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MU beats Mendel University in ice hockey rematch

The rematch between Mendel University and Masaryk University brought a great game of ice hockey with a thunderous atmosphere. The MU team won the match 4-2 after turning the score around, repaying their opponents for the loss they suffered two years ago.

Rectors Martin Bareš and Danuše Nerudová opened the game with a ceremonial face-off.

Fans were loudly cheering on their teams already at the procession that made its way to the Winning Group Arena after 4 p.m., with the green colours of MENDELU dominant in the crowd. The hall filled with spectators was booming with cheers even before the hockey players in green and white jerseys arrived on the ice.

Rectors Martin Bareš of MU and Danuše Nerudová of MENDELU opened the game with a ceremonial face-off. “I hope that before the next year’s game, our score with MENDELU will be equalised to 1-1,” said Bareš. “Nearly two years without hockey was a long time, so I hope that MENDELU will win again,” said Ms Nerudová, recalling the green team’s 5-2 victory the year before last.

Fan parade starting at Náměstí Svobody..

From the opening whistle, MENDELU players were more active and the atmosphere in the hall was rapturous, but the visiting team’s goalie Král was ready. On the other side, goalkeeper Huzlík was also busy. In the 8th minute, MU players failed to drive the puck behind him and after a subsequent foul during a counter-attack, MENDELU team captain Gregar scored a penalty shot goal, putting his team in the lead. The 1-0 score lasted until the first break, even though the MU team had a power play at the end of the first period, where they missed an empty goal.

In the 23rd minute, MUNI captain Pavel Tomaník missed a penalty shot and the home team’s goalie Huzlík made a couple more great saves. In the 28th minute, Gregar scored another goal, increasing MENDELU’s lead to 2-0. During the commercial breaks, the fans played various games, winning rewards and joining in Mexican waves. From the 37th minute onwards, MU had a 5-on-3 power play, but not even the fans loudly cheering them on could help them score a goal – the closest they got was hitting a post. However, two seconds before the end of the second period, the team in white jerseys finally reduced the difference to 2-1.

After two periods, MENDELU had a 2-1 lead.

MUNI players had a great start in the third period, when defenceman Adam Studený equalised and, within a minute, forward Róbert Mokrohajský scored again, putting MUNI in the lead. In the 48th minute, MENDELU captain Martin Gregar left the ice shaken after taking a hard hit but soon returned to the game.

“Let’s go boys, let's score!” urged the fans in green sweatshirts. Their players were doing their best on the ice, but MUNI goalie Král was like an impenetrable wall. With only six minutes to the end of the game, the home team played a power play but did not score. However, the visitors were equally unable to take advantage of the subsequent MENDELU short-handed play.

There were numerous opportunities to score on both sides and with 45 seconds to go, the MENDELU team pulled their goalie, trying their luck six on five. At 59:42, eight seconds to the end, the Kometa-trained best MUNI player Silvester Kusko scored into the empty net, sealing a 2-4 win for Masaryk University.

Radost kapitána hostů.

According to the victorious teams’ coach Jan Sedlák, it was the goal shortly before the second break that made all the difference. “I told the guys in the locker room that it could break the other team and the psychological advantage would be on our side, so we wanted to come at them hard in the third period,” said Sedlák. Captain Pavel Tomaník, who scored the aforementioned goal before the end of the period, confirmed that. “We told ourselves that we wanted to fight on and not lose this game,” said Tomaník.

MENDELU team’s coach Michal Brzobohatý regretted losing the two-goal lead. “They put us under lots of pressure and turned the game around,” he lamented. The home team received two quick goals while shorthanded, which turned the score to 2-3. “I have to admit that in the third period we lacked the stamina compared to the other team, who played with four lines. It’s the power plays that make or break games like this one, and we, unfortunately, gave the other team the opportunities they needed,” said MENDELU captain Martin Gregar.