The fourth match of the preliminary round of the hockey extra league play-off: HC Olomouc – HC Energie Karlovy Vary, March 14, 2023, Olomouc. The joy of the Olomouc players from the first goal.
Prague – The quarterfinals of the hockey extra league will start today with the matches of the two best teams of the regular season. The first team of the table Pardubice will welcome Olomouc, while the second team Vítkovice will play against Kometa Brno.
Photo gallery: Play off hockey extra league 2023
Pardubice confirmed the role of the biggest favorite according to pre-season estimates by winning the Jaroslav Pouzar Cup. However, the main goal of the East Bohemians is the championship title. And on this journey, they do not want to deal with such predictions at all. “The favorite in no way. If we were to think like that, then it's the road to hell. The favorite is anyone who advances to the playoffs. Liberec, Hradec, Třinec, Sparta, Brno, these are all terribly strong teams. Whoever catches the form, can beat anyone,” emphasized coach Radim Rulík.
From the moment when it was certain that no one would overtake it in the table, Dynamo won only one point from four games. “As it was not a 100% performance from our side, it was obvious right away. And I think we deservedly lost. It was a clear message for all of us that if we don't leave everything on the ice in terms of system and commitment, and we don't act as team, it will be terribly difficult with everyone. We would not succeed like this, and we can have any names in the lineup,” warned Rulík.
“Everyone knows what it's about and what we're playing for. We drew a line after the regular season because it doesn't really matter how you finish. You can see it even in the preliminary round that it doesn't matter if you're first, tenth or twelfth. The matches are even. It starts from scratch and we have to prepare well. We're going into the game to beat the other team and it doesn't matter if we're the favorite or the underdog. We're just going to win. It doesn't matter who you face, if you want to go far, you have to win those four games against everyone,” forward Lukáš Sedlák added.
Many times during the season, the Hanáci proved how tough they are. They managed to defeat Pardubice once in mutual fights. “We would like to take advantage of their longer absence from the game. It will be an even more demanding level, but we will thoroughly prepare,” assured the experienced goalkeeper Branislav Konrád, who closed the preliminary round series against Karlovy Vary (3:1 on matches) with a clean sheet.
In the showdown with Karlovy Vary, not even a malaise was an obstacle for the Roosters. “She accompanied us the whole season. Although now we also have three or four injured, but there were matches when fourteen of us were injured, which is unreal. I have never experienced it. Until the end of December, we played excellently, at times we were even third, but then it went downhill. But now we've started and in the playoffs we're a completely different team again,” forward Jan Bambula pointed out.
Vítkovice lost the opening game of the season against Brno in mid-October, and then they didn't let the Kometa not even a point. “We didn't choose our opponents, we waited for who would come out against us. It's Kometa. From the moment we knew it, we started working carefully to prepare responsibly for the whole series,” said coach Miloš Holaň for the club's website.< /p>
For Ostrava – similarly to Pardubice – it will be important to jump back into the match tempo. Both teams last played on Sunday, March 5. “We're going step by step. Each series will be very demanding. Each match will be very demanding. It's already a battle between the eight best teams. Each opponent has its own quality, each match will be bloody, as it usually is in the playoffs,” Holań said. “Details will decide and I hope they will be on our side,” he wished.
Kometa took the promotion through Mlada Boleslav as an obligation in the end, and now the people of Brno are fully focused on Vítkovice. “You can't choose at this stage of the competition, there are only strong opponents here. Vítkovic had a great first half and they have high ambitions,” summed up Brno's assistant coach Jaroslav Modrý.
His team is going to Ostrava complete and Modrý expects somewhat different hockey than the Kometa played against the Skaters. “There is less ice in Vítkovice, which suits the physical concept of their game. It will be a lot about personal battles and play with the puck,” added Modrý, according to whom Vítkovice have a number of different players, led by Peter Mueller, who played in Brno for four years.
“It is up to us to play as a team and eliminate their strengths. They have more weapons, hockey is not black and white and it will depend on our abilities how we deal with it,” stated Modrý. He also believes that the four-day break between games helped the team. “The boys have cleared their heads, rested and are excited and ready to go into the series,” emphasized Modrý.
Statistics before the hockey extraliga quarterfinal duels
HC Vítkovice Ridera (2nd after regular season) – HC Kometa Brno (7th).
Beginnings: Friday 17:00 (ČT Sport), Saturday 19:00 (O2 TV Sport) .
Head-to-head matches this season: 1:2, 4:1, 5:2, 5:2 (most productive players: Marek Kalus 1 goal + 6 assists – Petr Holík, Radek Koblížek both 2+1 ).
Balance of mutual matches in the extra league playoffs: 9 matches – 1 win – 1 win in overtime or after separate runs – 3 losses in overtime or after separate runs – 4 losses – score 12:22.< /p>
The team's most productive players in the regular season: Roberts Bukarts 52 games/47 points (21+26) – Petr Holík 52/48 (12+36).
The most productive players in the playoffs: have not played yet – Petr Holík, Kim Strömberg both 4/5 (2+3).
Goalkeeping statistics in the regular season: Aleš Stezka average of 2.14 goals conceded per match, save success rate 92.44 percent and five clean sheets, Lukáš Klimeš 2.05 and 92.99 – Dominik Furch 2.29, 92.61 and kept a clean sheet six times, Marek Čiliak 3.29 and 90.17.
Statistics of the goalkeepers in the playoffs: they have not played yet – Dominik Furch 1.51 and 95.77.
– Vítkovice will meet Kometa in the playoffs for the third time and have not yet succeeded against them . In 2018, on their way to defending their title, the Brno team defeated them in the quarter-finals 4:0 per match, and the year before last they succeeded in the preliminary round, where after the opening two defeats in Ostrava, they turned the series around to 3:2 per match.
