When the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup five consecutive times in the late 1950s, most hockey experts believed that this feat could never be duplicated. Though over the years, several strong teams such as the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins made impressive showings, not one was ever able to duplicate this Montreal Canadiens achievement.
With the opportunity to match this historic objective in their sights, the Toronto Estonians took to the ice against the Toronto Latvians in pursuit of their 5th straight North American Baltic Cup championship at the Toronto Maple Leaf Mastercard Center practice facility last Friday night.
In qualifying for the Baltic Cup final in the previous week’s preliminary round game, the Latvians had shown a skilled offence in handily subduing the Estonians 5 – 2. [The Toronto Lithuanians were eliminated due to their 2 – 2 tie with the Latvians and their 2 -1 loss to the Estonians.]
The Baltic championship game started with a strong offensive push from the Estonians, and that resulted in an early goal from Paul Ehvert assisted by Keaton Vellend and Stefan Valvur. The Estonians maintained control of the game and early in the second period a goal from Rudy Zutis assisted by Randel Palo gave them a two goal lead. Although the Latvians managed a goal midway through the second period, they could not sustain a consistent offensive thrust due to excellent puck movement from the Estonian defence and aggressive fore checking from the forwards. As veteran Estonian goalie Tõnis Tõllasepp remarked over refreshments after the game, he really had only four or five difficult situations to handle, the fewest that he could remember in any Baltic Cup game. Meanwhile Latvian goalie Kaspars Sveicers was very busy and he made several exceptional stops to keep the Latvians in the game. Overall the young Estonian team dominated from the beginning to the end, exhibiting their individual skills and teamwork, and thus established themselves as a legitimate candidate next spring to surpass the long standing Montreal Canadiens record of five consecutive Cup wins!
The players would like to thank the Estonian National Foundation (Sihtkapital), and its loyal fans, young and old, for their continued and enthusiastic support!
Toronto Estonian Hockey Team Wins 5th consecutive North American Baltic Cup