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A feat as the Black Wings stormed into the playoffs

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Captain Brian Lebler (left) put Linz on the road to victory.
Image: R. Eisenbauer
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The Steinbach Black Wings have shaken off their curse against the Graz 99ers and, after five defeats in a row against the Styrians in the Linz-AG-Eisarena, won what is probably the most important match. The 3:0 (0:0, 2:0, 1:0) home win brought the round of 16 series (final score 2:1) to an exciting conclusion.

While the ice hockey season is over for Graz, it is only just beginning for the EHC. Philipp Lukas’ team has deservedly made it into the play-offs for the first time since 2020. The best-of-7 quarter-final series starts on Tuesday (7.45 p.m., live ticker on nachrichten.at) with a guest appearance in the Palaonda at regular season winner HC Bolzano, who chose the Black Wings (voluntarily). Was that a good idea?

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“We will regenerate, prepare for it conscientiously and put everything we have into these matches,” assured captain Brian Lebler, who picked up where he left off on Friday with the 6-2 win in Graz.

This time, after exactly 24:46 minutes, the 34-year-old’s triple pack was followed by the extremely important 1-0 with a seamless shot into the left corner. The spell was broken and Linz was in the driver’s seat. The Upper Austrians managed to minimize the mistakes and put pressure on them.

The sovereign Finn Rasmus Tirronen, who was even credited with an assist, didn’t let anything burn in goal. That was in the spirit of Shawn St-Amant, who made it 2-0 with a remarkable individual performance in EHC’s first majority game (31st): “I used my speed. We worked hard and put pressure on the Graz defense. We knew we couldn’t leave them out.”

So that a self-fall like the 2: 4 after a 2: 0 lead on Tuesday would not happen. Said and done. Linz remained solid and increased to 3:0 (57th) through Lebler – goal number 24 of the season. “I’m proud of us,” said the striker.

After the final siren, the Linz fans said goodbye to Daniel Oberkofler and Kevin Moderer from Graz with applause. A fine gesture.

  • The live ticker to read

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: Nachrichten

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