Medveščak Zagreb continues reigning in Croatia

Medveščak Zagreb continues reigning in Croatia

03 Apr 2012 | Vicko Ivanković

Bears win the 16th national title, but Mladost was a fierce opponent

KHL Medveščak from Zagreb became the Croatian champion for 16th time in club's history. In the final series they beat city rival KHL Mladost with 3-1. Third place was won by KHL Zagreb while KHL Sisak ended on 4th and last place.

Regular season was composed of 18 rounds. The dominant winner was Mladost which collected 45 points. They played parallel Croatian league and Slohokej league. Strong team with some of the best Croatian players with two Slovaks on the roster was enough for first place. Only two losses were against Medveščak which ended on second place with 29 points. The farm team of EBEL Medveščak played with a young roster composed mostly of junior players. Only in playoffs they got help from some players from EBEL squad because the EBEL season was over for them at that time. Needs to be mentioned that they were punished with -6 points due to mistakes in registration of some players.

KHL Zagreb finished 3rd with 25 points although they were 2nd for big part of the season. They made a big progress from last season. Roster composed mostly from junior players was good opponent to both Mladost and Medveščak. One of reasons for better results were additions of two experienced players: Tomislav Grozaj and Vanja Belić and good coaching by Czech Josef Halouszka.

KHL Sisak ended last with three points (one technical win). Their problems remains the same, lack of indoor ice rink in their hometown and less number of trainings than teams from Zagreb. It's good that they played whole season, shows that they are keen to continue their activity although their conditions are very bad. Negative thing is that their coach and probably the best player Dejan Dejanović was positive on doping test after one game so he is suspended indefinitely by federation.

In best of three semifinal series Mladost beat Sisak 2-0 (23-2, 15-2) while Medveščak beat Zagreb also with 2-0 (5-2, 12-3). Finals were played in best of five series. In game one there was big surprise when Mladost beat Medveščak 8-5. It was surprise because Medveščak used some of the players from EBEL team. Later in the series they didn't want to risk anything so they brought almost all players from EBEL roster. Even then Mladost was very good opponent but lost 7-3. In game three Medveščak continued it's run with 10-4 victory while in game four they won 6-3 which was enough for final win.

Tihomir Filipec from winning team was elected for the best goaltender of the championship, forward Tadija Mirić from Mladost was league's best scorer while his team colleague Mario Novak was most valuable player.
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