The people of Bolzano around Dylan Di Perna (l.) with hanging heads, while the cops are cheering. © GEPA

Heroic people from Bolzano on the ground: Salzburg is in the final

In an ice hockey thriller, a real battle of nerves, HCB Südtirol Alperia lost the all-important seventh final game in Salzburg. One player caused a very painful déjà vu.

From the Salzburg Volksgarten

Alexander Foppa

Of all people, Nicolai Meyer. Of all people, he was the one who brutally shattered Bozen's title dream a year ago and made Salzburg champions. This man, of all people, shot the Bulls to a 3-2 victory against HCB on Tuesday evening in extra time of the seventh semi-final game. Salzburg moves into the final and the season is over for the Foxes.

This is the fourth time that Bozen and Salzburg have met in the playoffs in the last ten years, with the series always coming down to the very last game. And there was always at least one overtime victory in the duel. This was still missing from this year's meeting - until this evening in the Salzburg Volksgarten. In this additional time, the better, more hardened team, Salzburg, ultimately prevailed.

This means that a heroic performance by the South Tyroleans went unrewarded. They could be defense chiefs Scott Valentine were back in the lineup, but lost in the second period Mike Halmo. The Canadian flew off the ice after a wild attack on an opponent. But then suddenly there was a different Bozen on the ice: the Foxes fought until they dropped, squeezed every last drop of sweat out of their pores - and even took the lead in the final phase. But then Salzburg came back again and initiated the Meyer déjà vu.

The key moments

Salzburg's lead is deservedBozen's Scott Valentine loses the puck on the boards, which comes to Lucas Thaler and sails over the shoulder of goalie Sam Harvey (20th). It is the well-deserved Salzburg break tour.
Halmo goes crazyWhat is Mike Halmo doing please? The second third was only a few seconds old when Bozen's most important offensive man, Chay Genoway, fell to the ground with a check in the back. He remains lying there bleeding, but can continue later. Halmo has to go down with a match penalty (21st).
DiGiacinto quite curiousBozen hardly creates any real chances - until Dylan Di Perna hammers the puck against the boards. From there she jumps right in front of the goal and the wide-awake Cristiano DiGiacinto slides in to make it 1-1 (34th).
Frigo scores, Bourke too“Mister Playoff” Luca Frigo puts the guests in the lead for the first time. He coldly completes a counterattack via Angelo Miceli and Daniel Mantenuto (52'). The celebration of Frigo's fourth goal in the playoffs hasn't died down yet as Troy Bourke equalizes. The puck bounces off the Salzburg player's skate and into the goal (54').
That Meyer againIn the second minute of extra time, the Bulls break the Foxes' necks - and again it is Nicolai Meyer who causes the Bolzano team's sudden death. The 2023 top scorer hammers the puck into the net to make it 3-2 (62'). What was particularly bitter for Bozen was that the winning goal was preceded by icing that was not whistled.

This ends a season with many ups and downs for Bozen, and another rousing, passionate post-season. Salzburg, on the other hand, follows the regular season winner and Pustertal conqueror Klagenfurt into the final. This begins on Friday in the Carinthian state capital. By then the Bolzano ice hockey cracks will have already started their vacation.

EC Red Bull Salzburg – HCB Südtirol Alperia 3:2 aet

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

HSBC: Harvey (Vallini); Valentine-Vandane, Teves-Di Perna, Parlett-Pietroniro; Halmo-Ford-Gazley, Frank-McClure-Thomas, Frigo-Mantenuto-Miceli, DiGiacinto-Alberga-Felicetti, Brunner.

Gates: 1:0 Lucas Thaler (19.46), 1:1 Cristiano DiGiacinto (33.43), 1:2 Luca Frigo (51.42), 2:2 Troy Bourke (53.05), 3:2 Nicolai Meyer (61.58)

Viewers: 3.400 (sold out)

Final standings in the best-of-7 series: 4:3

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

The final: Klagenfurt – Salzburg (from April 5th)

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