The teams classified from the first to the sixth place at the end of the regular season, will play the Master Round of the Alps Hockey League. This sextet is composed by: HDD SIJ Acroni Jesenice, Migross Supermercati Asiago Hockey, Rittner Buam, EHC Lustenau, S.G. Cortina Hafro and SHC Fassa Falcons. The top four teams received bonus points for their placings in the regular season standings - the Rittner Buam received two for third place. At the end of the Master Round, in which a first round and a second round will be played, the first four teams in the standings will qualify directly for the quarterfinal playoffs, while the remaining two teams will have to play the pre-playoffs. The teams that at the end of the regular season are ranked from seventh place onwards, will face each other in the Qualification Round.
The Renon team is aiming for direct qualification to the quarter-finals. On Thursday it will have to overcome the first obstacle, S.G. Cortina Hafro, and get the first three points. "In past years it was always difficult against Cortina. Now, after some unnecessary defeats, we have to get back to winning ways and for that we will give our best," says Julian Kostner before the game in the province of Belluno. In fact Cortina is a kind of bogeyman for the Rittner Buam. On October 21 at the Stadio Olimpico, in the first direct clash of the regular season, the Rittner Buam lost 4:1. In return, however, on December 9 they took their revenge with a home win. This game also ended on 4:1.
The Rittner Buam's current statistics are better when it comes to the challenges against the Fassa Falcons, which Heiskanen-Truppe's team will face on Saturday. Both games of the first phase of the championship ended with a victory for the Renon team: on September 11, in the first day of the championship, they won at home by 5:2, while on October 14 in the away game in Canazei the scoreboard decreed a 4:2 for the blue-reds. Despite this, Heiskanen's boys must be careful because Fassa has an enviable condition. Marco Liberatore's team has won nine of the last ten games. "Against Fassa another challenging game awaits us, however we expect to score three points," Julian Kostner points the course confidently.
Also this week coach Santeri Heiskanen will not be able to count on all Rittner Buam and will have to do without Sailio and Frei.
Alps Hockey League - Master Round 21/22
Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 8.30 pm, Stadio Olimpico Cortina
S.G. Cortina Hafro - Rittner Buam
Saturday, January 29, 2022 - 6 pm, Ritten Arena
Rittner Buam - SHC Fassa Falcons
Photo: Max Pattis