The premiere is being celebrated today at the Intercable Arena: for the first time, newcomer ICE and longtime Serie A rival Migross Asiago Hockey are guests at the new Bruneck Hockey Arena. The Yellow-Reds have won four of their last six games in ICE; After four consecutive defeats, HC Pustertal managed a small liberation against Pioneers Vorarlberg on Saturday, and Wolves naturally want to continue this upward trend. The black and yellow have made some changes to the squad, and today Johan Harjo, the returning Finnish player and fan favorite, will play his first game for the Wolves of the season. Newcomer Nick Plastino makes his debut tonight.
Wolves are highly motivated and put the first scent mark in the second minute: Marc-Olivier Roy was left alone by the Asiago defence, sent late into the high hole and giving Justin Fazio no chance in the opposition goal, 1-0 in favor of the home side. Soon enough, the Pusterer cracks have to survive the first match with a man down, which they also manage to do with ease. Shortly thereafter, Evan DeLuca forgives the counterattack from a promising position. “Stellati” now begins a real attack, and after several unsuccessful attempts, the guests manage to equalize 1: 1 with Troy Rutkowski after 8 minutes of play. Midway through the first half of the match, Johan Harjo found himself alone in front of Fazio, but his shot was misplaced and easily nullified by the Italian-Canadian goalkeeper. As a result, HC Pustertal finds it difficult to dominate the opposing team. Only in the fifteenth minute of the match Ivan DeLuca made his way to the goal, but could not put the puck into Vicentine’s chest. In turn, the men from Veneto can overcome the advancing defense of HCP with a quick counterattack and in 2-on-0 give Bruneck’s goalkeeper the advantage, and so it suddenly becomes 1: 2 for the guests. With this provisional score, we move on to the first half.
Once again – as so often this season – HC Pustertal has to run after the deficit. In the 27th minute, Wolves just missed the equalizer several times by running a hair’s width; Spencer, Hannon, and DeLuca all fail promising positions. The game now accelerates, with a quick back and forth progression creating many chances for both sides, including McShane going it alone (who finds no one in front of goal). On the other hand, Deluca fails with a straightforward acceptance of Hannon’s cross. Towards the end of the third period, emotions run high when Saraceno finishes off after a fumble, and several players get in trouble. The referee’s team sends Dante Hannon and Mark Simpson into the penalty area, and it’s a 4 vs 4 play. Archambault and Bardaro use the space in a quick counter-attack a few seconds before the siren goes off, the latter letting Asiago goalkeeper Fazio out and pushing the hard rubber puck to make the score 2- 2. But since Fazio moved the goal with his skate at the moment of the shot on goal, the referees – as in the first leg against Asiago – decided to use their discretion and disallow the goal.
Wolves don’t give up: With what may have been the most beautiful goal of the evening, Dante Hanoune scored a late equalizer with a backhand kick at Kreuzeck – the game is open again. When Archambault allowed himself to be pulled away by the wrong reflex and entered the cold box for two minutes, things got dicey again for the coyotes. The guests fired from all positions and barrels, but to no avail; Outnumbered, Black and Yellow thus escape unharmed. With eight minutes remaining, Harjo had a chance to open the scoring with a lone lead, but his shot fell to Fazio’s footpads. The match heats up, and after Gregorio Gios takes an undue effort, the Wolves play the first power play of the evening. But the black and yellow approach is very complex, despite the many good chances that they will not be able to use the numerical superiority. With a minute and a half to go, Deluca had an opportunity to watch, stand alone, and shoot Fazio in the helmet. But when the siren sounds, the scoreboard still shows 2: 2, so both teams go into overtime.
In extra time, Wolves missed many good chances with Harjo standing out and Dante Hanoune, among others. After the disk is lost, “Stellati” can counter; First, Luke Moncada puts the puck up the post, and Rutkowski only needs a little more dusting. And so the second point goes to the high plateau of the Zimberne, and the HCP again misses the opportunity to leave behind the bottom of the stream.
On Friday 02.12.2019 HCP cracks start the journey to Ljubljana before record champions Red Bull Salzburg make a guest appearance at Brunico on St. Nicholas Day.
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