This picture describes the game: Disintegration © HC Pustertal/I. Foppa

Wolves don't shine, but they win at the start

Almost 2000 fans made a pilgrimage to the Intercable Arena on Friday evening to watch the HC Pustertal season opener up close. The spectators didn't see any fireworks, but they did see an exciting game that ended with a narrow victory for the Wolves.

From Bruneck

Leo Holzknecht

Almost seven months passed between missing the playoffs and the start of the new championship. Seven months in which HC Pustertal carried out error analysis and completely repositioned itself. The result of this process sparked a new euphoria in the green valley. The only question was: Does this also transfer to the ice? After the first game of the season, one is inclined to say: Not yet - even though the Wolves won 3-1 against the Pioneers Vorarlberg.

Anyone who thought that the Austrians would make friendly guests that evening and treat the host with great respect was mistaken. Dylan Stanley's team impressed with fast skating, aggressive forechecking and uncompromising defense. The Wolves, who undoubtedly have the better individual players in their ranks, usually came a step too late - and so never developed. Not only were the Black and Yellows extremely sloppy in their build-up to the game, but little went smoothly in the power play either. The fact that it was still enough to win was due not least to the undisciplined behavior of the guests, who accumulated 39 penalty minutes.

The best Wolves player on the ice was undoubtedly goalkeeper Jacob Smith, who exuded great confidence and made several brilliant saves before the opening goal. In this form, the Italian-Canadian does not represent a question mark for the HCP, but rather an added value. There has to be a lot more to come from top performers such as Jason Akeson, Alex Petan and Rick Schofield - even if initial approaches were visible. One thing is certain: The Wolves have to play at HC Innsbruck on Sunday, who shot HC Bozen out of the hall 5-1 at the start, shift up several gears.

The highlights

20 minute scanHighlights are rare in the first third. The only commotion is caused by Kevin Macierzynski, who rightly has to take a shower after a bad check.
Smith savesAlthough the HCP is almost constantly in the majority, the Pioneers come closer to the first goal: Goalie Jacob Smith saves at the last second from an Owre solo effort caused by Matthias Mantinger.
Hannoun redeemedThe sixth power play of the evening makes it 1-0. After a Madlener rebound, the puck comes to Dante Hannoun, who calmly moves in front of the goal and hits the top corner.
Shock and euphoriaWithin 29 seconds, the Wolves fans experience a rollercoaster of emotions: First Oskar Maier scores in the power play after a cross pass into the empty goal, then David Morley, Jason Akeson and goal scorer Mikael Frycklund combine to make it 2-1.
Die EntscheidungThe big tremors are over when Alex Petan increases the score to 3-1 with an empty-net goal.

HC Pustertal – Pioneers Vorarlberg 3:1

HCP: Smith (Bernard); Stanton-Messner, Kasastul-Ege, Glira-Atwal, Althuber; Hannoun-Schofield-Petan, Akeson-Frycklund-Catenacci, Morley-Sill-Mantinger, Deluca-Andergassen-Öhler, Gschreiner.
Trainer: Valtonen

PIV: Madlener (Caffi); Pallestrang-Kirichenko, Vanttaja-Bull, Korecky-Summer, Wernicke; Spannring-Lacroix-Woger, Van Nes-Owre-Metzler, Maver-Pastujov-Maier, Macierzynski-Lebeda-Erne.
Trainer: Stanley

Gates: 1:0 Hannoun (31.26), 1:1 Maier (45.32), 2:1 Frycklund (46.01), 3:1 Petan (59.35)

Viewers: 1900

ICE Hockey League:

Olimpija Ljubljana – Black Wings Linz 2:3 aet
Goals: 0:1 Knott (23.43), 1:1 Cepon (34.07), 1:2 Feldner (46.51), 2:2 Mehle (50.10), 2:3 Lebler (60.35)
Audience: 1030

HC Innsbruck – HC Bozen 5:1
Goals: 1:0 Krogsgaard (1.47), 2:0 Peeters (32.42), 3:0 Halbert (39.18), 4:0 Peeters (51.18), 5:0 Albano (53.34), 5:1 Ford (58.22)

Red Bull Salzburg – EC KAC 4:1
Goals: 1:0 Harnisch (13.34), 2:0 Genoway (26.31), 3:0 Auer (32.42), 3:1 Bischofberger (56.25), 4:1 Raffl (57.20)
Audience: 2515

Asiago Hockey – AV Fehervar 0:3
Goals: 0:1 Hari (28.16), 0:2 Bartalis (52.38), 0:3 Hari (59.48)
Audience: 1200

Graz 99ers – Vienna Capitals 2:3
Goals: 1:0 Antonitsch (4.27), 1:1 Zusevics (5.56), 1:2 Cheek (27.44), 1:3 Cheek (45.11), 2:3 Schiechl (59.20)
Audience: 1999

The table
1. Innsbruck11005:13
2. Salzburg11004:13
3. Fehervar11003:03
4. HC Pustertal11003:13
5. Vienna Capitals11003:23
6. Linz11003:22
7. Olimpija Ljubljana10012:31
8. Villach00000:00
9. Graz99ers10012:30
10. Vorarlberg10011:30
11. Klagenfurt10011:40
12. Asiago Hockey10010:30
13. HCB South Tyrol10011:50


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