Banska Bystrica ends winless streak, Bratislava crisis deepens

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BRATISLAVA, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- It took Banska Bystrica four rounds to earn its first points in the 2020-21 Tipos Extraliga season, and with great luck, as the club triumphed in a very close penalty shootout on Sunday.

Nove Zamky was allowed to enter the season after a successful coronavirus quarantine but had to face the league leader Nitra, which managed to keep its winning streak going and stretch it to four.

Bratislava, on the other hand, is still struggling to find its past form, losing its third match out of four, this time on Detva's ice in a high-scoring game.

After their worst start into a season ever, the players of Banska Bystrica managed to snap their three-game losing streak and climb from the bottom of the rankings to 9th place.

After an unattractive 1-1 draw and goalless 3-on-3 overtime against Miskolc, the only Hungarian team playing in the Slovak league, a penalty shootout had to determine the winner.

The visitors' goalie Miklos Rajna was close to becoming the hero of the match with 39 saves but the home team's forward Milos Fafrak took this title from him by capitalizing on the deciding attempt in the fifth series of the shootout that brought the much-needed victory and the first two points of the season for Banska Bystrica.

Nitra Hockey Club was leading 3-0 in the 13th minute against Nove Zamky but the home team answered with three of their own under the leadership of the two-goal Czech forward Petr Obdrzalek who also had one assist, and the match was heading for overtime. However, it wasn't meant to be, as Tomas Hrnka's second goal of the night denied the OT and secured Nitra's fourth successful result in succession.

Nitra's American goalie Evan Cowley contributed to his team's lengthened winning streak with solid 35 saves. After Nove Zamky's return to play, only Kosice and Liptovsky Mikulas remain in quarantine due to COVID-19 troubles.

Before the season start, Slovan Bratislava's new owner and management promised that the team from Slovakia's capital city will be aiming only for the highest goals but the reality is still far from ideal.

The home team produced a promising start against Detva with two goals in the first period and showered the opponent's goalie Tomas Sholl with a whopping total of a 53 shots but the visitors taught them a lesson in effectivity (only sent a total of 24 shots at Slovan's goal) and immediately answered with a barrage of goals, landing six straight behind the back of Bratislava's goalie.

The 6-2 lead proved crucial in the end as Slovan was desperately trying to mount a comeback but fell one goal short at the final siren, losing 6-7. Detva's forward Rastislav Gaspar dominated the scoreboard with two goals and three assists.

Allan McPherson's two goals led Zvolen's successful charge against Trencin and laid a solid foundation for the 3-2 away victory. The visitors' third triumph of the season helped it move up one spot in the rankings to second place. Enditem

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