Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia have played three games each in the Channel One Cup 2015, part of Euro Hockey Tour 2015-16. The tournament was held in Russia and Czech Republic, December 17-20. Before the last day of the tournament, every team had the chance to win since they all had one victory each. We have seen a tournament where each team had their ups and downs.
Sweden beat Russia 1-4
Russia is always hard to defeat in the Euro Hockey Tour since they have a lot of quality players available from KHL while the rest of the teams have most of their players in the NHL. Before the tournament, Sweden had some injuries on key forwards which forced coach Pär Mårts into calling in some reserves. How would the Three Crowns filled with reserves perform against Russia, in Russia? Pretty good actually! The first period was scoreless, but in the middle act of the game, Sweden scored three goals against Russia’s one. Russia’s goalkeeper, Ilya Sorokin had a bad day while his Swedish colleague from CSKA Moscow, Viktor Fasth, made an excellent tournament. Funny thing is, Viktor Fasth does not get to play that many games for Moscow, but he might be Sweden’s number one goalie in the World Championships in Russia 2016. The game ended with Russia’s superstars Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov embarrasing themselves by taking stupid penalties in the end of the game. Sweden finally won by 4-1. Meanwhile, in Czech Republic, Finland defeated the home team by 0-3.
Russia crushed Finland 8-1
Game day two. Russia versus Finland is always an interesting showdown. Finland has two big brothers in hockey that they are always wanting to beat: Sweden to the west and Russia to the east. Looking at the country’s history it is not that strange; For a long time, Finland was a part of Sweden and during the World Wars, they got invaded by Russia. Who said sports have nothing to do with politics? Anyway, after the heavy start of the Channel One Cup, Russia upped their game in round 2. The Finnish players had suffered from stomach nausea (or hangover, according to some Russian sources) and made one of their worst hockey games ever, losing with 1-8. Humiliation, shouted the Finnish newspapers after the biggest Finnish loss against Russia in 23 years (In March 1992, they lost by 7-0). Sweden also had a bad game, losing to Czech Republic 1-3. Before the deciding last two games, every team had the chance to win, depending on the results. The results between the teams were to be decisive if two nations ended up at the same number of points.
“New” Czech Republic got their second straight victory
Czech Republic got their second straight victory, this time 4-2 against Russia. We have seen a new, fresh Czech Republic in Channel One Cup this year. Many players are born in the 1990’s and they are playing with more speed, checking and aggressiveness than earlier generations. It will be interesting to follow their development in the coming tournaments. The result meant that a tie or if Sweden won the game against Finland on full time, then Czech Republic would win the tournament. If Finland won the game after full time, then Finland would win. After 60 minutes of play, Sweden and Finland had played a disciplined 1-1 game meaning the Channel One Cup 2015 victory went to Czech Republic. Sweden later defeated Finland after a shootout where Linus Omark scored on the last penalty after a beautiful move.
Channel One Cup, final table
Czech Republic 6p
Euro Hockey Tour standings
The next part of the Euro Hockey Tour consists of head-to-head games in 2016. The total standing is as follows:
Czech Republic 8p