Canada rallies to earn berth in Spengler Cup final

Team Canada's Matt Ellison, right, and Keaten Ellerby celebrate after Ellison scored against Davos' goalkeeper Leonardo Genoni. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone/ AP)

DAVOS, Switzerland — Alexandre Giroux and Cory Conacher helped rally Canada into an improbable Spengler Cup final Wednesday.

Giroux and Conacher scored just over a minute apart to lead Canada to an exciting 6-5 semifinal win over HC Davos and cap an impressive comeback from an early 4-1 deficit. Giroux’s goal at 15:26 tied the contest 5-5 before Conacher scored the game winner 65 seconds later.

Perttu Lindgren had put HC Davos ahead 5-4 just before the midway point of the final period at Vaillant Arena.

"What an incredible feeling to complete the comeback and get to the championship game," said Canadian forward Matt Ellison, who scored twice before assisting on Conacher’s game-winning goal. "We had a slow start but a tremendous (final) 40 minutes for the win.

"We had our backs against the wall with the home team fans, and found a Canadian way to win."

The Canadians will face HC Lugano in the championship game Thursday. The Swiss side defeated Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3-0 in the late semifinal.

Canada, which defeated HC Davos 2-0 on Monday, will appear in its 22nd Spengler Cup final since 1984 and chase a 13th overall tournament crown but first since 2012.

"Events like this define the true character of what Canadian hockey is all about," said Canadian assistant coach Rob Cookson. "Tonight, when we got down, we stayed with the plan and we continued to be relentless on a very strong Swiss team.

"We came to make Canada proud, and we are not done."

Tom Pyatt and Chris DiDomenico also scored for Canada, which outshot Davos 45-28. Gregory Sciaroni, Sven Ryser, Tino Kessler, Felicien Du Bois had the other goals for HC Davos.

Canada finished 2-of-6 on the power play while Davos converted on one of its two chances with the man advantage. Jeff Glass got the start in goal for the Canadians but was replaced by newcomer Matt Climie in the second period after stopping 17 of 22 shots.

Climie, who joined the squad Tuesday after an injury to Drew MacIntyre, stopped all six shots directed at him in just over 33 minutes of action.

Davos opened the contest with two quick goals before finishing the opening frame with a 3-1 advantage. Sciaroni opened the scoring on the power play at 6:16 of the first before Ryser made it 2-0 just 23 seconds later.

Pyatt cut the deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal at 9:52 before Kessler made it a 3-1 contest at 18:52.

Du Bois gave Davos a three-goal lead at 6:43 of the second before DiDomenico started Canada's comeback at 7:05. Ellison's goals at 9:33 (power play) and 18:37 (even strength) pulled the Canadians even heading into the final period.

The Canadians finished the preliminary round with a 2-0 mark while the Davos squad was 0-2 before downing Jokerit 5-4 in overtime in its quarter-final game Tuesday. Canada has appeared in 10 of the last 14 tournament finals, winning four times (2002, '03, '07 and 2012).