Hockey extra league playoff final – 4th match: HC Oceláři Třinec – Mountfield Hradec Králové, April 23, 2023, Třinec. From left, Libor Hudáček from Třinec and Hradec Králové goalkeeper Matěj Machovský.
Prague – Hockey players from Třinec have their third match point on Friday to win the championship title. Hradec Králové was able to delay the possible crowning of the Steelers twice in the play-off final of the extra league and dramatically dramatized the series. Třinec, which led 3-0 in the final, is currently leading only 3-2. However, Slezans believe that they will succeed in the sixth game in front of their fans and win the fourth title in a row.
“We were leading 3-0, but it didn't have to be that way. We won in extra time in Hradec. They have a very good team, and if someone had told us before the series that we would lead 3-2 and play the sixth game at home, so we'll definitely take it,” forward Andrej Nestrašil told reporters after Wednesday's 0:3 defeat in Hradec Králové.
His teammates expressed themselves similarly. “We're leading and we're going home. What more could you wish for? It's a great state of the series,” said forward Daniel Voženílek. “I believe we will win on Friday. We will be driven by a full house. This is what we wished for before the series,” added the 27-year-old player.
But Třinec are aware that they have to change their game and return to the performances they performed at the beginning of the final series. “We have to realize that we got from the preliminary round to here with honest work. We have to return to that. We all take it, stick to it and be more hungry for goals. And keep playing our game,” pointed out captain Petr Vrána.
Hradec Králové led 3:0 in the semi-finals against Vítkovice and then lost three times. Now Mountfield wants to imitate their previous opponent and then complete the turnaround at home.
“We know from the semi-finals that it is not easy to lead 3-0 in the games and take the last step. If I say it stupidly, then we have nothing to lose. We can only win,” said forward Radek Pilař, who at the same time realizes that his team still has a lot of hard work ahead of them. “We still have to be on top, Třinec didn't win three titles in a row for nothing,” he added.
The East Bohemians are playing in the first final in the club's history. Before the continuation of the series, they are encouraged by the fact that they won two out of four matches in Třinec this season. “The guide for us is the fourth (final) match in Třinec, which I think we played brilliantly. That is our goal to repeat and equalize at 3:3,” said forward Radek Miškář, who with four goals is the team's second best scorer in playoffs. However, he only got into the Hradec team in the second semi-final match.