SUMMARY: In the important game of the Master Round, the Rittner Buam have to renounce to five players: Sailio, Frei, Osburn, Giacomuzzi and Ramoser. On the other hand, Brunner returns to the team. In the rhythmic initial period the guests are more in the game and have a good start. Pechlaner (3rd) and Fink (5th) wasted, then Quinz tested Froberg, Jesenice's goalie. Then Julian Kostner has to surrender to the goalkeeper of the house masters, who shortly after take the lead. Elo is "forgotten" on the right wing, Viikila serves him in an exemplary way and Elo puts Jesenice ahead with a precise shot between Smith's legs (7'36"). Not even one minute later Julian Kostner could find the draw after a wrong pass by the Slovenian, but the forward waits too long after a hook. Halfway through the first period of the game, the Rittner Buam successfully overcomes a penalty kill. After a quarter of an hour Smith is found very ready on a one-on-one, on the other side Sharp tries with a backhand shot, but is beaten by Froberg. In the penultimate minute of the game, Jesenice's Svetina hits the opponent's goalie from a defiladed position. At the end of the first 20 minutes the score is 1:0 for the hosts.
Also in the middle third the Rittner Buam valiantly stand up to the regular season winners and find the tying goal. With Elo in the penalty box, Lutz shoots, Spinell puts the stick and Froberg can't do anything about it (25'09"). Then the guests reappear dangerous in front of Jesenice's goal, but at the same time attention must be paid to the hosts' attacks. So during a numeric inferiority Smith has to employ all his class on a one timer by Elo (33°). About three minutes before the second siren the blue-reds take the lead. Jesenice is not able to get the puck beyond its defensive zone, so Lutz sends the puck into the net with a dry shot (36'51"). The number 24 of the Rittner Buam also goes close to the third blue-red goal at 30 seconds to the end of the quarter, with the Rittner Buam with an extra player for the second time since the beginning of the match.
The last fraction of the game starts with a double numeric superiority for the Rittner Buam that lasts 1'10". Although Sharp and his teammates create several chances, the puck does not want to cross the goal line. Jesenice is just back to full strength when luck assists the guests and Svetina takes a post. A few moments later Rajsar does better, surprising Smith with a directly converted shot (42'45"). And five minutes later things get even better for the Slovenians, when Ulamec shoots the puck from the faceoff circle, overcomes the unlucky Smith and puts the puck in the corner scoring the 3:2. In the following minutes, the Rittner Buam try to draw, but Jesenice skilfully defends the advantage and finds some occasions to close the game. In the final minutes, the guests remove the goalie from the ice, but the result does not change and the game ends with a defeat (3:2).
For the Rittner Buam the Master Round will continue on Saturday, February 5th with a home game against Asiago, starting at 6pm.
HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice - Rittner Buam 3:2 (1:0, 0:2, 2:0)
Goals: 1:0 Elo (7'36"), 1:1 Markus Spinell (25'09" /PP), 1:2 Andreas Lutz (36'51"), 2:2 Rajsar (42'45"), 3:2 Ulamec (47'52")
Photo: Max Pattis