Eppan and Kaltern would face each other in the final if the hurdles are overcome by then.

Two rivals, one goal: Kaltern and Eppan start the playoffs

Turn four into two: Of the South Tyrolean clubs, only Kaltern and Eppan are still in action in the IHL, Brixen and Toblach are out of the running. Immediately before the start of the playoffs, we asked around about the two arch-rivals from Überetsch.

Alexander Foppa

Last year's finalist Kaltern starts the quarter-finals against Fiemme on Saturday (20 p.m.) in the local Raiffeisen Arena. The Hechte had a season with ups and downs and finished the intermediate round in third place. But now there is huge anticipation in the wine village.

“Fiemme is an attractive opponent who brings a lot of fans with him. We expect a great backdrop – also because it will be a special evening for our club,” says Alex Kofler enthusiastic. The president alludes to the honoring of Kalter ice hockey greats Michael Felderer, Patrick Gius and Daniel Morandell. They ended their careers before the season and will be officially farewelled on Saturday before the game.

“In recent years it has almost become normal in Kaltern to be in the final. However, that’s not enough.” KSV President Alex Kofler

The KSV lost the cup final in January and the dramatic final series against Varese last year. You are literally burning for compensation. “In recent years it has almost become normal in Kaltern to be in the final. However, that is not enough. Coach Kai Suikkanen has honed our winning mentality again. We hope that it will carry us through the playoffs,” says Kofler before the first duel with the regional rivals from Fiemme Valley.

Fiemme and Alleghe are the opponents

Should Kaltern win the best-of-five series, cup opponents and intermediate round winner Pergine would probably be waiting in the semi-finals. HC Eppan, on the other hand, would face champions Varese or newcomer Feltre. Before that, however, the Pirates have to get rid of an extremely unpleasant opponent in Alleghe. Eppan's sports director Martin Rottensteiner describes the task as follows: “There is a special atmosphere in Alleghe, and our opponents are also very experienced. This will be really exciting. In the end, the special teams could decide.”
“We want to do better than last year. We’ll stick with it.” HCE sports director Martin Rottensteiner

The HCE finished the Master Round in last place, but won the playoff dress rehearsal on the weekend against Alleghe 4-2. That gives you a boost. “We set ourselves a goal at the start of the season: We want to do better than last year (Semi-finals, editor’s note). We'll stick with it. However, we have a very young team that now has to prove itself in the playoffs,” said Rottensteiner. If Eppan overcomes the Alleghe hurdle, he expects a lot: “Then Varese would probably wait. Something would certainly be possible, because we have always delivered against the champions this year.” First of all, the focus will be on the first quarter-final game. This will take place on Sunday (18.45 p.m.) in the Alvise De Toni Stadium in Alleghe.

The IHL playoffs at a glance

The quarterfinal pairings (best of 5):
Eppan – Alleghe
Kaltern – Fiemme

Game dates: March 2nd, 5th and 7th, possibly March 9th and 12th

The semi-final pairings (best of 5):
Eppan/Alleghe – Varese/Feltre
Kaltern/Fiemme – Pergine/Como

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