The Graz 99ers celebrated a highly deserved 3-0 victory over Vienna Capitals on Friday evening in the top match of the Erste Bank Ice Hockey League (EBEL). For the guests from Vienna, who had all won their first twelve EBEL games, it was already the fourth defeat en suite. Thus the “Caps” lie only one counter before the Grazern, who also won in the seventh home game.
Austria’s champion Red Bull Salzburg lost the 16th round parallel match in Klagenfurt by a narrow margin, but deserved 1:2. This was the last five victories of the success series of the “bulls”, the KAC scored for the seventh time en suite (five victories). After the 1:5 debacle in Zagreb, VSV is the only EBEL-team without an away point.
In Graz, 4,088 spectators in the almost sold-out ice stadium created a great atmosphere. The 99ers dominated the game from the start, but Caps goalie Jean Philippe Lamoureux was unbeatable for almost 27 minutes. But then he had to fish the disc out of the net twice within 123 seconds. Colton Jaret Yellow Horn (27.) and Curtis Hamilton (29./PP) provided the overdue 2-0 lead. And Yellow Horn increased just four minutes later to 3:0, with which the game was decided. For the first time since 17 November of the previous year, the caps remained without a goal.
In Klagenfurt, 4,051 fans experienced a fast-paced game in which the hosts clearly set the tone, but left out many opportunities or failed because of the strong goalie Stephen Michalek. Salzburg was much more efficient because Peter Hochkofler used the first top chance (14th). Thomas Koch (25th) scored in the middle third the deserved 1:1. And when it already smelled after overtime in the Stadthalle, defender Adam Comrie hit 156 seconds before the final siren to the celebrated 2:1 victory for the KAC (58th).
In Zagreb, the Villach team were hopeful 1:2 after Jamie Fraser (15th) scored the second goal. But at the latest after the host’s 4:1 in the 30th minute, the eleventh VSV loss of the season and seventh en suite was sealed. The “Adler” from Carinthia once again made life difficult for themselves with too many penalties, with a total of 17 penalty minutes they kept their average of almost one third in the “cool box”. The Croatian hosts scored their first two goals in the majority.