Saturday, September 3, 2011

Karlovy Vary-CSKA in WJCC final

The junior clubs of Energie Karlovy Vary and CSKA Moscow will take to the ice at Omsk Arena on Saturday to play for the first ever World Junior Club Championship.

Tempers flared late in the Karlovy Vary (white)-Fort McMurray
(blue) encounter. Photo: Jiří Ryžuk,
Karlovy Vary was a perfect 3-0 in the group stage, outscoring its opponents 9-1. The only goal they surrendered was in the first period of the third game, against Canada's Fort McMurray Oil Barons. KV had already clinched a spot in the final and started diminutive backup Dennis Rauscher in goal, who stopped 19 of 20 shots in the game. In the final two periods, Energie came back to score 4 unanswered goals and win the game 4-1.

"The fact that we've played three games and heard our anthem played three times, we're very happy," Jiří Ryžuk, head of Energie's youth program, wrote on the club's website. "We would like to have it played and sang again after tomorrow's final."

Energie's offence has been fairly balanced so far in the tournament, with no player recording more than 2 points. Jaromír Kverka is the only player to score 2 goals.

As for CSKA, they opened the tournament with a 4-3 victory against Slovakia's Tatranskí Vlci, the junior club of Lev Poprad, and then lost 2-0 to HK Riga, which set up a must-win game on Friday against the EJHL Selects. The Red Army squad made short work of them, winning 9-1 to nail down a berth in the final.

Vladislav Habal will return to the Karlovy Vary net for the final game. He hasn't surrendered a goal yet through two games in the tournament, but will be hard-pressed to repeat that performance against a team as offensively talented as the Red Army.

Speaking of his opponent, Ryžuk said, "The team we're going up against will be the home favourite, winner of the MHL in 2011-12."

The final game is expected to draw a sellout crowd of up to 10,000 to Omsk Arena. This arena will also be the primary venue for the 2013 World Junior Championships and the enthusiasm shown this week for junior hockey is doubtlessly encouraging to organizers of that event.

The game starts at 20:00 in Omsk, 15:00 CET. It will be televised live on Russian sports channel Rossiya 2, with online commentary available in Russian at

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