Richard Dealacy,
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Russian ice sledge hockey champion SHC Phoenix of Moscow Region added the Continental Cup to its trophy collection with an emphatic 7-1 triumph over Italy’s SHC South Tyrol Eagles in the final of the four-team tournament at the Ufa-Arena on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, ISH Team of China faced off against SHC Sparta Praha of the Czech Republic in the battle for third place. The Chinese team, by far the least experienced of the four participants, had been dealt a harsh lesson when they met Sparta in the opening game of the tournament, with the Czechs romping to a 14-1 win, but in yesterday’s third-place play-off the Chinese put up admirably stern resistance. In the end, however, the Prague players managed to impose their experience and class on the game and they took the bronze medal with a 5-1 victory.

In contrast, the previous meeting between the two finalists had been a tense and tight thriller, with South Tirol Eagles taking the lead before SHC Phoenix fought back in true phoenix style to level the score and then secure a 2-1 win thanks to a goal late in regulation time.

The fans who assembled for yesterday’s final were eagerly anticipating another nail-biting encounter, and indeed, the opening stages were full of fierce battles for possession and dangerous offensive moves from both sides. A goal seemed inevitable, and it duly arrived when a shot by Phoenix’s Dmitry Lisov cannoned off Tyrol’s Matteo Remotti and ricocheted into the net.

The Russians pressed home their advantage and scored three more times before the first interval. The Italians refused to give up but never fully recovered from the early onslaught, while the Russans were in no mood to release their grip on the trophy. When the final siren sounded, the scoreboard showed a 7-1 victory for SHC Phoenix.

Michal Vapenka of SHC Sparta Praha (named Best Goaltender of the Tournament):
“This was a very good experience for our team, and it was a superbly organized tournament. We haven’t had much time to go on excursions, but what we have seen of the city has impressed us a great deal. I’m looking forward to seeing the Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game this evening. The organizers decided to give me the prize for the tournament’s best goalkeeper, and I am very happy. In the future I will keep trying to perform to the best of my ability and justify this honor”.

Dmitry Lisov of SHC Phoenix (Best Forward of the Tournament):
“We dedicate this victory to the fans here. We did not expect the games to attract so much coverage and so many spectators, and it’s not often that we play in such fine arenas. All the people here were in a wonderful mood and gave us great support.  After we scored the first goal in the final we could sense the joy in the crowd, so we couldn’t let the lead slip. They kept encouraging us and we kept scoring. I have been given the prize for being the best forward in the tournament, but it is all down to the team. We can now enjoy the rest of the day. We plan to watch the WHL All-Star Game, then see some of the city and visit the monument to Salavat Yulaev.”

Gianluigi Rosa of SHC South Tirol Eagles (Best Defenseman of the Tournament):
“We are satisfied overall with the results, because our club’s young athletes were able to take part and hone their skills in this competition, so for them it has been a great experience. Second place is a good result, so we will go home happy. Tonight, we'll attend the WHL All-Star Game, celebrate winning our silver medal, and then start the long journey home from the wonderful and hospitable city of Ufa.”

Richard Dealacy,
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