The furious comeback of the Rittner Buam lacks only the crowning achievement

Collalbo, April 2, 2022 - For the Rittner Buam, the Alps Hockey League 2021/22 ended on Saturday night at 8:55 pm. At the Ritten Arena, Santeri Heiskanen's team was unfortunately beaten by Jesenice 4:5 after the overtime, so the Slovenian team won the semifinal series 3 games to 1. In the nerve-racking game, the blue-reds have recovered a disadvantage of 1:4 and 36 seconds before the end of the regulation time have reached a draw considered impossible.

THE SUMMARY: The game starts with a good rhythm and after three minutes the puck ends up in Jesenice's goal. But the goal is rightly annulled, as the puck is accompanied into the net by Julian Kostner's skate. In the following minutes the house masters controlled the game, while Jesenice relied on a safe defense and let them go up. No surprise, then, that Heiskanen's team builds more chances. The best chance, halfway through the opening period, is by Sailio who is set in motion by Julian Kostner, but has to surrender to Froberg. Shortly after a Jesenice defenseman risks to direct the puck into his own goal (12th) and only one minute later, on the opposite side of the field, Pance is beaten by Smith, again between the posts after having recovered. Two minutes before the siren sounded, the blue-reds could play with an extra man. The best chance comes from Sharp (19th) with a deflected shot that misses the goal by inches. At 13 seconds from the first intermission also Uusivirta has to go to the penalty bench.

So the house masters start the middle period on the penalty kill. The first chance is of Elo, who misses. On the opposite side, first Spinell and Simon Kostner didn't take advantage of a mistake in the game construction and then the puck remained on the ground in front of the adversary's goal after a shot of Marzolini. Shortly after Jesenice behaves better with Rajsar who makes a pass in the slot where Jenko, "forgotten" by the house masters, scores the 0:1 (22'59"). In the middle of the second period the Slovenians extend the score with the 0:2: the Rittner Buam waste the puck in their zone, Svetina passes to Sotlar and the latter, without efforts, sinks the puck in the goal (31'36"). From the opposite side of the field comes the prompt answer of the house masters: Manuel Öhler shoots, the puck ends up to Sharp who gives the puck to Froberg and shortens the distances (32'59"). But only one minute passes and another goal arrives. This time Ulamec scores from a defiladed position and restores the two goals of advantage for the guests. After 40 minutes, the scoreboard marks 1:3.

In the third period, during which the injured Sailio remained in the locker room, the house masters pressed to shorten the distances. In the first minutes Marzolini and Simon Kostner had to surrender to Froberg, as well as Sharp at the 47th minute. Jesenice takes advantage of every minute passed without conceding a goal. And when Viikila scored the fourth goal of the Slovenians at the 50'11" minute, almost all the fans at the Ritten Arena thought that the game was over. But they were very wrong: in fact, a comeback followed that would be talked about for years by Renon. Six and a half minutes from the end Heiskanen calls a time out and takes goalie Smith off the ice. The Finnish coach takes a risk, but is repaid: Osburn shoots the puck at the cross of the posts (54'18). For the blue-reds things get even better 53 seconds later, when Sharp puts his stick and deflects a successful shot (3:4). The Rittner Buam have a little less than 5 minutes left to reach the draw. And it arrived, 36 seconds before the end: with a deviated shot from the blue line, Lutz scored 4:4. The game goes to the overtime.

In the overtime the Rittner Buam are the most active team, but they are not able to concretize the occasions. The decisive goal comes in the 76th minute, when Jesenice can play with an extra man. Elo shoots from the right side, the puck is deflected and slides into the goal. Now Jesenice will play to contend for the title, while for the Rittner Buam the vacations will begin.


AlpsHL, Playoffs, semifinal series (game 4):

Rittner Buam - HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice 4:5 OT (0:0, 1:3, 3:1, 0:1)

Goals: 0:1 Jenko (22'59"), 0:2 Pance (31'36"), 1:2 MacGregor Sharp (32'59"), 1:3 Ulamec (34'06"), 1:4 Viikila (50'11"), 2:4 Zach Osburn (54'18"), 3:4 MacGregor Sharp (55'11"), 4:4 Andreas Lutz (59'24"), 4:5 Elo (75'35" /PP)

Series (best of five): 1:3 (1:2, 3:2, 0:6, 4:5 OT) - Jesenice in the final

Photo: Max Pattis