Illustrative photo – Match of the preliminary round of the hockey extraleague playoff – 2nd match: HC Oceláři Třinec – HC Verva Litvínov, March 9, 2023, Třinec. From the left, Marian Adámek from Třinec, Milan Doudera from Třinec, Daniel Voženílek from Třinec and Andrej Nestrašil from Třinec.
Prague – The hockey players of Třince and Brno have today their first chance to secure the fastest possible advance to the quarterfinals of the extra league playoffs. The Steelers won both home matches against Litvínov in the preliminary round, Kometa beat Mlada Boleslav twice, and both teams are now only one win away from participating in the next part of the competition. The remaining two series will certainly be played on Sunday as well. The match between Plzeň and Liberec is tied 1:1 for the matches, Karlovy Vary and Olomouc are only waiting for the second match today.
Photo gallery: Play off hockey extra league 2023
Litvínov won six times in a row at the end of the regular season, but he still hasn't found the recipe for the championship Třinec. However, both duels in the Werk Arena were balanced, in the first Ocelář adjusted to the final 3:1 on a power play by Verva, the second was decided by Jakub Jeřábek's goal in overtime.
“We are ready to fight until the end and we will not back down,” said Lithuanian forward Nicolas Hlava after Thursday's game. If the North Bohemians want to advance, they must change the unflattering balance in the playoffs, in which they have already lost nine times in a row. They last beat Hradec Králové in the elimination round on March 13, 2017. They played their last winning series in April 2015, when they won the title.
Třinec, as the champion from the previous three completely played extra league seasons, on the other hand, successfully managed nine series in a row. In addition, the Slezans have won five of the last six games at the Ivan Hlinka Stadium in Litvín, only losing the last one 3:4 in extra time.
However, striker Andrej Nestrašil realizes that the decision has not been made. “In Litvínov, we have to play without mistakes, with the puck deep, preferably in their zone. Hopefully we will have a little better weakening than on Thursday and the power play will keep what it turned into today,” said Nestrašil on the club's website, pointing to the three conceded goals Steelers in decline.
Mladá Boleslav will avert the threat of relegation again without goalkeeper Filip Novotný. “His leg is in a cast for three weeks and he has muscle problems,” revealed coach Jiří Kalous, who must therefore continue to rely on Gašper Krošelj. “I believe that the fans will come to support us, we will try to return the series to Brno, but we are taking it realistically,” added Kalous.
However, the Comets have not been doing well on the ice of Bruslařů for a long time, they have lost eleven times in a row. The last time Brno won in Mladá Boleslav was in October 2017. “I've been here for two months and we lost a lot against them,” said coach Patrik Martinec about the 3:7 defeat in January. “I will repeat myself, Boleslav is a big favorite in the series, we are leading 2:0 and we will do everything to advance,” Martinec said.
Pilsen ended a streak of ten defeats on Thursday, winning 6 in Liberec: 0 and will try to build on this success at home. “We were worried, but we believed that it could be turned around with a breakthrough match. We'll see how it will look in the future. But the boys have verified that with such commitment and heart, matches can be handled with anyone. I believe that will continue,” coach Petr Kořínek wished.
The White Tigers are quite the opposite. The home debacle marked their first loss after ten wins. “Nothing is happening. It's 1:1, no one said it would be easy. The important thing is how we react on Saturday,” said coach Patrik Augusta. “Three of our four games against each other in the season were very balanced, so we knew that nothing easy was waiting for us,” added captain Petr Jelínek. His team won the last three matches in Pilsen.
Karlovy Vary and Olomouc have managed to play only one match so far. Wednesday's first game was interrupted after the first period due to a damaged ice surface and was played on Thursday. Hanáci will travel to the west of Bohemia with a 1:0 lead. “We are now playing twice at home and I hope that this will be an advantage. That a full hall will come and our fans will drive us. We will leave everything on the ice and do everything to win twice,” said Energie forward Ondřej Beránek on the club's website.
