Also in the new year the Rittner Buam have to renounce to deploy their best line-up. Coach Santeri Heiskanen has to do without four key players: Sailio, Frei, Smith and captain Simon Kostner. The start of the game against Bregenzerwald was far from optimal, with Schlögl leading the guests after only 104 seconds. Treibenreif only managed to reject his shot and the number 50 of the Vorarlberg team took advantage of it to score. Shortly afterwards Pechlaner had to go to the penalty box, but the best chances still came for the hosts. However Manuel Öhler has the worst of it in the challenge with goalie Skec (7th minute). In the 11th minute Lutz is also beaten by the guests' goalie, while on the other side Treibenreif distinguishes himself against Tröthan (12th) and Lehtonen (13th). In the last five minutes of the period, the blue-reds take back the reins of the game. Robert Öhler hits a post (16th), soon after Lutz misses the goal (19th) and finally, 27 seconds before the siren, the long deserved draw arrives. After a scrum Sharp was in the right place and put the puck in the goal.
The draw's goal gives wings to the house masters who come out of the locker room extremely motivated. EC Bregenzerwald is the one who scores. First the Vorarlberg team took the lead with Hämmerle who, lurking on the first post and perfectly served by Philipp Metzler, pushed the puck over the goal line (23'14"). Then, one minute and a half later, Schlögl wins an engagement, Kutzer shoots and Treibenreif is beaten for the third time (24'43"). Shortly after, the goalie of the Rittner Buam intervenes in a decisive way on Fässler, who is venturing undisturbed on his goal. Only in the second half of the middle period, the Rittner Buam regain control over their adversaries. Santeri Heiskanen's team creates occasion after occasion, but is stopped by Skec, if not before. And the time the blue-reds manage to pass the guests' goalie, Pechlaner sends the puck out of the goal instead of into the net (36th).
In the final period, the game was played practically only in front of Skec's goal, but Renon's forwards couldn't get past EC Bregenzerwald's goalie. When they succeed in beating him, the house masters make mistakes: both Lutz (49th) and Pechlaner (59th) hit the post. The house masters risked everything in the final minutes and at 3'12" from the final siren they took the goalie off the ice. Lehtonen scores. With 41 seconds to go, he scores on an empty goal and makes the away victory of the Vorarlberg team definitive. For EC Bregenzerwald this is the second victory in eleven games against the Rittner Buam, that next week will be engaged in two away games (Vienna and Linz).
Rittner Buam - EC Bregenzerwald 1:4 (1:1, 0:2, 0:1)
Goals: 0:1 Schlögl (1'44"), 1:1 Sharp (19'33"), 1:2 Hämmerle (23'14"), 1:3 Kutzer (24'43"), 1:4 Lehtonen (59'19" /EN).
MVP of the match powered by Loacker: Schlögl (ECB) and Sharp (RIT)
Photo: Max Pattis