BRATISLAVA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Slovan Bratislava took the leading position in Tipsport Liga after both the leader Kosice and second-ranked Banska Bystrica stumbled in the 41st round of Slovakia’s premier ice hockey league.
Kosice’s defeat came surprisingly by the hands of the visiting Liptovsky Mikulas, the long-term underachiever which managed to snap its six-game losing streak in the process.
After two consecutive defeats, Kosice was forced to surrender the top spot in the Tipsport Liga rankings. Tuesday’s substantial 1-6 loss to Bratislava was eclipsed on Friday by a meager 1-2 defeat by the hands of the weakest team of the league Liptovsky Mikulas which has been occupying the bottom-spot of the rankings for almost the entire season.
Kosice managed to answer the visitor’ opening goal but failed to repeat this feat, resulting in the biggest surprise of the season so far. Not so long ago, Liptovsky Mikulas’ both scorers Filip Vrabel and Vladimir Vybiral were playing for Kosice.
The last season’s champion Banska Bystrica managed to keep hold of the second spot in the standings despite losing to Michalovce 3-2 in OT.
This season’s newcomer did not go empty-handed in any of the three clashes against HC ‘05 in this season and once again started off well, leading early in the second period 2-0.
The visitors from Banska Bystrica succeeded in tying the game in the final stretch and forced overtime. Still, Michalovce did not lay down its weapons and took the lead one final time when the Finnish defenceman Mikko Pukka scored the game-winner two minutes in.
The fall of the leader and also the reigning champion played right into the hands of Slovan Bratislava which capitalized on the generous offer and leaped from the third spot to the top.
Tenth-ranked Detva proved a tough nut to crack but the team from Slovakia’s capital did not let this vital chance slip and triumphed 4-3.
Both teams took turns in taking the lead multiple times with Bratislava ending on top after the final siren. Detva’s 24-year-old forward Jakub Zilka scored twice for the visitors, his teammate Frederik Fekiac assisted on all three goals.
An identical result produced the attractive clash between fourth Poprad and sixth Zvolen. Poprad’s two goals were promptly answered by two from the side of the visiting team.
The “chamois”, as the home team’s players are called after the goat-like animal featured in their logo, built another two-goal lead in the last stretch which Zvolen failed to cut this time although Rastislav Spirko sparked hope with two minutes left, scoring on a powerplay when his team pulled the goalie.
LINK ORIGINAL: Xinhuanet