– Vítkovice is in the quarter-finals for the second time in a row, and last year they were eliminated after losing to the champion Třinec 0:4 for the matches. They have been waiting to advance to the semi-finals since defending silver in 2011. Since then, they have been eliminated six times in the quarter-finals, three times in the preliminary round and once in the play-offs.
– The Brno team is in the quarter-finals after a one-year break. Last year, they were eliminated in the preliminary round against Liberec after a 2:3 defeat. They have been waiting to advance to the semi-finals since 2019, when they got there for the third time in a row after the titles in 2017 and 2018.
– Kometa eliminated Mlada Boleslav in the preliminary round after a 3:1 win over matches. She completed the promotion on Sunday with a 5:1 away win.
– Vítkovice lost only two of the last eight games and only one of them did not score. The last time they played was on Sunday, March 5, when they lost 1:2 in Liberec after separate raids.
– Ostrava won three of the past four duels at home after a series of four defeats.
– Kometa won six of the last eight duels.
– Brno won away in two of the last four duels.
– Vítkovice won seven of the last eight mutual duels.
– Striker Adam Zbořil from Kometa can play his 200th match in the extra league.
– Goalkeeper Lukáš Klimeš from Vítkovice is a pupil of Kometa and moved to Ostrava before this season.
– Defender Patrik Koch worked for Kometa as a youth player and then again in 2016, another Slovak defender Juraj Mikuš wore their jersey in the opening part of the 2018/19 season. Fullback Matěj Prčík worked there in the youth in 2018/19 and 2019/20 after arriving at the age of 14 from his native Hodonín.
– American gunner Peter Mueller, after four seasons in Kometa, headed to Vítkovice last year. Jan Bernovský was born in Brno and is a graduate of HCM Warrior Brno. Another attacker, Richard Jarůšek, is a pupil of Kometa, but he last played for them in the junior team in the year 2007/08.
– Defender Michal Gulaši from Kometa is a pupil of Vítkovice and last played for them in the 2007/08 season. Defender Marek Hrbas worked in Vítkovice from 2016 to 2018.
HC Dynamo Pardubice (1st) – HC Olomouc (8th).
Starts: Friday 19:00 (O2 TV Sport), Saturday 17:00 (ČT sport).
Mutual matches in the season: 2:1, 3:0, 2:3 in extra time, 4:1 (Lukáš Sedlák, Jan Košťálek both 0+4 – Jan Káňa 2+2).
Balance of mutual matches of matches in the extra league playoffs: 4 – 0 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 7:11.
The team's most productive players in the regular part: Lukáš Radil 49/40 (14+26) – Jan Káňa 41/32 (12+20).
Most productive players in the playoffs: have not played yet – Jakub Orsava 4/8 (5+3).
Goalkeeper statistics in the regular season: Roman Will 2.11, 92.08 and five clean sheets, Dominik Frodl 1.37, 94.61 and three clean sheets, Milan Klouček 2.00 and 89.47, Jan Růžička 2, 98, 87.68 and one clean sheet – Jan Lukáš 2.59, 91.41 and five clean sheets, Branislav Konrád 2.52, 90.13 and three clean sheets.
Goalkeeper statistics in the playoffs: they haven't played yet – Branislav Konrád 0.97, 96.15 and kept a clean sheet once, Jan Lukáš 4.00 and 85.45.
– Pardubice have met Olomouc in the playoffs only once so far. In 1994, Hanác succeeded in the final after winning 3:1 on matches and won the only title so far.
– Olomouc eliminated Karlovy Vary in the preliminary round after winning 3:1 on matches. She completed the promotion on Tuesday thanks to a 3:0 home win.
– Pardubice are in the quarter-finals for the third time in a row. Last year they lost to České Budějovice (1:4 per match) and the year before to Mladá Boleslav (0:4). They have been waiting to play in the semifinals since winning their sixth title in 2012. Since then, they have been eliminated five times in the quarterfinals, once in the preliminary round, and three times they have missed the playoffs.
– Olomouc is in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last six seasons. In 2020, the playoff was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic when they played in the preliminary round with Zlín 1:1 for matches and last year they were eliminated in the preliminary round with Vítkovice after a 2:3 defeat for matches. It was only in the semi-finals in 1994, when it finally won the title.
– After securing the Jaroslav Pouzar Cup for the best team of the regular season, Pardubice lost four times in a row and gained only one point.
– Dynamo lost three times in a row at home and reached only one point.
– Before entering the preliminary round, Olomouc lost four out of five games at the end of the regular season.
– Hanáci won three of the last six duels away from home and each time it was in the setup.
– Pardubice scored points in six of the last seven matches and they have won five of them.
– Defender Jiří Ondrušek from Olomouc can play his 500th match in the extra league, for striker Petr Strapác the next appearance will be his 600th match in the domestic top competition.< /p>
– Striker Lukáš Anděl from Olomouc played for Pardubice in the past two seasons. Jakub Orsava wore the Dynamo jersey in the second part of the 2015/16 season. Pavel Musil played two matches for Pardubice in the 2013/14 season, alternately starting with Mladá Boleslav in the first league at the time. Another forward, Lukáš Nahodil, worked in Pardubice between 2009 and 2017.
– The unsuccessful final series from 1994 was played in the Pardubice jersey by forwards Richard Král and Marek Zadina, current assistants to Dynamo coach Radim Rulík. Goalkeeper Dušan Salfický, sports director and member of the Pardubice club's board of directors was also in the vice-champion squad.