DAVOS, Switzerland – There will be no gold medal for Canada at the Spengler Cup this year.
Canada lost 4-3 to Belarusian club Dynamo Minsk in its final round-robin game at the international hockey tournament Wednesday to drop to 2-2 and miss a chance to play in Thursday’s championship.
“That’s really the only disappointing thing is the outcome today,” Canadian coach Craig MacTavish said. “I couldn’t have been happier with the way that we played. We did what we needed to do, and dominated the game I thought for pretty much the whole game.
“Just one of those nights, we couldn’t find the back of the net with the puck.”
Minsk (3-1) will play Davos in the final after the host team defeated Germany’s Adler Mannheim 3-1 in Wednesday’s other game.
Denis Kochetkov scored twice for Minsk while Mikko Jokela and Yaroslav Chupris added singles.
Kurtis McLean, Shawn Heins and Jean-Pierre Vigier replied for Canada.
The Canadians made the final of last year’s tournament but lost 5-3 to Moscow Dynamo. The loss ends a streak of four straight final appearances for Canada, making the outcome all the more disappointing for MacTavish.
“Tonight we played a pretty tough team and we dominated the game,” said the coach. “The goal that really hurt us was the goal in the third period to make it 4-2, when it was just a high deflection, it hit him in the shaft… I still thought we were fine being down two goals but at the end, we weren’t able to do it.
“We didn’t win it but I’m pretty sure we’ve got the best team in the tournament,” he added.
Canada’s last Spengler victory was in 2007.
MacTavish, who was fired as coach of the Edmonton Oilers after last season, was making his debut at the international tournament, and said he was impressed by his players, and honoured to have coached the team.
“I couldn’t believe how good the quality of the play was, from a lot of Canadian players and the heart that they showed playing over here,” MacTavish said. “I don’t have a lot of international experience with players outside the NHL, but it was just a great experience.
“It was sure an opportunity of a lifetime.”