The battle for the Season 5 EURO Cup has turned out to be an epic, memorable battle between two excellent teams.
Berlin forced a Game 7 with a 6-3 win in Germany on Tuesday. The Giants and Smurfs will play for the title on Thursday in Belfast, where the Giants haven’t lost in the playoffs and haven’t lost period since March 1 when the Zurich Lions beat them by a goal.
Berlin faces the additional hurdle of playing without Dion Phaneuf, their captain who played 25 minutes on Tuesday but has been pulled from the lineup with “an upper body injury,” according to GM Guybrush Threepwood. That’s all he would say about it and it was the first time all season Threepwood shut up for a minute. Ladislav Smid or Tom Gilbert will be brought up to fill the 6th defenseman hole the Phaneuf injury caused. The captain joined the Smurfs in the off season when he was acquired from Copenhagen in a trade that sent Slava Voynov, Martin Erat and a third-round draft pick the other way. He has accumulated 66 points in 105 games as a Smurf.
Berlin looked very good in Game 6, outshooting Belfast 42-25 and outhitting them 28-18. And they got to super goalie Jonathan Quick for 6 goals.
The Phanuef loss, especially since he’s captain, and home ice gives Belfast a 20-point WSH momentum avantage, but as Giants GM Chris Patton stated after Game 6, “It could easily go either way now. Regardless of the outcome, both teams have enjoyed phenomenal seasons and would be considered a worthy champion.”