The first round of the playoffs delivered its verdict and only the Austrians of Pustertal thwarted the order established by the regular season. Let's take a look at what the next qualifying round should look like.
Please note that the Playoff structure has been shortened of what was originally planned, and therefore the originally provided Playoff schedule is not valid. Here is the updated schedule:
- Quarterfinals: 30.1-7.2.2023
- Semifinals: 9.-16.2.2023
- Finals: 19.-23.2.2023
The regular season leader easily got rid of the Swiss of Ambri. This first round have had no other use for the Finns to raise their confidence a little more by allowing them to score twenty-eight times in four games.
For their part, the Pustertal players, after having started their season very badly, were able to finish it very well and it seems that this momentum could have carried them away until they eliminated North Sawo Lions. We knew that the Lions could have a defensive flaw, but this was not the case for the Austrians, with two overtime wins, they showed nerves of steel.
Two teams in full confidence will therefore face each other, one has nothing to lose and it is, as such, undoubtedly the most dangerous. Thus, Cheeky Grinders should not consider qualifying easily.
The Korobka players led 3-0 before giving away a victory to WarHeads then finally, and logically, qualified for the next round. Their Finnish opponents have nevertheless shown that Korobka's defense is perfectly shaky. Against the Swedes of MoDo Hockey, it can be problematic. The men of Fjällräven Center managed to eliminate the French Pirates and they owe their qualification in priority to the ability of their attackers to connect, all orchestrated by an Anton Lund who seemed very cramped in this Division Core by being able to be dangerous at any time. Korobka will have to work offensively against a formation which defends low in front of its goalkeeper and which does not hesitate to padlock the neutral zone. It's a series that is undoubtedly exciting!
Initially it was the Swiss of Olten who had the best defense in the League. But Hanover, conceding just three goals in the series against the Black Hurricanes, and offering a shutout twice, hit hard. We can never say it enough but in the playoffs it is the ability of a team to keep its net intact which often makes the difference. The Germans leave with this trump card up their sleeve. But be careful because the Swiss still have in front of their goal the one who finished best goalkeeper of the season. Admittedly Vlad seemed less dashing against CapeTown but his career so far seems to be Olten's best asset.
We do not know what to say about this opposition. During the regular season Predators won twice, including one in overtime. Subsequently each of the two teams had an honorable season but as it seemed that the Predators managed to stay a little more regular then the balance could tip in their favor, without certainty. Always according to the same defensive logic, Predators are also doing better. On the other hand, in terms of the offensive, it is the Germans who have the advantage. It is an open series in which each of the two teams will have their chance.