International Ice Hockey Federation

SKIF best club team

SKIF best club team

EWCC remains in Russian hand

Published 24.02.2015 11:11 GMT+1 | Author Martin Merk
SKIF best club team
The players of SKIF Nizhni Novgorod celebrate with the trophy after winning the European Women’s Champions Cup. Photo: Sergei Litvak
SKIF Nizhni Novgorod won the final tournament of the European Women’s Champions Cup, crowning themselves as the best women’s hockey club team of the continent.

SKIF Nizhni Novgorod won the final tournament of the European Women’s Champions Cup, crowning themselves as the best women’s hockey club team of the continent.

The Russians defeated Finnish host Espoo Blues (3-1), Swedish champion Linkopings HC (2-1) and Switzerland’s HC Lugano (7-4).

After the last three editions of the EWCC had been won by a Russian club, Tornado Moscow Region, the EWCC winner from 2009, SKIF Nizhni Novgorod, entered the stage in Espoo as pre-tournament favourite but suffered a bad start in the opening game against the host club, Espoo Blues.

The Finns outshot their Russian rivals 11-4 in the first period and gained a 1-0 lead thanks to Emma Nuutinen’s goal at 18:27.

At 1:51 of the second frame Landysh Falyakhova replied for SKIF to tie the game and at 11:02 it was of all players SKIF’s Finnish star Karoliina Rantamaki, who scored the game-winning goal for her team against her hometown club. Olga Sosina made it 3-1 with 15 seconds left in the game.

The quest to return the EWCC trophy back to Russia did not get easier on the second day of competition, as Linkopings HC came in and outshot Novgorod 41-19. The Swedes entered the game in strong shape after streamrolling over Swiss champion HC Lugano 9-0 on the opening day.

“The biggest challenge was to make the girls clear that although Linkoping beat Lugano 9-0, they are not invincible and that we can play with them at the same level. With discipline in the game we can beat any opponent,” SKIF head coach Oleg Namestnikov told R-Sport.

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It was mainly thanks to a strong performance of SKIF’s Finnish netminder Meeri Raisanen that the game remained scoreless until midway through the game. She had 40 saves in total and Linkoping’s Pernilla Winberg missed out on a penalty shot at 4:29 of the middle frame.

However, at 11:31 of the second period a goal from Linkoping’s Norwegian defender Ingrid Morset broke the deadlock. But the joy only lasted for four minutes when Rantamaki scored another crucial goal for her team to tie the game at one. At 7:17 of the third frame Maria Pechnikova gained SKIF the lead and the 2-1 score remained until the final buzzer.

“The Swedes were very fast, dynamic, with great puck control. When they opened the scoring, we believed in ourselves because we had plenty of time to correct this,” Pechnikova said.

Thanks to the tight win SKIF sealed the tournament win and completed its streak in Espoo with a 7-4 victory on Sunday against winless HC Lugano.

“It was one of the best games in my career. Everything worked out as it should,” SKIF netminder Raisanen said about the deciding win against Linkoping. “For me this is the first big win, I still can’t realize what happened. The girls came to congratulate me and I even didn’t realize we had already won the tournament.”

Linkopings HC, which had the two leading scorers of the tournament with Swiss forward Stefanie Marty (1+7=8) and Austrian top goal scorer Denise Altmann (4+3=7), finished the tournament in second place after defeating the Espoo Blues 5-2 thanks pair of goals from Norwegian forward Madelen Haug-Hansen and one goal each from its second-line forwards Altmann, Marty and Winberg.

Host Espoo Blues claimed the bronze medals after earning the only win against HC Lugano. Vilma Tanskanen completed her hat trick with the 6-5 overtime goal at 3:39 of the extra period.

Click here for scores and stats.

Final Ranking:
1. SKIF Nizhni Novgorod (RUS) 9
2. Linkopings HC (SWE) 6
3. Espoo Blues (FIN) 2
4. HC Lugano (SUI) 1

Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate
Best Goalkeeper: Meeri Raisanen, SKIF Nizhni Novgorod
Best Defenceman: Mira Jalosuo, SKIF Nizhni Novgorod
Best Forward: Anja Stiefel, HC Lugano


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