3.1 C
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Storm on Graz: Can the Black Wings still turn the corner?

Must read

- Advertisement -
The Black Wings are under pressure: Michael Haga (left) in a duel with Daniel Oberkofler
Image: Photo: BWL/Reinhard Eisenbauer
- Advertisement -

Should the Steinbach Black Wings triumph in Graz on Friday (7.30 p.m., live ticker on nachrichten.at), then the cashier will be happy too. Because that would mean that the people of Linz would still be able to enjoy an ice hockey season home game. The decisive match for entry into the play-off quarter-finals would take place on Sunday at 5.30 p.m. But we’re not that far yet.

The EHC braces itself against the early knockout with hands and feet. The omens are not the best, the 99ers made the break in the short best-of-3 series and with a 4-2 win at the Untere Donaulände submitted. Which means that Linz is practically faced with a so-called “do or die” situation.

- Advertisement -

If it goes wrong tomorrow, the championship would be over for the third time in a row before the hottest time of the year. The Black Wings already missed the quarterfinals in 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Now it needs a turnaround – and quickly. The leading players in particular are challenged, some like Graham Knott (only two goals in the last ten league games) and Michael Haga (two in eight) have the ‘Hex’ stuck to their rackets. Not only the two are required to deliver when it matters.

It is five to twelve. Linz can’t take any more playful breaks, it has to be a full-throttle event – over 60 minutes or more. If there is a tie after regulation time, the match is extended until a goal is scored.

The people of Graz, who won seven of their last nine home games in the “Bunker” (that’s the nickname for the Merkur ice stadium), are brimming with self-confidence.

However, one thing is clear: there can be no talk of an over-the-top team here. Actually, the Black Wings should have the appropriate quality to jump this hurdle.

They have already proven that they can win in Styria this season. That was on November 6, 2022. At that time, the EHC had the upper hand 4: 2 after being 2-0 down and goals from Stefan Gaffal, Jakob Mitsch, captain Brian Lebler and Emilio Romig. On Tuesday, the 99ers turned the tables and won 4-2 after a 2-0 loss.

Philipp Lukas: “We paid dearly”

“It was quite a disappointment. The first game cost us a few minutes, these breakdowns must be avoided,” said Black Wings coach Philipp Lukas: “We paid dearly for all our mistakes. We have worked things through and know where we need to improve.”

The 43-year-old emphasized that “the thoughts must be in the now”. “We must not look too much into the past. It’s a huge challenge,” said the Viennese: “These are the matches for which you play ice hockey. You want to be on the ice there.”

Rasmus Tirronen will most likely be in goal tomorrow. The Finn has recovered from a minor illness. There shouldn’t be a lack of necessary tailwind from the ranks. The Black Wings go all-in, they storm Graz. Two fan buses are on their way to the Styrian capital, the club board will cover the cost of travel and tickets. A fine gesture. Now only the sporting success is missing.

more from Black Wings

This is the Black Wings pre-playoff opponent

#10: Public relations is part of it

The Black Wings took the butter off their bread

A fine line in the fifth season

: Nachrichten

- Advertisement -

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest article