HC Košice
38. kolo
3 : 2 sn
(1:0, 0:0, 1:2 — 0:0)
HK Nitra

HC Košice — HK Nitra 3:2 sn (1:0, 0:0, 1:2 — 0:0)

Goals and assistance: 9. Klhůfek (Květoň), 57. Rapáč (Repe) – 43. Kerbashian (Versteeg, Horn), 47. Kollár (Pupák, Versteeg) — Kollár (Pupák, Versteeg) — decisive separate raid: Skokan (KOS)

Penalized players: 2:3 for two minutes, power plays: 0:1 penalty kill: 0:0, Referees: Baluška, Štefik — Ordzovenský, Smrek, 5214 spectators

HC Košice: Košarišťan (Škorvánek) — Růžička, Slovák, Koch (A), Pavlin, Repe, Čížek (A) — Belluš, Skokan (C), Majdan — Klhůfek, Chovan, Květoň — Suja, Bortňák, Rapáč — Jokeľ, Vrábeľ, Milý

HC Nitra: Šimboch (Hanuljak) — Mezei (C), Morrison, Pupák (A), Versteeg, Rácz, Kubka, Sloboda, Korím — Blackwater, Kerbashian, Yellow Horn — Fominych, Kollár, Scheidl — Buček (A), Lušňák, Koyš — Hrušík, Minárik, Csányi

As expected, the first period of the match between Košice and Nitra was in the spirit of active hockey that brought several great chances — and also one goal opportunity. All of it was started by Belluš in the half of the fourth minute. He held his head high at the blue line and his nice cross shot met Skokan in front of the net. However, Šimboch moved perfectly and he managed to cover the opponent’s end-play. We had to wait for the real chance until the ninth minute, and this one was the goal minute. Pavel Klhůfek penetrated the zone, improved his shooting position, switched the puck to a forehand a did not give Šimboch the least chance of a successful shot with an unmistakable swing. This goal brought with itself many possibilities on either side. We can mention for example Morrison's shot from the half of the 11th minute; Košarišťan only managed to kick the puck back to the game. While Nitra had in front of the net several players ready to shoot, we were helped by dense space in which nobody tamed the puck in an ideal way. From that moment until the break, we only watched serious chances before Šimboch. First, in the16th minute, Repe shot twice very hard. Nitra goalkeeper knocked out his first shot, the defensive of our opponent have coped with the second one. Also, Klhůfek did not succeed for the second time in the last minute when Pupák inserted from between the circles the blade in his ideal end-play at the last minute. Rapáč started it all with his nice blind pass. And since no more happened before the first siren, HC Nitra was losing after 20 minutes on the ice of Košice. 

Also, the middle period brought interesting moments to the visitors, although in fact it offered a diametrically different style of hockey compared to the opening period. Both teams rather focused on careful defensive action this time and, as a result, we watched minimal clear chances. Scheidl had the biggest chance in the second period. The puck fell behind Růžička and the Canadian wing forward in Nitra jersey wanted to take advantage of it and equalize the score to 1:1. But he missed this one hundred percent opportunity and sent the puck over Košarišťan's net. The game on the ice calmed down in the following minutes. Although both Koyš and Repe shot well, neither of them had a sufficiently good position to please their team with a goal. And then came inaccuracies and tactical defense of the blue line. The necessary impulse did not come, even in the form of numerous advantages, it was still an extremely clean game. Morrison was the only one excluded player in the second part of the match, however the Steelers failed to take advantage of his two-minute penalty for “holding”. So, after 10 minutes the situation from the end of the first period continued — 1:0 for Steelers. 

It meant only one thing - both teams entered the third period of the match knowing that everything was still open. While Košice wanted to score also a second goal to calm down, Nitra was ready to do their best to score and equalize the match. Anyway, the pillars of both teams were defensive. The goal nevertheless came — Nitra shot the goal when Kerbashian equalized to 1:1 during the 43rd minute.  In addition, HC Nitra succeeded for the second time, Kollár scored to 1:2 in the half of the 47th minute during the power play. Nitra led for the first time in the match, so it was the turn of Košice home team to hit. The ideal opportunity to equalize came in the 51st minute. A good shot flew from the blue line, but Šimboch pushed the puck down when falling. Then Nitra had the good fortune when the Steelers had several great chances but mostly missed the net closely. Nitra team then managed to keep the puck away from the net of Šimboch, but it did not discourage Košice players. And it turned out to be decisive, at the end of the 57th minute Rapáč equalized with a nice shot. So, the match went into overtime. 

In the overtime we witnessed clear chances on one side or the other, so the separate raids had to decide on the winner. The home team was more successful, Skokan and Chovan scored. Košarišťan remained unbeaten. The victorious accurate goal was ascribed to Skokan. 

Peter Draisaitl, Coach of Košice: We played the game very well on the defensive side. The opponent has good forwards, but we did not let them get the real chances. We did not panic even at 1:2. We also got an extra point and I think that rightly so. The raids were mainly about goalies and shooting luck. However, we know that we still have room for improvement.”

Marián Bažány, Coach of Nitra: “Košice team played aggressive game, thanks to which they surpassed us during the first two periods. We escalated our performance in the third period, but then came the mistake as with Slovan and conceded the goal after bully. But overall, I am satisfied with the approach of the players to the match.”