Statistical data before the extra league playoff preliminaries:
HC Energie Karlovy Vary (9th after the regular season) – HC Olomouc (8th).
Starts: Saturday 15:30 (O2 TV Sport), Sunday: 15:30.
Series status: 0:1
Result of the match in the series: 1:4.
Most productive players in the series: Martin Kohout 1 match/1 point (1 goal + 0 assists) – Pavel Musil, Jakub Orsava both 1/2 (1+1)
The team's most productive players in the regular part: Jiří Černoch 50/31 (12+19) – Jan Káňa 41/32 (12 +20).
Goalkeeper statistics in the series: Štěpán Lukeš average of 4.00 goals per match and a save success rate of 83.33 percent – Jan Lukáš 1.00 and 95.65.
Goalkeeper statistics in the regular season: Vladislav Habal 2.54 , 90.69 and kept a clean sheet once, Štěpán Lukeš 3.13, 90.18 and kept a clean sheet three times, Petr Hamalčík 4.50 and 85.00 – Jan Lukáš 2.59, 91.41 and kept a clean sheet five times, Branislav Konrád 2.52, 90.13 and kept a clean sheet three times.
– Since 2018, Olomouc has missed the quarter-finals only last year, when was eliminated in the preliminary round after defeating Vítkovice 2:3 for matches.
– Karlovy Vary have been waiting to participate in the quarterfinals since 2009, when they won the title. Since then, they have been in the extra league play-off for the fourth time and were eliminated in the preliminary round three times – in 2011 with Slavia (2:3 on matches), the year before last with Pardubice (1:3) and last season with the same opponent (0:3).< /p>
– Energie lost three times in a row and won only one of the last five duels.
– Karlovy Vary lost three of the past four duels at home.
– Olomouc won only two from the last six matches.
– Hanáci have won two of the past four matches away from home.
– Defender Alex Rašner from Olomouc can play his 200th match in the extra league on Sunday.
HC Škoda Plzeň (12th) – White Tigers Liberec (5th).
Starts: Saturday 4:30 p.m., Sunday 4:30 p.m.
Series status: 1 :1
The result of the match in the series: 1:4, 6:0.
The most productive players in the series: Adrián Holešinský 2/3 (2+1) – Jakub Rychlovský 2/2 (2+0).
The team's most productive players in the regular season: Petr Kodýtek 44/34 (15+19) – Oscar Flynn 51/38 (22+16).
Goalkeeper statistics in the series: Dominik Pavlát 2.00, 93.22 and kept a clean sheet once – Petr Kváča 3.50 and 87.50.
Goalkeeper statistics in the regular part: Miroslav Svoboda 2, 61, 91.99 and twice kept a clean sheet, Dominik Pavlát 2.63, 91.30 and twice kept a clean sheet – Petr Kváča 2.10, 92.53 and once kept a clean sheet, Jakub Neužil 3.11, 90.09 and kept a clean sheet once, Daniel Král 3.84 and 85.45.
– Plzeň has been waiting for a winning streak in the playoffs since 2019, when it was eliminated only in the semifinals with Třinec and won bronze. In 2021, it was eliminated in the preliminary round with Olomouc (0:3 in matches) and last year with Mlada Boleslav (2:3).
– The White Tigers have not missed the quarterfinals since 2015, when they did not advance to the playoffs. Since then, in the six playoffs played, they have won the title once (2016), reached the silverware three times (2017, 2019 and 2021) and were eliminated twice in the quarterfinals. Last year it was after defeating Sparta 1:4 for matches.
– Liberec plays Pilsen in the playoffs for the third time. In both 2010 and 2017, he won 4:2 in the quarter-finals.
– Plzeň ended a series of ten defeats with Thursday's win in the second match of the preliminary round.
– Škoda lost four times in a row at home.< /p>
– With Thursday's loss to Liberec, a string of ten wins ended.
– The White Tigers have won four times in a row away from home.
– Plzeň against Liberec on Thursday succeeded in mutual duels for the first time after streak of four defeats.
