HISTORY IN THE MAKING
The newly founded European University Hockey League has just started its first season with the first game on the schedule. The home team of UTB Zlín has met The CityU Trenčín Gladiators. The fact that it was the first game in the history of this league was quite visible in the atmosphere on the stadium. The Gladiators of Trenčín have demonstrated a decisive play and dominated on top of the Czech team with a score 8:5. The premier game of the season was attended by the managment of the league. The faceoff was thrown by L. Sekeráš and P. Velev, the head of the Tomáš Baťa Association. Before the game, both national anthems were singed by Simona Mázová from the National Theatre. During the break the there was a competition with some nice prices to win. Several media channels were also present on the game.
LIKE A GAME IN THE PLAYOFFS
Since the beginning the game was significant with a lot of penalties. In the 2nd minute, after a holding call against Borbély of the Gladiators, the home team played a power-play. The home team played the power-play a bit over a minute when they recieved a penalty of their own. The game with four players on each side provided more space for each team and freed up the offence. Both teams were playing uptempo, aggressive hockey and tried to score. In the midway through the sixth minute, the Czech team got a chance for another power-play. The fierce playing team from Trenčín kept the home team at bay with active defence and managed to keep the Czechs away from their net. “It was our first game, and already a matchup of great importance. We tried to execute plays as we rehearsed them.” explains the Gladiators forward L. Macoun. “Every player tried to keep to the offensive playbook, every one of us played our hearts out and worked hard since the beginning face off to the final buzzer.” The home team had much support from the fans and they were very happy to see them score the opening goal of the game by T. Martyčák. It was in fact the first goal of the league as well. The CityU Gladiators tried to tie up the score immediately, however missing the net. They managed to draw a penalty afterward, still missing the chance to score. Next it was the home team on the power-play again and the Gladiators, staying true to their name, did not even let the Czechs close to their net. At the end of the 17th minute Zemko managed to get into a fast break, drawing the foul and being awarded a foul shot by the referee. The captain of the visiting team made the home goalie pay for lack of attention and managed to send the puck inside the net, evening the score to 1:1. The first period was more in favour of the home team, who despite the failed power-plays still managed to keep the offence on their side more.
The second period started as both teams tried to get into lead. It was the home team achieving this after all. Šudoma hit the net with an extremely accurate shot from the blue line, adjusting the score to 2:1. “We had a lot of penalties on our side. That was a lot of time we had to play shorthanded. I think it was six times we played 5 on 3 and we only got scored on once. That is an amazing feat and I have to say that it was excellent defence on our side.” said the captain of the Gladiators, Juraj Zemko. After five minutes the Gladiators managed to even the score again with a nice shot by Uhlík who hit the net. The goalie of the home team went to the bench after this goal and it was R. Kučera who received some playing time. The Czechs managed to draw many fouls, therefore having a lot of power-play chances. The Gladiators defended their net very effectively and after some time managed to get Zemko in a break and it was Trenčín on the lead for the first time in the game. The Czechs worked hard to catch up, however the fierce defence of the Gladiators was too much to overcome. Failing to score on another power-play, the Gladiators made them pay and after the power-play was over, they immediately scored increasing the deficit to two goals with a beautiful shot by Matejides. In the second period, the Gladiators showed plenty of skills as they began to run away, scoring three goals.
The final period continued in the same tempo as the previous ones. The penalties were plentiful and in addition to the fouls, there were some hard hits and disputes as well. The goalie of the Gladiators was the one who kept his team in the lead as he did not let a shot behind his back even during a 5 on 3 play. On the other hand, the Gladiator’s offence was much more effective. In the 48th minute it was Pospíšil who went to the bench and it took only sixteen seconds for the opposing team to score. The score now was 2:5 and slowly it was getting out of hand. The University of Zlín team did not give up even when down by three goals. Midway through the final period they managed to cut down the deficit when Martyčák scored his second goal in the game. The Czechs did not celebrate for long as the answer came straight forward in less than three minutes. Macoun after a nice assist by Kuffa increased the lead to three goals again. A few minutes before the buzzer the Czechs called their goalie off, trying their luck. Two minutes before the end the game was already decided and the luckier Gladiators scored one more goal in the empty net, adjusting the score to 8:4. The buzzer only brought relief to the suffering Czech team as they failed to win in their home arena, making the Gladiators the first team to win in the EUHL.
UTB Zlín: Kučera (32. Dočkal) – Zbránek, Kašpar, Hořelka, Strojil, Měšťánek, Šudoma – Čech, Holík, Křemeček, Nesrsta, Pospíšil, Šimon, Martyčák, Vondruška, Galuška, Razenkov, Sedláček
CityU Trenčín: Zubo (31. Adam) – Okuliar, Hrebeňár P., Zemko, Kuffa, Macoun, Matejides, Koláček, Valach, Chmara, Ťažký, Jurenka, Borbély, Ďuriš, Uhlík, Šulík, Bubela, Sušanin, Bernát, Hulman, Hrebeňár M.