EBEL Game Day 1: Against all odds

EBEL Game Day 1: Against all odds

12 Sep 2015Lucas Bradelj»

Erste Bank Eishockey Liga started on Friday and fans did not have to wait long to see some exciting action with surprising outcomes, highlighted by the Capitals’ revenge in Salzburg.


Vienna Capitals – Red Bull Salzburg

Red Bull Salzburg is without any doubt the big favourite to win the ‘Karl Nedved Trophy’ again. The Vienna Capitals probably are the Bulls’ biggest competitor in the race for the Austrian championship title and were eager to show their own ambitions right from the get go.

Salzburg though dominated the initial frame and Thomas Raffl also scored the first goal of the game. The Capitals came out strong after the first intermission, wasting not much time scoring three goals within 5 minutes to give the away team a two-goal-lead. Red Bull goalkeeper Luca Gracnar did not look good on the two goals by Matt Dzieduszycki, but was chanceless on Jamie Fraser’s power play hammer from the blue line.

The game would though become even crazier, as the score was 3-4 for the Capitals after 40 minutes of play. Goals by Captain Matthias Trattning and Kyle Beach for Salzburg and a goal by former Red Bull Troy Milam made it a one goal hockey game.

Some action from last season's final series between Vienna and Salzburg

The Capitals had to suffer a lot in the third period and with 18 seconds to go Brian Fahey beat Caps’ net minder Nathan Lawson to send the game to a 7-minute overtime, which included 3 minutes of exciting 3-on-3 hockey. The extra time was not decisive, so winner of the extra point had to be determined in the shootout, thanks to goals by Simon Gamache and Dzieduszycki.

Vienna may have also spoilt Thomas Raffl’s last game in Salzburg, as he will be heading to Canada next week to fight for a spot on the roster of the Winnipeg Jets (Eurohockey reported).

Orli Znojmo – Black Wings Linz

Orli Znojmo, the Czech representative in EBEL, and the Black Wings Linz are considered to be among the teams to have a chacne to challenge the league’s top teams from Vienna and Salzburg. Znojmo surely had the better start into the season, shutting out Linz by the score of 4-0, who clearly noticed that Brian Lebler left to play in DEL. Colton Yellow Horn, who returned to EBEL after one season in the Asian League, was responsible for the only home team win of the day with two goals and one assist, as also was Patrik Nechvátal in net.

As if the loss was not enough, the Black Wings also were forced to head home to Upper Austria with 3 injuries, as it is unsure whether Andrew Kozek, Fabio Hofer and Brett Palin will be in the lineup on Sunday in Bolzano.

Graz 99ers – HC Bolzano Foxes

Graz, after a disappointing season in which the vice-champions of 2011 did not qualify for the post-season, made some changes to their lineup and were surely expecting less resistance from the Italian Foxes. New and old coach Tom Pokel, the hero of the surprising 2014 championship run, did not have much time to put together a team. In fact, four of their import player only arrived one day prior to the season opening match, making a normal pre-season impossible.

HC Bolzano celebrating a pre-season win

Though, Pokel once again turned out to have made the impossible happen, as the Italians played with surprising chemistry and earned a well-deserved 1:0 win in the ‘Grazer Bunker’. Anton Bernard, captain of the Italian national team, had the game’s only goal, scored in a PP-situation in the second period. Jaroslav Hübl, going into his third season with the Foxes, once again proved his worth to the team with a shutout performance to give the Foxes the perfect start.

Klagenfurter AC – Alba Volan Fehervar

Austrian record champion KAC is not coming from a particularly successful CHL run, losing all 4 games and also their season debut did not go as planned. Thomas Koch was able to tie the game after the early go-ahead-goal by Ladislav Sikorcin, but it was the Hungarians to drive home with the three points. 20 year old Robert Sarpatki scored the game winning goal in the 52nd minute, before Sikorcin ensured the victory on the empty net.

The EBEL season already continues on Saturday as Ljublijana - Innsbruck and Villach - Dornbirn will enter the action, followed by 6 games on Sunday.

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