Red Bull & KAC need Game 7, Linz & Znojmo avoid tie-breaker

Red Bull & KAC need Game 7, Linz & Znojmo avoid tie-breaker

09 Mar 2016Lucas Bradelj»
 

After Bolzano and Dornbirn have been knocked out of the playoffs, only one decision is awaiting in EBEL. Salzburg forced one last game against Klagenfurt in the quarter finals.

 
 
 
 

Klagenfurt – Salzburg 2:3 (series at 3:3)

Salzburg was expected to dominate the series against struggling KAC. The Carinthians finished the regular season on eight place and not few thought they would get swept again by Red Bull. However, Klagenfurt fought back from a 0:2 deficit in the series winning three games in a row and had the chance to clinch the semifinal spot on home ice.

Salzburg though showed right from the get-go that they do not want to be eliminated. The defending champions gained a two-goal-lead in the first six minutes of play thanks to goals by Andreas Kristler and Ryan Duncan and were in good control in the rest of the game. However Luke Walker and Sam Strong cut the led to one twice, leaving Ben Walter’s goal in the 36th minute as the game winner.

Game 7 will be played on Friday in Salzburg. Red Bull entered the playoffs as the favourite and it would be pretty big surprise if the record champion from the self-declared Austrian hockey capital could eliminate Salzburg. However, a lot can happen in one single game. Luca Gracnar is expected to return to Salzburg’s net after Juuso Riksman was between the pipes for Game 6.

Dornbirn – Znojmo 2:5 (Znojmo wins series 2:4)

Znojmo has established itself as a force in EBEL and also finished the playoff qualification round on second place. However, prior to this year they were never able to win a playoff series. Going into Dornbirn they had the chance to enter the league’s Top Four for the first time in history.

Vienna Capitals - VSV
Some EBEL Quarter Final action in Vienna.
Foto: Andreas Hofreiter

The Czech Eagles did prove their intentions gaining a 3:0-lead in the second period. Two goals by Antonin Boruta, after Colton Yellow Horn’s shorthander in the 25th minute, gave them a comfortable lead. The lead might have though been too comfortable though, as goals by Marek Zagrapan and J Livingston got the Bulldogs back in the contest. Roman Tomas had the right answer though only 28 seconds later and Yellow Horn added an empty netter to make it 5:2 Dornbirn.

Already in 2014 Dornbirn was up 2:0, in the quarter finals, before Red Bull turned the series arund. Nevertheless the past season has been the Bulldog’s best in EBEL thus far.

Linz – Bolzano 3:2 OT (Linz wins series 4:2)

Already last season the Black Wings and Foxes met in the quarter finals, with the Austrians winning in seven games. Also this year Bolzano wanted to force the ultimate tie-breaker with a victory in Linz. The Foxes also played this way right from the get-go, creating lots of dangerous play. However, Michael Ouzas remaind a wall and denied various attempts by Anton Bernard. Alex Foster finally opened up the score in the initial frame with a perfect one timer, nicely fed by Nathan DiCasmirro. Also in the middle frame Bolzano was the pressuring team for almost 15 minutes, but it was Linz to find the tying goal with Andrew Kozek.

Bolzano’s Brodie Reid found the well-deserved lead again in the 50th minute. Reid has been a key player perfomer for the Italians after a mediocre regular season by the 25-year-old forward. The Foxes might have thought to have won the game already and were punished for their lack of scoring efficiency. DiCasmirro turned the puck over on the defencive blue line and Fabio Hofer made him pay. With the score being at 2:2 the winner had to be determined In sudden deat overtime.

Bolzano could not capitalize on the power play, which has been the team’s biggest weakness after the injury to Brendan Bell in Game 1. Taylor Vause had the wide open net in front of him or at least he thought so, as Sebastian Piche made an incredible diving save on the goal line to avoid the sudden death.

The Black Wings made their scoring efficiency count again in the 75th minute. Kozek broght the puck on net and Kurtis McLean was able to use the rebound for the series winning goal, destroying all Game 7 dreams the Italians had.

What’s next?

Villach (beating the Vienna Capitals in 5 games), Linz and Znojmo have qualified for the semifinals. The pairings of the second playoff round will be determined by who wins Game 7 between Red Bull and KAC. If Klagenfurt advances, Znojmo-KAC and Linz-VSV will be facing each other. If Salzburg makes it to the semifinals, Red Bull-VSV and Znojmo-Linz will be the match-ups.

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