Friday, December 31, 2010

Former Smoke Eater Travis Roche Named to All-Star Team as Canada Settles for Silver at Spengler Cup:

St. Petersburg's Maxim Sushinsky celebrates a goal past Canadian goalkeeper Jeff Deslauriers in the Spengler Cup final. (Arno Balzarini/Keystone/Getty Images)

Former NHL players Alexei Yashin and Maxim Afinogenov scored second-period goals to lead SKA St. Petersburg past Canada 4-3 in the Spengler Cup final Friday.

It marks the third straight year a Russian team has captured the tournament title.

Canada was making its ninth championship appearance in 11 years and its 12th championship overall but first since 2007.

Yashin, on the power play, and Afinogenov scored to give SKA St. Petersburg a 3-1 lead after Micki Dupont pulled the Canadians into a 1-1 tie.

Canada's Brett McLean cut the Russian squad's lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal at 18:38 of the third.

But captain Maxim Sushinsky scored his second of the game into the empty net at 18:57 to restore SKA St. Petersburg's two-goal advantage.

Josh Holden pulled Canada to within a goal again but only with two seconds remaining in regulation time.

Canada's Jeff Deslauriers captured the tournament's top goalie award while Travis Roche (Trail, 1996-98) was named one of its best defencemen.

The Canadian team was attempting to earn the victory playing its fifth game in as many days.

The Spengler Cup, which debuted in 1923, is the world's oldest pro hockey tournament.

SKA St. Petersburg finished the tournament undefeated, winning all four of its games although the Russians had to rally from a 3-0 deficit to beat Geneve-Servette 4-3 in the semifinals Thursday.

The Canadians advanced to the final with a 4-0 semifinal win over host HC Davos.

(The Canadian Press)

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