SUMMARY: The Rittner Buam play game 1 of the semifinal series against Jesenice without MacGregor Sharp, Kevin Fink and backup Hannes Treibenreif, replaced on the bench by Florian Plattner. As expected, the house masters start off wild and with the shots of Sirovnik (deflected, close to the goal/2nd minute) and Planko (3rd) Jake Smith immediately gets into the game. Jesenice's advantage is in the air and materializes in the 8th minute. Sotlar sees Svetina free and the latter beats Smith with a precise wrist shot. Only one minute later, Di Perna has to go to the penalty box and Jesenice takes advantage of the power play. This time Pance scores with a covered shot that somehow ends up in the goal (9'28"). With a two-goal advantage, the Slovenians slow down the game and let the Rittner Buam go up. But in attack the blue-reds don't create much. They get nothing more than a deflected shot of Giacomuzzi (12th) and a conclusion of Lutz (17th). Meanwhile on the other side of the field Sirovnik puts goalie Smith in trouble (13th).
Heiskanen's team started the second period with a lot of courage, created a lot of pressure and came close to scoring several times. Julian Kostner just missed the goal (26th), Di Perna was stopped by Froberg (34th) and shortly after, the same defenseman missed the goal by a few centimeters (37th). The best occasion, however, comes for the house masters: at the 33rd minute Pance touches the 3:0 on the penalty kill. But Sailio's efforts were not in vain 108 seconds before the siren. He starts alone from the blue line, tricks Froberg with a hooking and shoots the 2:1 puck. Everything is ready for a thrilling final period.
In the last 20 minutes, both teams at first risked little, then from the middle of the game, several flicks followed one after the other. First Spinell got the worst of the challenge with Froberg (49th), then on the other side of the field Logar and Viikila had to surrender to Smith (50th). Then Osburn fails twice against the adversary goalie, followed by Sotlar who, alone in front of Smith, gets nervous (52nd). Five minutes before the end of the game, the Sotlar-Smith challenge is repeated and the number 1 of the Rittner Buam wins again. A fight for every puck and the guests' defenders intervened more and more often in attack, but without being rewarded. One minute before the siren sound, Smith leaves the ice for a sixth skater, but to no avail as well as the time out with 15 seconds to go. The score remains at 2:1 and the Rittner Buam suffer a narrow defeat. Simon Kostner and his teammates will have a chance to play again in game 2 of the semifinal series, which will take place on Tuesday March 29th at 8 pm at the Ritten Arena.
Alps Hockey League, playoff semifinal
HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice - Rittner Buam 2:1 (2:0, 0:1, 0:0)
Goals: 1:0 Svetina (7'12"), 2:0 Pance (9'28" /PP), 2:1 Jari Sailio (38'12")
Series (best of five): 1:0 (2:1)
Photo: Max Pattis