The 20th IIHF Continental Cup kicked off this weekend in Sofia, Bulgaria. For the first round, we find the usual countries represented there with Bulgaria's Irbis-Skate SK, Turkey's Zeytinburnu Belediyesi SK, Serbia's HK Partizan Beograd and Israel's HC Bat Yam.
Zeytinburnu assured top spot for themselves as soon as Saturday night thanks to two wins over Irbis and Partizan. After even play in the first two periods of both games, the Turks overrun their opponents in the third one with 4 or 5 unanswered goals.
Bat Yam did very well in their games against Partizan and Irbis. They led by 2 goals with 14 minutes remaining and came 30 seconds away from overtime against Partizan. They also led at the start of the third tier versus Irbis before losing 6-4. But they are finishing with a trashing at Zeytinburnu's hands at the moment.
With the MOL Liga project going on, Partizan can't really be a contender anymore without some reinforcements form HK Beograd. Yet I think they are doing fine considering. Irbis did well last year in Bulgarian league, thanks to players recruited at CSKA's expense but without the Russian imports CSKA had they can't do as well in Continental Cup. These two teams will face each other for second place this afternoon.
Group A's stats