December 28, 2013, DAVOS, Switzerland (ISN) – If Canada wants to repeat as Spengler Cup champion, it’s going to happen the hard way. Andres Ambühl scored the winning goal late in the third period as host HC Davos beat Canada 3-2 Saturday.
Canada falls to 1-1 and must now play the Rochester Americans in a quarter-final on Sunday. If they win that, they’ll play a semifinal Monday night for a chance to advance to Tuesday’s final, which takes place at noon local time.
“It looks like Mount Everest, but you just take it a game at a time and inch your way forward,” Canada coach Doug Shedden said.
Marcus Paulsson and Peter Guggisberg also scored for Davos, while Mika Noronen made 24 saves.
Darren Haydar and Maxim Noreau had Canada’s goals. Allen York stopped 20 of 23 shots.
It looked like it was going to be a relatively easy win for Davos when Ambühl’s goal gave the hosts a 3-1 lead with less than three minutes to go in regulation.
But Canada kept up the pressure, and Noreau made it a one-goal game with less than two minutes to go.
Canada pressed for the tying goal but was unable to beat Noronen. Ritchie had a chance at the tying goal with just over a minute left, but he was unable to contain the puck with an open net to shoot at.
“Davos is a speedy team. They’ve got all kinds of skill level,” Shedden said. “You’re not going to beat them in their rink unless you play 60 minutes and we were a little disappointed in our first half of the game.
“We were playing the neutral zone game a bit too much maybe because they are so fast and we were trying to respect their speed, then in the third period we said lets go for it and put the pressure on them and it seemed to pay dividends for us. But a little bit too late.”
After a scoreless period, Davos used their speed to assert themselves with two goals in the second. Paulsson opened the scoring at 7:19 of the second period, then Guggisberg put Davos up 2-0 at 11:43.
Canada made a game of it, with Haydar narrowing the lead to 2-1 4:45 into the third. But after Ambühl restored Davos’s two-goal lead at 17:01, Canada was unable to bridge the gap.
Shedden expects a different challenge Sunday from the Americans, who are the Buffalo Sabres’ American Hockey League affiliate.
“It’s going to be a more North American style of game,” Shedden said. “You’re going to see a lot more of a physical game tomorrow night. Obviously we have a much older team and they’re young up-and-coming stars in the NHL.
“The bottom line is we’ve got to find a way to win.”