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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A sensitive dampener for the Black Wings

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Julian Pusnik scored for the Black Wings.
Image: gepa

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That was not enough and was not to be expected in this form. The Steinbach Black Wings, who had won the first two duels of the season with the “Wolves” from the Pustertal, were lost in the third encounter. The Linz ice hockey cracks slid in front of 2810 spectators in a sobering 1:4 (0:1, 0:2, 1:1) home defeat against the table eleventh, who had previously lost three times en suite.

Now the fight for a place in the top six that will qualify directly for the play-off quarterfinals becomes a nail-biter. Because against the Italians three points had been planned (on the spur of the moment). The bottom line is now a “zero” because the Upper Austrians started modestly and were unable to capitalize on their dominance in the middle third. Pustertal was simply more callous in the offensive actions and after 40:41 minutes 4:0 ahead. Who would have thought?

The people of Linz, weakened by the flu virus and without Daine Todd, Raphael Wolf, Emilio Romig and Dennis Sticha, only let their loyal fans cheer after 41:38 minutes. But by then it felt too late. Julian Pusnik shortened to 1:4. Eight matches are still to be completed in the basic round, the situation around the ominous line is coming to a head. The Black Wings are still among the top six teams, but they can feel the breath of record champions KAC, who have two points fewer in seventh place.

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There is not much time for regeneration. Already on Tuesday (7.15 p.m., live ticker on nachrichten.at) Philipp Lukas’ protégés have to play at Olimpija Ljubljana, the penultimate of the ICE Hockey League. “Every match is difficult, there are no easy tasks,” says the EHC coach. The Slovenians lost their last eight championship matches. A change of coach did nothing to change the descent.

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: Nachrichten

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