HKM Zvolen in hunt for Tipos Extraliga leader after 5th straight win

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BRATISLAVA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- In the 34th round of the Slovak ice hockey premiership Tipos Extraliga, second-ranked HKM Zvolen outscored newcomers HC Grotto Presov to stay in the hunt for the top spot with five points behind leaders HC Slovan Bratislava.

Defending champions HKM Zvolen had the away match well under control, leading 3-0 in the 25th minute but the home team rallied and scored two goals to cut the deficit. However, the visitors regained momentum and scored two more to finish the game 5-2.

League leaders HC Slovan Bratislava found little to no resistance on the ice of the worst-ranked Liptovsky Mikulas, leading 3-0 early in the second period and forcing the home goalie Yevgeni Ivannikov to be substituted.

The home team managed to get on the board late in the second period but that was the one and the only time. Slovan opened the flood gates in the final outing, scoring four straight goals to cruise to a dominant 7-1 victory with seven different scorers.

Elsewhere, two goals by Canadian forward Aaron Berisha in the first period and two by his fellow countryman and Dukla Trencin's recent addition Samson Mahbod played the main role to give the visitors a 5-0 lead going into the third period on the ice of penultimate Nove Zamky.

The home team only managed to score once, spoiling Trencin's British goalie Ben Bowns' first Extraliga shutout.

"It's great to be back. We haven't played for quite some time and I'm glad we won. But we can be even better, score more goals, we just have to play with more enthusiasm. We will get there after a couple of rounds," stated Trencin coach Tero Lehtera.

HK Spisska Nova Ves wanted to snap its four-game losing streak and started off well in Michalovce, opening the score late in the first period, but the home team's 22-year-old forward Pavol Regenda tied the game up in the second period and also assisted on his American teammate Tony Cameranesi's two subsequent goals to help his team gain the decisive lead that resulted in a close 3-2 victory, the fifth in a row for the third team of the standings.

In the battle between 10th HC '05 Banska Bystrica and fourth HK Nitra, all the important stuff transpired in the first period and the visitors brought home a close 2-1 win after two previous defeats.

The home team's Swedish defenseman Victor Bjorkung answered Nitra's opening goal with a shot from between the circles but Nitra's talented forward and the league's top scorer with 19 goals Samuel Bucek decided the 2-1 outcome on a powerplay.

Thus, Nitra took a successful revenge after suffering a 5-2 defeat by Banska Bystrica on Tuesday in a postponed fixture of the 18th round. Banska Bystrica's 23-year-old forward Alex Tamasi was instrumental in the visitors' success, scoring a shorthanded goal in the final period and assisting two more.

Liptovsky Mikulas and Zvolen also caught up with their previously postponed fixture on Tuesday. The home team answered Zvolen's two opening goals with a lucky bounce off one of the opponents' skates but the reigning champions scored three more goals in succession to cruise to a 5-2 victory in the end.

Liptovsky Mikulas is still last with only nine victories in 32 games played so far. Enditem

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