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Lugano power their way to ice hockey title

Seventh heaven: Lugano players celebrate their seventh league title Keystone

Lugano have seen off defending Swiss champions Davos 3-1 to win the best-of-seven ice hockey playoff series, which they won 4-1 overall.

This content was published on April 14, 2006 - 14:35

Lugano's home victory on Thursday means the team from canton Ticino in south-east Switzerland are champions once again after a three-year dry spell.

Lugano were the stronger team over all five playoff games, scoring a total of 25 goals to Davos's 11.

Lugano established their physical dominance in front of a sell-out 7,800 partisan crowd early on and were constantly on the attack.

Although the Davos players were in better shape on Thursday than in the previous encounters, the breakneck tempo initiated by the hosts proved too much.

"The boys showed a lot of grit and determination after their weak performance on Tuesday," said Davos coach Arno Del Curto. "Unfortunately Lugano's powerplay was once again too much for us."

The series, which started on April 3, was going with home advantage until the fourth match on Tuesday when Lugano travelled to Davos and promptly silenced the home crowd with an 8-2 demolition.

Puck luck

Much of the credit for Davos's victory last year went to North American stars who couldn't play in the National Hockey League (NHL) because of a labour dispute.

But they have since returned to the US and this year it was Lugano's mercenaries who rose to the occasion, notably the Finns Ville Peltonen, Petteri Nummelin and Jukka Hentunen and the Canadians Glen Metropolit and Jason York.

For all their impressive play against Davos, however, Lugano needed a considerable amount of good fortune to make it to the final.

In the quarter-finals Lugano were drawing 4-4 against local rivals Ambri – and trailing 3-0 in the series – when Ambri missed a golden chance, with two seconds of the match remaining, to knock Lugano out of the competition.

Ambri player Hnat Domenichelli squirted the puck just wide – missing a shot he'd expect to put away nine times out of ten – and Lugano went on to clinch victory in extra time, sending their fans over the moon.

swissinfo

Key facts

Lugano beat Davos 3-1 to win the best-of-seven playoff series, which they won 4-1 overall.
Lugano have won the league title seven times, all since 1986.
Davos have won 27 league titles, 23 before 1960.

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