Recap of Sunday games
Stockholm 4, Oslo 0 – Could a good waiver pickup lift the play of the whole team? Stockholm general Manager Michael Sauer said there might be some correlation between the acquisition of former Edinburgh defenseman Karl Alzner and the play of Kevin Bieksa, who scored 3 points Sunday. There might be something to Sauer’s observation. The whole Eagle squad looked invigorated and confident, blanking the Outllaws in their own arena. Colin Greening’s shorthanded goal early in the second period seemed to make a 2-0 lead feel like a 10-0. Braden Holtby was solid in net, getting the shutout for Stockholm, although the good scoring chances on him were few and far between. Stockholm is one of five teams fighting for the bottom three playoff spots in the Northern Conference.
Berlin 4, Bern 1 – Logan Couture scored a goal and had 2 assists and goalie Erik Ersberg turned in a great performance against the visiting Bears. Alexander Edler also played well for Berlin, dishing out 7 hits and assisting on the first goal of the game, scored by Nikolai Kulemin with less than a minute to go in the first period. The Smurfs have won 8 of their last 10 games and they are a point behind Moscow, which is in first place overall. Ersberg has a 90.1 save percentage in 12 games as Jimmy Howard’s backup.
Helsinki 3, Belfast 1 – Helsinki’s tough, defensive style frustrated the Giants into taking penalties and powerplay goals by Jarome Iginla and Jack Johnson broke a 1-1 tie and provided the margin of victory. Brad Marchand scored the first goal of the game and stood up to big Micki Dupont in a third period fight, earning him stick taps from his teammates and a loud ovation from the nearly 19,500 Helsinki fans who attended the game. Boone Jenner of the Jokerit and Belfast’s James Neal led everyone in shots on goal with 5 each. Helsinki hosts Madrid tonight.
Madrid 2, Zurich 1 – All-star goalie Robin Lehner was nearly unbeatable and he was the main reason the Lions left Spain without a point Sunday. Lehner allowed Drew Stafford to score his 20th goal of the season, but that’s all that got by him. Zurich outshot the home team 36-24. Two Madrid veterans came through with goals on Roberto Luongo to win it for Madrid. After Stafford’s goal, Olli Jokinen and Dan Cleary scored to tie and then win it. All three goals were scored in the third period. Francois Beauchemin played well for his new team, registering 3 hits and blocking two Zurich shots. If the season ended today, Madrid and Zurich would face each other in the Southern Conference playoffs. Both have 64 points, but Zurich has a game in hand.
Frankfurt 6, Milan 3 – Before the game was 7 minutes old, Milan had a 3-0 lead over their hosts. Unfortunately for them, game are now 60 minutes long. Frankfurt coach Peter Laviolette pulled Kari Ramo after the 3 quick goals and the move worked perfectly. Jan Laco replaced Ramo and was outstanding, stopping all 29 shots he faced. And team in front of him responded with better play. Six different Inferno players scored goals, three of them in the second period. Sami Vatanen’s 7th of the year was the eventual game winner. Johnny Boychuk had 2 assists, 5 hits and 1 blocked shot for Milan.
Moscow 3, London 2 – Spartak had to pull off a late comeback to beat London in Moscow. Jeff Skinner and Jamie McBain gave the Dons a 2-0 lead with goals neat the start of both the first and second periods, but Moscow crawled back to within a goal when Kevin Dallman scored shorthanded late in the second period. In the final frame, it was wide open hockey, with Moscow outshooting London 16-10. With just under five minutes to play, Moscow’s Benoit Pouliot took a pass from Vincent Lecavalier and fired a wrist shot past Steve Mason to tie it, and on Lecavalier’s next shift, he put his team into the lead for the first time with a smart backhander. Lecavalier only played 6 minutes in the contest, but he was the only skater with more than one point. For London, McBain had a hit and 4 blocked shots in addition to his goal. The Dons traveled from Moscow to Oslo overnight for a game tonight against the Outlaws.