– Striker Tomáš Mertl will celebrate his 37th birthday on Saturday.
BK Mladá Boleslav (10th) – HC Kometa Brno (7th).
Starts: Saturday 17:00, Sunday 16:00.
Series status: 0 :2.
The result of the match in the series: 2:4, 1:2.
The most productive players in the series: Mário Lunter 2/2 (1+1) – Petr Holík 2/3 (1+2).
The team's most productive players in the regular season: Róbert Lantoši 46/27 (7+20) – Petr Holík 52/48 (12+36).
Goalkeeper statistics in the series: Gašper Krošelj 3.08 and 88.00 – Dominik Furch 1.50 and 96.39.
Goalkeeper statistics in the regular part: Filip Novotný 2.21, 92.18 and four clean sheets, Gašper Krošelj 2.31 and 92.12, Marek Stuchlík 2.00 and 91.30 – Dominik Furch 2.29, 92.61 and kept a clean sheet six times, Marek Čiliak 3.29, 90.17 and kept a clean sheet once. the last time was in 2018, when it didn't even make the playoffs. In the past two years, she was equally wrecked only in the semi-finals at the championship Třínec.
– From 2017, Kometa did not miss the quarter-finals until last year, when they were eliminated in the preliminary round after a 2:3 defeat against Liberec. It won the title in 2017 and 2018 and was eliminated in the semifinals in 2019.
– Mladá Boleslav won three times in a row before entering the preliminary round.
– Skating club at home after a series of four defeats for the last time defeated Plzeň 4:2.
– Kometa won five of the last six duels.
– The Brno team won only one of the last four matches away from home.
– Before entering the preliminary round with Mlada Boleslaví, Kometa lost four times in a row and did not score a single point.
– Two Kometa players have birthdays today. Slovak defender Marko Ďalog is 34 years old and striker Eduard Šalé is celebrating his 18th birthday.
HC Verva Litvínov (11th) – HC Oceláři Třinec (6th). >
Starts: Saturday 17:45 (CET sport), Sunday 17:00.
Series status: 0:2.
Result of the match in the series: 1:3, 4:5 in overtime.
Most productive players in the series: Nicolas Hlava 2/3 (2+1) – Jakub Jeřábek, Martin Růžička both 2/3 (2+1).< /p>
The team's most productive players in the regular season: Šimon Stránský 46/40 (9+31) – Martin Růžička 52/52 (23+29).
Goalkeeper statistics in the series: Matej Tomek 3.33 and 89.71 – Marek Mazanec 2.36 and 91.07.
Goalkeeper statistics in the regular season: Šimon Zajíček 2.64, 91.34 and once kept a clean sheet, Matej Tomek 1.81, 93.06 and twice kept a clean sheet, Denis Godla 3.08 and 90.70 – Marek Mazanec 2.07, 92.11 and kept a clean sheet four times, Ondřej Kacetl 2.43 and 90.34.
Interesting facts :
– Třinec, which won the title in the last three completed seasons in 2019, 2021 and 2022, won nine consecutive series in the playoffs. The last time they failed in the final was in 2018, when they lost to Kometa Brno 1:4 on matches. The last time he missed the quarter-finals was in 2016, when he was eliminated in the preliminary round.
– Litvínov was in the quarter-finals for the last time in 2017. Since then, he has been in the play-offs for only the second time and the year before last he was eliminated in the preliminary round against Hradec Králové after a defeat of 0 :3 for matches.
– The Steelers have faced Litvínov twice in the playoffs so far. In 2011, they won 4-2 on their way to the premiership in the quarter-finals. Four years later, they lost the match 3:4 in the final, and Litvínov won the first ever gold.
– Before entering the preliminary round, Litvínov had a streak of six victories.
– Verva won four times at home by themselves.
– Třinec won four of the last six matches.
– Steelers won two of the last three matches away from home.
– Třinec won nine of the last ten head-to-head matches fights.