KalPa Kuopio became the first Finnish team to win the prestigious Spengler Cup with a shootout win over Team Canada on New Years Eve. The game had finished 1-1.
Jaako Rissanen scored the decisive goal in a lengthy shoot-out, before Denis Godla made a pad save from Canadian Captain Andrew Ebbett. In victory KalPa denied Team Canada what would have been a fourth successive win and a record 15th overall success.
Team Canada outshot KalPa 36-21; but a well organised and efficient KalPa defence limited these to mostly efforts from tight angles and the Canadians found Godla was in excellent form, making 35 saves in regulation time and several highlight reel stops in the shootout. KalPa game planned smartly and looked lively on the counter-attack, especially through Alexandre Texier.
The game was scoreless until the early third period, and with both teams playing good defence with strong goaltending it became increasingly likely that a scrappy goal would open the scoring. Daniel Winnick got it for Canada, barrelling home a rebound from Torrey Mitchell’s breakaway effort.
KalPa were not behind for long, equalising when Eetu Luostarinen – a 2017 draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes – took a rebound in his stomach and tapped home at the back post at 11:24.
After a frantic overtime period which saw Zac Dalpe hit a post for the Canadians; the teams were tied 2-2 after the first three shooters in the shootout, resulting in a sudden death situation. Rissanen’s effort was the eighth overall for his team as Godla made five straight saves for his side.
Team Canada made the final with a 4-2 semi-final win over the Nürnberg Ice Tigers; whilst KalPa eliminated the hosts Davos 2-1.