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Black Wings complete for the first time in the 42nd match of the season

Black Wings complete for the first time in the 42nd match of the season
Striker Brodi Stuart (left) reports back against Bozen.

The timing couldn’t have been better. Just before the hottest phase of the regular season, in which the bitter fight for a top 6 placement – equivalent to a direct play-off quarter-final ticket – comes to a head, white smoke rises from the Steinbach Black Wings. In the 42nd ice hockey league match of this season at home against Bolzano (Friday, 7:15 p.m.), coach Philipp Lukas can draw on the full potential for the very first time. Shawn St-Amant, Brodi Stuart, Gerd Kragl and Matt MacKenzie are back after injuries.

“Everything will be required of our collective if we want to be successful. It’s important that the returnees quickly find their feet again. It’s very tight, little things can make a difference,” says Lukas, who has a heated duel with the “Füchse” today ” expected from South Tyrol. This is not only due to the table constellation, but also to the history. In the 2022/23 season, Bolzano only won a turbulent and physical quarter-final series in extra time in the all-important seventh game.

The Italian series champion arrives with four victories under his belt and, with six or seven rounds to go, has the best starting position among the five teams, separated by just six points, who are fighting for three top 6 places. The audience could become a key factor. The Black Wings still have four home matches on the agenda, including two against their immediate competitors Bozen and Villach.

The Upper Austrian fans are already getting a foretaste of the title race today. The “Karl Nedwed Trophy”, which the champion lifts, is displayed at the main entrance to the Linz AG ice arena. It goes without saying that the Wings, who will be visiting the Vienna Capitals on Sunday (5.30 p.m.) before the international break, are also hungry for trophies. There have been two championship titles in the club’s history to date, the last one being almost twelve years ago.

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