Series tied: the Rittner Buam impose a decisive fifth match

Cortina d'Ampezzo, March 22, 2022 - Santeri Heiskanen's team on Tuesday night beat S.G. Cortina Hafro by winning 0:2 on the road and brought the Alps Hockey League quarterfinal series back to a tie (2:2). Osburn led the guests in the opening period in front of the 343 spectators of the Olimpico stadium, then Fink closed the game with 15 seconds to go. Excellent performance also for Renon's goalie Jake Smith, who was able to celebrate his second shutout in a row and hasn't conceded a goal since 139 minutes and 34 seconds.

SUMMARY: The Rittner Buam can present themselves in Cortina with a complete team, the house masters, on the other hand, must do without the whirlwind Riccardo Lacedelli. As expected, also in this game 4 of the quarter-finals, the game is not open. Both sides in the race wait for an error from their rivals. So we have to wait until the seventh minute for the first great chance: Osburn shoots on the power play, but the puck ends up on the frame of the goal. Shortly after the half of the period, the guests can play again with an extra man. Ampezzo came close to scoring, when Sanna's shot was stopped only by Smith's boot (15th minute). After a good quarter of an hour of game, some key moments occurred with Zardini Lacedelli having to leave the ice for two minutes, followed by Sanna only 32 seconds later. In 5 against 3 captain Adami manages to block a shot thrown by Uusivirta, but then Osburn finds a space and beats the strong De Filippo.

The second period was divided into three parts: in the initial phase Cortina was more active, even if Simon Kostner and Fink didn't take advantage of two good occasions (25th minute). Hardly past the half-hour Johansson is already ready to turn to exult, but Lutz slides in like a soccer player and with his skate scrapes the puck from the line, then De Zanna shoots from a central position, but the puck goes out. On the opposite side Julian Kostner could score the 0:2 during a pressure phase of the Rittner Buam (32°), but he was stopped by the "wizard" De Filippo, as well as Giacomuzzi a few moments later and Marzolini (34°). At the 35th minute, the defenseman number 26 of Renon's team has to leave the ice, but the Rittner Buam overcome unharmed the power play of Machacka's team and also Cortina's pressure phase in the final minutes.

In the final period Cortina starts with a great momentum and Finucci tests Smith after only seconds of the period. In some phases, the Ampezzo players forced the Rittner Buam in their own area and in the middle of the last period of the game they were unlucky when Luca Zanatta, infront of the net, hit a post. Shortly after, in a lightning action of the guests, Osburn does not place the puck in De Filippo's goal. Cortina ran out of time. Two minutes from the end, the house masters take the goalie off the ice for a sixth skater and could be rewarded for the choice. But, with 50 seconds to go before time expires, captain Adami fails to shoot on goal. On the opposite side it goes better to Kevin Fink, who steals the puck from a Cortina player and 15 seconds before the siren sound closes the game and brings the series to a draw.

So the Rittner Buam and Cortina will compete for the ticket to the semifinal on Thursday, March 24 at the Ritten Arena. The engagement will take place at 8 pm.


Alps Hockey League 2021/22 - Game 4 of the quarterfinals

SG Cortina Hafro - Rittner Buam 0:2 (0:1, 0:0, 0:1)

Goals: 0:1 Zach Osburn (17'33"/PP2), 0:2 Kevin Fink (59'45"/EN)

Series (best of five): 2:2 (4:2, 4:2, 0:1 OT, 0:2)

Photo: Max Pattis