Ebel Semi-finals; Fifth Games
EBEL is Austrian based ice hockey league with teams from five countires participating (Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia). Fifth semi-final games already set an all-Austrian finals. Read the whole article to learn more.
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Olimpija’s first win in series two days ago gave some hope to guests. Those hopes were empty though. Black Wings took command right from the start and Daniel Oberkofler opened the scoring in 3rd minute already (1:0). 3650 fans were surprisingly loud – that was a bit of a surprise, as previous semi-final games in Linz looked more like a theater performance. Home team remained dominant after the first goal, but guests played well in their defensive zone. Black Wings were in chance to extend the lead in double power-play in 8th and 9th minute, but they played without any good ideas in those moments. In 19th minute Brad Cole (Oli) was sent to the penalty box for the second time in the period and Danny Irmen scored PP goal nine seconds later (2:0). Domen Vedlin pulled one back for guests in 23rd minute; he was served with a marvelous pass by John Hughes, league leading scorer (2:1). Not that it impressed home team – Irmen was in a great chance to extend the lead in following moments, but Matija Pintaric denied him. Martin Grabher-Meier restored the two-goal lead in 34th minute, when he scored on a rebound (3:1). Pintaric was once again forced to show his skills in following minute – he stopped Mike Ouellette’s dangerous try. Vedlin missed a chance for Olimpija on the other side also. Black Wings continued to apply pressure on guests and Justin Keller scored fourth goal for Linz in 39th minute (4:1). It was once again Vedlin who scored for guests at the beginning of the third period (4:2, 43rd’). Guests tried to apply some real pressure, but strong defensive play by home team did not allow any real chances. In fact, counter-attacks from Black Wings were very dangerous and Keller scored another goal for home team on one of such occasions in 50th minute (5:2). It was all over at that point, although guests tried it all to come closer. Rob Hisey (BWL) had to go to the sin bin for hooking in 55th minute and guests immediately pulled their goalie off the ice and replaced him with an extra skater, but couldn’t score. In fact, pucks flew towards Olimpija’s empty net from all positions during last five minutes, but none of those finished in an empty net. Series ended up with 4:1 in wind for Black Wings Linz. That way Linz will compete in EBEL finals, starting it all on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 in Linz. Olimpija will play final part of Slovenian league in following weeks.
Justin Keller (BW Linz) trying to beat Matija Pintaric (Olimpija)
7000 fans packed Dom Sportova Ice Hall in Zagreb for the fifth game in this semi-final series. Medvescak players came on the ice determined to prolong this series and applied strong pressure against guests during opening minutes. Andy Chiodo in front of KAC goal proved as a solid wall, saving his net with confident actions. His defense helped him a lot, too. Joey Tenute (KAC) was the only player excluded during the first period and when he came off the penalty box he found himself in a great chance to endanger Robert Kristan – Kristan skated fast all the way to the blue line and dived to clear the puck with his stick. Tenute however opened the scoring in 23rd minute. He passed by the left hand post of Kristan’s goal and stick handled puck back towards goal – Kristan’s reaction actually put the puck into the net (0:1). Too many players on ice in 27th minute were costly for home team, as Thomas Koch extended the lead for KAC in following power-play (0:2). Three-on-one action for KAC was finished by Markus Pirmann’s goal in 32nd minute (0:3). Tom Zanoski scored another of his short-handed goals in 38th minute to give Medvescak at least some hope for the final period (1:3). As expected, home team applies strong pressure during the final period. Three power-play situations were needed for another goal for home team – Matt Siddall put home team really close in 53rd minute (2:3). Unfortunately for them, Zanoski’s tripping penalty in the next minute helped Thomas Hundertpfund to score another goal for guests (2:4). Home team pulled Kristan off and played final four minutes with an extra attacker, but it only resulted in Johannes Kirisits’ empty netter in 58th minute. KAC qualified for their another EBEL finals, winning this semi-final series in five games (4:1).
Dario Kostovic (Medvescak, blue jersey) and Joey Tenute (EC KAC, red-white jersey)