DAVOS, Switzerland — Canada is off to yet another Spengler Cup final.
Mark Bell and Jean-Pierre Vigier scored second-period goals to lead Canada to a convincing 4-0 semifinal win over HC Davos on Thursday. The victory was redemption for the Canadians, who lost 3-2 to the host team in the preliminary round.
As a result, Canada will make its ninth tournament final appearance in 11 years today against SKA St. Petersburg (TSN, 4 a.m.). The Canadians will be chasing their 12th title but first since 2007.
“I think everybody felt a little disappointed the first time we played them,” Canadian coach Mark Messier said of the earlier loss to Davos. “Serge Aubin, our captain, said it best that we fought the game, we didn’t play the game and that’s exactly what happened.
“We recognized we could do some things and clean some things up if we had another crack at them. Of course, we did and the players executed it to a tee and the score showed that.”
Veteran forward Glen Metropolit agreed.
“We knew we could play a better game,” he said. “We had one of those games we were thinking too much . . . we made some corrections and played a good, solid 60 minutes and that’s what it takes to win these tournaments.”
Messier, who made his Hockey Canada coaching debut last month, said his team played much smarter hockey the second time around.
“We were getting caught in between a lot, we were chasing pucks that we didn’t have a chance to get to, we weren’t patient and playing too much hockey in our own zone,” said Messier. “We just tried to simplify things and give ourselves a chance to let our skill make some plays and sure enough the guys did that.”
But Canada will likely be without Bell, who was later forced to leave the game with a suspected knee injury.
Josh Holden and Pascal Pelletier also scored for Canada while Jeff Deslauriers stopped 29 shots for the shutout.
“Deslauriers has been amazing,” Messier said. “When we asked him to come a couple of weeks ago he was excited to do so and represent Canada.
“I’ll tell you what, the kid has just been unbelievable.”
Canada, which will play its fifth game in as many days, expects St. Petersburg to be tough given its roster includes former NHL players Alexei Yashin, Sergei Zubov and Maxim Afinogenov.
“They have a skilled team,” Messier said. “We’ll have our hands full but the best part is the guys feel really good about themselves.
“It’s a quick turnaround for us but we’ll be ready.”
The Russian side rallied from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 4-3 overtime victory over Geneve-Servette earlier Thursday.
To win the title, the Canadians will have to beat another undefeated team as St. Petersburg has won all three of its games so far.