THE SUMMARY: In the match at home of Jesenice's number ones, on Thursday night coach Santeri Heiskanen has to give up three key figures at once: defenseman Michael Lang and Alex Frei and Simon Kostner, the two offensive forces of the first line. On the other hand, Philipp Pechlaner is back on the ice after having served his suspension. Towards the middle of the first period, the blue-red overcome a penalty kill (Jakob Prast had to go to the punished bench), but in the final phase they suffered two goals. First Eric Pance, Jesenice's top scorer, scores the 17th goal of the season and brings the Slovenes in the lead (1:0), then at eleven seconds from the siren Eetu Elo's 2:0 doubles the advantage.
The second half of the game is also tightly contested. After about half an hour of play on the ice, fists fly between Jasa Jenko and Zach Osburn and soon after Planko has to go to the penalty box. The Slovenian has just returned to the field when Adam Giacomuzzi scores the goal of the deserved comeback (2:1). Now the Rittner Buam have naturally smelled the prey.
The final straight immediately dampens the guests' enthusiasm with a cold shower, when after only 30 seconds Viikila restores the two lengths of advantage on the powerplay. The rollercoaster of emotions in this game is not over yet, as at the 46th minute Pechlaner brings the guests back on the ice - also this time with an extra man on the ice. Ten minutes before the end of the game, Svetina escapes from the Rittner Buam's defense and sends the puck to the cross of the poles scoring the 4:2. It is the decisive goal, but rags still fly, twice. First Rajsar and Sharp clashed, and less than a minute later Svetina and Urukalo fought with Giacomuzzi and Julian Kostner. When, two minutes from the final siren, Uusivirta also collected a penalty, things were decided. Elo's second goal for the 5:2 on an empty goal only embellishes the final result for Jesenice (58'36").
The Rittner Buam will play the first championship game of 2022 at home. On Sunday, January 2nd at 6pm, Julian Kostner and his teammates will meet EC Bregenzerwald, against whom they haven't played yet this season. Of the 10 previous challenges between the two teams, the Renon team has won nine.
HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice - Rittner Buam 5:2 (2:0, 0:1, 3:1)
Goals: 1:0 Eric Pance (17'06"), 2:0 Elo (19'49"), 2:1 Adam Giacomuzzi (32'18"), 3:1 Viikila (40"30" /PP), 3:2 Philipp Pechlaner (45'35" /PP), 4:2 Svetina (50'27"), 5:2 Elo (58'36" /PP/EN)
Photo: Max Pattis