The German champions won their place in the Champions Cup 2017

UHC Weissenfels is the men’s champion in the EFC 2016. In the final the German champions defeated SK Lielvarde who did a great comeback to the game in the third period, but it wasn’t enough today. The game winning goal was made by Anssi Soini but the decisive goal was again scored by Max Blanke. With this result UHC Weissenfels will play in the Champions Cup 2017 in Seinäjoki, Finland.

UHC Weissenfels-SK Lielvarde 8-6 (3-1, 4-2, 1-3)

The tempo rose high already in the beginning of the game and both teams had their chances to score the first goal. After a minute and 11 seconds Martin Gladigau scored 1-0 from the assist of Axel Kuch. Ervins Torsters great shot tied the game in the middle of the first period but Thomas Händler’s lucky shot went in at 11:42 to make the score 2-1. Martin Brückner scored the last goal of the first 20 minutes from the assist of Sascha Herlt. In general Weissenfels were the team who kept the ball a bit more and Lielvarde tried to be as dangerous as possible from the fast breaks. The Latvian team also shot more from the distance. Anyhow, the score was 3-1 for Weissenfels in the first intermission.

The first five minutes of the second period were total domination by UHC Weissenfels. They got a good start with Anssi Soini scoring 4-1 at 40:06 - straight from the faceoff. Lielvarde got their game going and the game was more even before the unbelievable 33rd minute. First at 33:28 Soini scored 5-1, but then at 33:35 Toms Mezotnis shot a lucky shot from the middle line to make it 5-2. Finally at 33:56 Aivis Kusins decreased the score to 5-3 and Lielvarde seemed to do a great comeback to the game. But shortly after that the Latvian team took a penalty which cost them a lot. Sascha Herlt shot a wonderful one-timer to the upper left corner of the net. Lielvarde lost totally their momentum as they took another two minute penalty and Anssi Soini scored his third of the day at 39:33 on powerplay. The second intermission started with UHC Weissenfels leading 7-3.

In the third period we saw a super fast goal since only one second was played when Lielvarde scored 7-4. With that kind of a start, Lielvarde took control of the game and Weissenfels seemed really nervous. Harri Naumanen’s two minute penalty cost a lot for the German group since Aivis Kusins brought the Latvian side to 7-5 on powerplay. At 50:06 Atis Blinds scored 7-6 with a beautiful shot to the top corner. The Latvians tried their best to get the game tied and they also created really good scoring chances but Tobias Köstler in front of Weissenfels’ goal was like a wall.

The hero in the end was again Max Blanke. The Weissenfels’ third line power forward played a sensational tournament and scored 8-6 at 56:26 with a great individual effort and a shot to the front post. That was also the end result of the game.

Anssi Soini of UHC Weissenfels scored three goals in the game. Sascha Herlt did 1+2. From Lielvarde Aicis Kusins did 2+1.

After the match Lielvarde’s Kusins was disappointed that they couldn’t play their own game for 60 minutes so many times in this tournament, but thought that the experience the Latvians got from the EFC 2016 was important.

Tobias Köstler said it was a game full of work for him. He thanked the people who made the atmosphere great at Stadthalle and said the reason why they turned the loss from the group stage into a victory in the final was that they were well prepared and they were more effective.

Match summary