Successful overtaking: the Rittner Buam are in the semifinals

Collalbo, March 24, 2022 - Thanks to a 5:1 victory at home in game 5 of the Alps Hockey League quarter-finals against S.G. Cortina Hafro, on Thursday night Santeri Heiskanen's team qualified for the semi-finals. The qualification took place in a comeback, at the end of a series that started with the Rittner Buam in disadvantage after the first two games (0:2). On Saturday night, therefore, the blue-red will face the HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice, who eliminated the HC Gherdëina.

SUMMARY: In this important playoff match, the Rittner Buam have to do without MacGregor Sharp, who is sick. Both teams start with great commitment and in the initial minutes create some chances. After a few seconds of the game Osburn is stopped by De Filippo, while on the opposite side Smith warms up with shots by Johansson and Sanna (2nd). In the 5th minute, Julian Kostner could score the goal of the advantage, but De Filippo imposes himself in the one-on-one. Shortly after, however, the Rittner Buam can really celebrate, when Manuel Öhler succeeds in conquering the puck, starts a solo action and surprises De Filippo, excellent in all the games of the series, between the legs. Cortina's answer was not long in coming, but the blue-red defense resisted by combining skill and luck, as at the 17th minute on a shot of Finucci that Smith thought was already in the goal. The last shot of the period is of the Rttner Buam: Sailio is noticed with a shot that ends up on De Flippo's mask (20th minute).

The middle period couldn't start better for the South Tyrolean team, as after only 41 seconds Jari Sailio scores the 2:0 from a very short distance. With this goal, the Finnish hockey player has scored in 4 games out of 5 of the playoff series against Cortina. The goal gave the Ampezzo team a wake-up call: now Machacka's team gave gas and in some phases relegated the house masters in their defensive zone. And the efforts are paid off in the 25th minute. When a penalty is assigned to the Rittner Buam and De Filippo leaves the ice for a sixth skater, Kaskinen scores the 2:1 with a nice action in attack. Afterwards, the guests from Veneto try to draw, for example with an attempt of Basaraba foiled by an attentive Smith, while the Rittner Buam are not very incisive in attack. Fink had a chance but couldn't push the puck over the goal line at the end of a counterattack.

The last period of the game also starts with a flash from Renon. After 24 seconds of the game, De Filippo couldn't hold back Sailio's shot and captain Simon Kostner took advantage of it for the 3:1. Cortina is forced to a more offensive game, but all this gives space to the counterattacks of the house masters. In the middle of the final period Pechlaner wasted a very promising occasion. On the whole, the Rittner Buam defended well the two advantage goals, conceded little to the adversaries and seven minutes before the end missed a goal by taking the frame. Three and a half minutes before the end, Cortina's coach Machacka tries everything and takes the goalie off the ice for a sixth skater. What's more shortly after Lutz has to go to the penalty box. But just then the house masters closed the game with Simon Kostner who intercepted the puck and shot it into the empty goal (57'12"). Four seconds before the end of the game, Spinell scored the 5:1 on the powerplay.

In the semi-final of the Alps Hockey League, the Rittner Buam will face the Jesenice, that on Thursday night won 2:1 against Gherdëina, winning the series 3:2. Game 1 of the best-of-five series will be held on Saturday night in Slovenia.

Alps Hockey League 2021/22 - Game 5, quarter finals series (best of five)

Rittner Buam - SG Cortina Hafro 5:1 (1:0, 1:1, 3:0)

Goals: 1:0 Manuel Öhler (7'28"), 2:0 Jari Sailio (20'41"), 2:1 Kaskinen (24'57"), 3:1 Simon Kostner (40'24"), 4:1 Simon Kostner (57'12" /SH/EN), 5:1 Markus Spinell (59'56" /PP)

MVP of the match presented by Loacker: Johansson (COR) and Manuel Öhler (RIT)

Quarterfinal series: 3:2 (2:4, 2:4, 1:0 OT, 2:0, 5:1) - Rittner Buam in the semifinals

Photo: Max Pattis