h AlpsHL

Ethan Szypula (left) and Bryson Cianfrone (right) in a duel. © Max Pattis

Ritten falters: The Broncos storm the high plateau

This semi-final delivers. The Wipptal Broncos won again in Klobenstein against the Rittner Buam and thus caused the favorites to falter.

With the victory on Thursday (4:2), the Bronocs equalized the semi-final series against the Buam and equalized 1:1. On Saturday evening the task became a little more difficult for the slightly favored Rittner, as the Wipptal team went one better in a very attractive game and defeated the Buam again 4-2 in their own stadium. The wild horses are now 7-2 up in the best-of-1 series and people in Klobenstein are frowning.

Both teams always had all four lines rolling consistently across the ice, which is an important factor in keeping the quality high after the strains of this long season and especially in the third game of a semi-final series. Nevertheless, it was the top stars, especially on the Rittner Buam side, who repeatedly caused the opponent to falter. Max Coatta and Ethan Szypula led their respective forward lines with their usual creativity and enthusiasm. The 4-1 was also a result of Coatta's fighting spirit, who turned the puck out of the corner after a few seconds and passed it on to Simon Kostner via Kevin Fink, who didn't hesitate for long and flicked the puck over Jakob Rabanser to make it 0-1 for Buam ( 0).

Ritten captain Simon Kostner (middle) scored the 1-0. © Max Pattis

But the Broncos also presented themselves in top form on the Rittner plateau and seamlessly continued their good performance on Thursday. Despite Buam's quick goal, the Wipptal team fought with all their strength against the best team of the regular season and were rewarded with a wonderful equalizer to make it 1-1 seconds before the first third break. Wonderful, as Derek Topatigh first left a Buam defender standing, then made a journey behind the opponent's goal and precisely fed Bryson Cianfrone, who pushed the disc into the goal amid a herd of opposing defenders.

Ritten’s “problem third”

The second third was balanced – on the scoreboard and on the ice – where the Wipptalers increased their speed once again and consistently posed problems for the hosts. Suddenly the game shifted more towards Colin Furlong's box, who then had to reach behind himself again in the 25th minute after Connor Sanvido made it 2-1 for the Broncos with a powerful slap shot. The Buam seemed a bit hesitant in the duels and gave the Wipptalers a little too much space and time, which they took advantage of confidently to take control of the game. Even with a 5-on-3 shortly before the end of the second third, the Rittners were unable to wipe out the deficit.

Wipptal and Ritten showed great ice hockey on Saturday. © Max Pattis

Coach Tray Tuomie seemed to have found the right words in the dressing room after this weak second third, because the Buam came back stronger in the final third and were rewarded for their committed style of play with the 2-2 equalizer by Eric Hjorth, whose wrist was on Kevin Fink passed, completely obscuring Rabanser's view and finding his way into the net (50.24). And the Broncos? They waited for their chance, which was then handed to them on a silver platter after a disastrous bad pass in the Rittner third. Sanvido didn't have to be asked twice, put together his double pack and put his Wild Horses back in the lead 3-2 (54.43).

The Buam were just about the better team at this point, but were unable to equalize in the last five minutes. Davide Conci set the final point with his 4:2 (58.20) and the Rittner are now trailing their derby opponents 7:1 in the best-of-2 series.

AlpsHL semifinals, game 3

Rittner Buam – Wipptal Broncos 2:4
Goals: 1:0 Kostner (0.45), 1:1 Cianfrone (19.51), 1:2 Sanvido (25.51), 2:2 Hjorth (50.24), 2:3 Sanvido (54.43), 2:4 Conci (58.20)
Audience: 1183
Best of 7 series: 1:2

SG Cortina – Red Bull Salzburg Juniors 2:3
Goals: 0:1 Zelenov (0.53), 0:2 Steffler (11.56) 1:2 Cuglietta (18.45), 1:3 Ramoser (31.36), 2:3 Zanatta (43.53)
Audience: 620

Best of 7 series: 1:2


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