Hungarian champion DVTK Jegesmedvek Miskolc celebrates with their travelling fans after advancing in the Continental Cup with a 3-0 record in Brasov. Photo: Daniel Milata
Blanks hosts to move into 3rd round
Speed in abundance, solid at the back and a cutting edge in front of goal was the recipe for success as DVTK Jegesmedvek Miskolc progress undefeated.
Rising to the occasion to beat hosts Corona Brasov 3-0 in their final day head-to-head clash saw the ice bears from Miskolc finish top of the standings in Group C of the second round of the Continental Cup. Anssi Rantanen, Mark Miskolczi and Peter Sakaris had a goal each for the pre-tournament favourites in front of 1,085 inside Brasov’s Olympic Ice Rink in the winner takes it all encounter. Instrumental in their success was Miskolc's 20-year-old Attila Adorjan, who recorded 32 saves against Corona Brasov and went through the tournament without conceding a goal.
“I am very impressed and proud of my players, to be so cool under pressure and work so hard throughout the game without conceding a goal,” said a jubilant DVTK Jegesmedvek Miskolc head coach Mikael Tisell following the team’s final-day performance in which they were outshot 27-32 but still found a way to roll on to victory when it mattered the most. “Brasov might be more experienced than us, but it felt like we had more pace and tempo in our team tonight,” he continued.
Miskolc earlier in the tournament had blanked Spain’s Txuri Urdin San Sebastian 5-0 in their opener before brushing aside the champions of Serbia, Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, 4-1. Three wins out of three means the current leaders of the Hungarian-Romanian Erste Liga now move into Group E of the Continental Cup’s third round. Played in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy they will take on France’s Grenoble Bruleurs de Loups, Kazakh champion Nomad Astana and hosts Ritten Sport in games played between 17-19 November.
DVTK Jegesmedvek Miskolc, which missed out on progress to the next round during their two previous seasons, can now celebrate the case of being third time lucky. Corona Brasov and their head coach Martin Lacroix will instead rue their missed opportunities for a historical progress to the third round: “It was an emotional game and I like the way we started it being very aggressive in their zone,” he said. “Despite going two goals down we were not down. We took shots on their net, but their goalie had a very good game. We showed a lot of character, we played physical, but the puck did not want to go in.”
Corona Brasov had Braden Walls scoring a hat trick as they cruised past Crvena Zvezda in their opener, 8-4, before peppering the Spanish champion Txuri Urdin 55-12 in shots in a burly and penalty infested encounter. Prevailing 4-1 in the end, they suffered a blow with Brasov’s captain Arpad Mihaly being suspended for the deciding final game.
Despite the hosts enjoying an energetic start, Miskolc’s Finnish blueliner Anssi Rantanen silenced the home crowd as he boomed home a slapper past Patrik Polc’s glove side to break the deadlock after 5:30. The Hungarians in red and white doubled their lead just over five minutes later. Corona Brasov defenceman Evan Stoflet served a two-minute minor when Polc failed to hold on Jarkko Leppanen’s attempt with Mark Miskolczi reacting fastest at 10:47 in an even see-saw battle of a first frame.
Corona Brasov, which was to rely a lot on their first line of Braden Walls, Logan MacMillan and Roberto Gliga to generate offence, was unable to find their way past the inspiring Adorjan. The DVTK Jegesmedvek Miskolc netminder was back at his old stomping ground at Brasov’s Olympic Ice Rink where he at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF) was voted best goaltender of the tournament representing Romania.
Following a goalless middle frame Corona Brasov surged forward in the third period. Winning the shots 15-5 and desperately trying to find a way past Adorjan from all angles, it was instead Miskolc who put the final nail in the coffin with 9:05 left in the game. Working on a man advantage, influential veteran Janos Vas found Sakaris, who signed off with a goal to send the travelling support from Hungary into exultant mood.
Exciting times now loom around the corner for the north-eastern Hungarian club and its fans with the unknown territory of the third round of the Continental Cup awaiting.
“In Miskolc we are expected to win every single game we take part in,” said Swedish player Mikael Tisell in the first season at the club. “What could work in our favour in the next round is that we will be playing as an underdog, which we are not often used to. This season we have done it in the Visegrad Cup and we played well against Slovak top division opponents, so we are looking forward to the great challenge in the next round and to play without too much pressure,” he said.
Another participant in Brasov able to take great credit from their performances this weekend is Txuri Urdin San Sebastian. Spirited displays in all of their three matches, in the end, saw them reap the rewards for their hard graft. Ignacio Solorzano scored the winner as the reigning Spanish champions in blue and white downed Crvena Zvezda Belgrade 3-2 in overtime for a third-place finish to the delight of their head coach Luis Marcelino:
“I am really happy with how our players played and we surpassed all our expectations. We gave everything we had and kept on going until there was nothing left in the tank,” he said.
Meanwhile Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, which arrived as winners of the first round, will return back to the Serbian capital with one point and aim for an improved performance next year: “We’re a young team and we’re work in progress, so we will only become better,” said Crvena Zvezda blueliner Ivan Anic.