EST: Siim Liivik leads his team to a 1-0 lead in the semi-final

EBEL Play-Off 2018/19: #72 Siim Liivik, EC KAC (c) Andreas Urban/BalticsMedia

Estonia striker Siim Liivik’s goal in the 97. minute brings his team 1-0 lead in the semi-final series.

In the international league, EBEL, Siim Liivik and his team, the EC KAC, are in the semi-finals. In the quarterfinals, the team of last year’s champion, HC Bolzano, was eliminated with a score of 4-1. In the semifinals, the team from Liivik waiting for the Graz 99ers, who are in the semi-finals after a great season for the first time in history. In the season record, the KAC could only win one of six games. The statistics spoke for Graz.

However, Liivik’s team have regained their play-off strength and have been improving from game to game. From the start, the 99ers wanted to use their home advantage and the fans behind them and started very offensively. The Klagenfurt defensive held firm and even a quick powerplay of the Grazer could not lead to a goal. The KAC struggled to take offense, the Styrians remained decisive and sought their salvation on offense. However, the huge scoring chances remained in the starting third, but the shot goal statistics of 11-2 for the 99ers proved that the Klagenfurt rarely came into the enemy zone and therefore rarely to the conclusion.

The second section of the game also started anything but restrained. The KAC came through a penalty against Johansson to a power play, which brought good chances. With five shots in the power play brought more on the goal than in the entire first third, but also the red jackets managed not to score a goal. Towards the middle of the game, it was again the hosts who came to great opportunities, but Graz Goalie Haugen rescued several times, especially when a dangerous rebound flew in the direction of his box. As a result, Comrie and Loney got in each other’s way. Comrie received two more penalties than his runner-up Loney, but the Grazers were not able to exploit their notorious powerplay power.

Just like in the first 40 minutes, the fans also saw a fast game periodically in the last game, but they missed the big scoring chances. To disciplined in defensive action both teams, there was little space and opportunities for a goal resulted for the teams in the slot. The Graz were still game-defining, but the guests, who hardly came to dangerous actions, knew what their mission was and implemented their tactics perfectly. Thus, the shotgun statistics after 60 goalless minutes with 35:16 in favor of the Grazer was not surprising.

The KAC started the overtime with a pole shot and the biggest scoring chance in the game. Five minutes before the end of the first overtime, the puck was suddenly completely empty in front of the empty goal, but KAC’s Unterweger cleared before Zusevics in the last second. A little later Ty Loney made a penalty, but this time the KAC missed the chance to decide the game in power play. It went into a second extension. After Colton Yellow Horn missed the big opportunity to choose Graz in the middle of the third minute, the 97th minute came. KAC Player Hundred Pound put the puck on cream and Siim Liivik used the rebound to decide. The first scoreless playoff game after regular time and the fourth longest overtime in league history ended in a 1-0 victory for the KAC, who took home the advantage.

EC Graz 99ers vs EC KAC 0-1 OT (0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1) – Series: 0-1