-winner as Canada’s National Men’s Team knocked off HC Lugano 5-2 on Saturday to defend its championship at the Spengler Cup.
It’s the 14th title for the Canadians (1984, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2012, 2015, 2016), one behind host HC Davos for the most in the tournament’s 90-year history.
Chay Genoway (Morden, Man,/Jokerit Helsinki, KHL), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (Quebec City, Que./EHC Biel-Bienne, NLA), Andrew Ebbett (Vernon, B.C./SC Bern, NLA) and Nick Spaling (Drayton, Ont./Genève-Servette HC, NLA) had the other goals for Canada, which won four times in five days after a tournament-opening loss to HC Dinamo Minsk on Boxing Day.
The Canadians certainly didn’t get the start they wanted; Dario Bürgler beat goaltender Zach Fucale (Rosemère, Que./Brampton, ECHL) with a slap shot off the right wing 31 seconds in, giving Lugano a very early 1-0 lead.
But Genoway got that back for Canada just past the six-minute mark, shovelling the rebound of a Spaling shot past Lugano netminder Elvis Merzlikins to tie the game.
The second period belonged to the Canadians, with three unanswered goals in the frame.
Pouliot put Canada ahead for good just 59 seconds into the period, parking himself at the side of the Lugano net and redirecting in a pinpoint feed from Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Man./EHC Biel-Bienne, NLA).
Emmerton made it a two-goal game two minutes later, going end-to-end with the Canadians killing a penalty, splitting the defencemen and going five-hole on Merzilkins, and Ebbett scored late off a centering pass from Mason Raymond (Cochrane, Alta./Hockey Canada) to make it 4-1 after 40 minutes.
Merzlikins didn’t return to the Lugano net for the third period, replaced by Stefan Muller after allowing four goals on 36 shots through two periods.
Bürgler added his second of the game early in the third period to get Lugano back within two, but the Swiss side couldn’t get another puck past Fucale, who won all four of his starts.
Spaling finished his three-point performance with an empty-net goal in the dying seconds to cap the scoring.
Prior to the game, Ebbett – who finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with eight points (four goals, four assists) – and Canadian captain Maxim Noreau (Montreal, Que./SC Bern, NLA) were named to the Spengler Cup all-star team.