This week, the Steel Arena in Kosice could rest a bit, and our players travelled to play two matches in the role of guests. After a win on Friday against Liptovsky Mikulas, fans stayed tuned for the awaited and attractive duel in Ondrej Nepela Arena. In the match of the two most successful hockey clubs in the Slovak history, the Steelers gained victory and repaid Slovan their loss in the first round.
Entry into the second quarter of the Tipsport liga brought a match against ambitious Slovan Bratislava. The vision of a triumph and important points, that would give Košice a lead in the table, motivated the Steelers to another great performance. Both teams were playing very well since the opening face-off. In the second period, we finally managed to score, when Michal Chovan used the opportunity after a very nice action of our first formation. Jindřich Abdul managed to overcome Kosaristan during the power-play right before the end of the game, and motivated the home spectators to cheer even more. However, our players had the final say. Facing Brust during overtime, neither Jokel nor Klhufek manage to score. In individual shootouts, the best striker, Marcel Hascak, scored with a beautiful goal. During shootouts, Kosaristan made it very tough for Slovan players, when he managed to catch every shot. After a nerve-wracking duel, we interviewed our players.
Michal Chovan: "I would say that this was more of a play-off match." We as well as our opponents gave 100% into the game, and I believe that fans liked it a lot. It was a tough game with many opportunities to score, played in a good pace, so I think we deserved that extra point. Surely, we wanted to win, it's a shame it didn't work our very well at the end. Even during overtime, we had more chances. I think we performed well. The duel was also mentally demanding. It's a derby, so one has to always prepare differently than for other games. It was kind of a small holiday – many people came to watch the duel of two good teams, so it's important that everybody was happy. We could feel our fans cheering us up during the match. There was a great atmosphere in the arena, and we all thank you for your support!”
Juraj Majdan: "Today, we performed very well as a team! Our game was good, we had many chances, and I think that we held a control throughout the game. Shame that stupid foul and tying of the game at the end. We stuck to what we told each other, we skated well and the long road we had had didn't affect us. Maybe we just have to improve some details, push more, make more pressure at the goalie and it's going to be better. It was also a mentally tough duel. We were leading 1:0 the whole time, and we thought that victory will be on our side. However, we also took a second point and we repaid them the loss. Fans were amazing. To be honest, I didn't expect so many spectators would come. The atmosphere was great not only because of our fans, but because of the opponent's ones as well. We would really like to thank our fans, that they travelled all the way to Bratislava to support us."
Pavel Klhůfek: "We definitely enjoyed the game. It was a difficult match with great support, so we are very happy that we are coming home with a victory. Even though that one goal two minutes before the end hurts a bit. This win is definitely going to make us stronger mentally. Matches against Poprad and Dedva didn't go well, so we really wanted to improve our game right from the match against Liptovsky Mikulas, we wanted to improve the transition from defense to offense. Even though it looks like we don't score a lot, we have a very good defense. During those thirteen games we have played so far, I think we can all thank our goalie, he really held us up. Košo catches very well, as we could see the proof today, he caught five shots during shootouts. It is unbelievable and we all thank him very much because, for sure, he is one of those players who contributed to our victory."
Filip Vrábeľ: "We knew that it would be a tough match, so we expected the full arena. Everything turned out as we thought. But we had had our tactic set, and we wanted to stick to it throughout the whole game. Shame we got that goal at the end. But we are happy for those two points. In the upcoming matches, we have to play the game we have played so far and improve some details. We have to be more focused and we cannot let other similar fluctuations come in our
way, as it happened a week or two ago. There is a "healthy competition" in the forward positions, but when I am playing this position, I am trying to do my best. Of course, I support the player even when he is playing instead of me, but I am glad that I could play today. I was listening to our fans the whole time and I was singing the song "Košičania" to myself during the third period."
Jiří Šolc (assistant coach): "To achieve victory at Slovan stadium, that's something of value, whether it's gaining two or three points. We are glad we won those two points. I did not see many negative things in our game, and neither I would want to comment on it. Regarding the positives, it was a great team work supported by a high wuality performance of our goalie. I think it was a great game on our part. I wouldn't say it was mentally demanding. I think that all players enjoy it if they can play with such a fan club against such a team as Slovan Bratislava. I am telling you, it was a hockey holiday. Andrej always performs very well and maintains an incredibly high stability. Today, all players gave 100 % and did everything so that they could get the points, so we are all happy and satisfied."
There will be an opportunity to support our players again at home. On Tuesday, October 22, we will face Nove Zamky in the Steel Arena. The match starts at 5:30 PM!
HC KE Media Team (bob)