Connor Ford and the HCB fought against bankruptcy - completely in vain. © GEPA/Karpaviciute

Silence instead of cheering: Bolzano has to go into the showdown

Everything was set for the big semi-final party: almost 7000 fans whipped their favorites like gladiators into the Bolzano Arena, but they were badly taken on the horns by the Salzburg bulls. Now it's the seventh, the very last duel.

From the Sparkasse Arena in Bolzano

Alexander Foppa

HCB Südtirol Alperia missed out on getting their ticket to the final early on Saturday in front of their home crowd. The Foxes lost 1-4 to Red Bull Salzburg in the completely sold-out Sparkasse Arena. Now last year's two finalists will determine their Klagenfurt opponents in the final duel for the Karl Nedwed Trophy next Tuesday in Salzburg's Volksgarten.

One thing in advance: It was not the Easter present that HC Bozen and 6.856 spectators had expected. Everyone – both players and fans – left the ice arena in the south of the state capital with their heads bowed. The good thing afterwards: It's just a misstep on Bolzano's path to its desired third championship title. The starting position remains the same, as the Foxes are still missing a win to advance to the final round.

However, it is now up to coach Glen Hanlon to get his protégés upright again and better prepared for the opponent than was the case on Easter Saturday. Because while Bolzano was underway, Salzburg only needed a few, but very precisely placed, pinpricks to spoil the party for the foxes and their supporters. The South Tyroleans' biggest drawback this evening: the power play. They were allowed to try it five times with one man or even two more men on the ice, but not once did the black rubber fidget in the net.

The highlights

Cops without mercyBozen's backline lacks coordination for a moment and Salzburg strikes with the first chance: the free-standing Benjamin Nissner stays cool in front of the HCB goal and makes it 1-0 (5th).
Gazley fumbles and scoresDustin Gazley is Bolzano's leading man. First he misses the empty goal and hits the puck on the post (12th), but right after the first break he scores to make it 1-1 (21st). He hesitates for a long time, but then elegantly flicks the puck into the net.
That is bitter!Salzburg struck for the second time in the strongest phase of the HCB and made it 1:2 with Florian Baltram (27th). But that's not all: At the beginning of the final third, Peter Schneider aims through friend and foe into the net in a power play – 1:3 (43.)
Harvey causes cheersIf not the strikers, then at least the goalkeeper: While the Bolzano offensive hardly produced anything countable in the final third, Sam Harvey provided a shining moment. He stands alone in the way of Peter Schneider and Benjamin Nissner and stops them with an incredible catch hand save.
Tired foxesThe Harvey scene caused the only celebration in the final third, as there was hardly anything left from the exhausted hosts in the final minutes. Instead, Thomas Raffl makes the decision. First he fails at the post, then he hits the empty goal to make it 4-1 (60th).

Now it's time for Bolzano: wipe your mouth and carry on! On Tuesday everything starts from scratch one last time. SportNews will accompany the showdown for the semi-finals with a live ticker from Salzburg from 19.30 p.m.

HCB Südtirol Alperia – EC Red Bull Salzburg 1-4

HSBC: Harvey (Vallini); DiPerna-Vandane, Söderberg-Parlett, Teves-Pietroniro; Halmo-Ford-Gazley, Frank-McClure-Thomas, Frigo-Mantenuto-Miceli, DiGiacinto-Alberga-Felicetti, Brunner
Coach: Glen Hanlon

RBS: Tolvanen (Kickert); Robertson-Murphy, Genoway-Lewington, Stapelfeldt-Schilling, Sinn; Raffl-Nissner-Schneider, Paul Huber-Wukovits-Hochkofler, Meyer-Rymsha-Mario Huber, Bourke-Baltram-Thaler, Auer
Coach: Oliver David

Gates: 0:1 Benjamin Nissner (4.08), 1:1 Dustin Gazley (20.46), 1:2 Florian Baltram (26.08), 1:3 Peter Schneider (42.25), 1:4 Thomas Raffl (59.30)

Viewers: 6.856

Best of 7 series: 3:3

2nd semi-final series: Klagenfurt – Pustertal 4:0

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