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Analysis of the final: Simple as a slap. Whoever follows the first goal rule wins

One hundred and twenty minutes of the final are already in the past, and yet it is starting from scratch. Better said from number one. The Pardubice part ended with a 1:1 match ratio. The Třinec hockey players managed the opening duel better in all respects, winning 2:1. The home team prepared an immediate revenge for them, even with interest, and the result was 6:3. This year’s series continues to develop in the same way as last year’s seven-game saga. With one difference. In April 2023, Dynamo was the first to rejoice.

In the second final match, the Pardubice hockey players pressed into the Třinec goal. Sometimes literally.

| Photo: Deník/Luboš Jeníček

The recipe for victory is as simple as a recipe for a muffin… Whoever opens the score wins. In this season, it applies to the letter. Both units thus follow on from the basic part. The opening goal has already determined the winner of the match six times in a row. Although it was not always immediately victorious, it influenced the development of the encounter in the sense that the team that was ahead by a goal did not have to push forward at all costs. Dynamo brought the match to a happy end four times.

Pressure from all sides

Pardubice made it to the finals after twelve long years, when they also won the championship title for the last time. Only the trio can (not) remember tense fights for everything. Coincidentally, the entire second offensive line consists of Tomáš Zohorna, Lukáš Radil and Robert Kousal. All reached the extra-league peak twice (in 2010 and 2012).

From the current squad, two-time champion Tomáš Vondráček and owner of three golden rings, one of the founders of the Třinec dynasty, defender David Musil, also knows similar feelings of joy. His colleague from the back row, Jan Kolář, has two titles, just like the staff of the second formation, but he has not yet intervened in the final battles in this year’s playoffs.

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Another twenty players are waiting for their first big triumph, when their maximum is bronze. Be it last year’s jersey with a square top, or in other engagements. Including stars such as Lukáš Sedlák or Tomáš Hyka. The exception is Adam Musil, who also hung one silver medal around his neck. It is not surprising that the inexperience of the final showed itself in the opening duel. The most diligent collector of national championships is the current Pardubice coach Marek Zadina.

Dynamo did not enter the series in the best mood. Although everyone was looking forward to the final, the nervousness on the Pardubice clubs was palpable. At times it looked as if each squad was on the ice together for the first time. Passes on skates, confusion in their own defensive zone, frequent prohibited releases. That wasn’t Pardubice from the playoffs.

Although it was similar in the opening match of the quarter-final series against Hradec Králové. In the first third for sure. There, a certain nervousness also tied the team’s legs. This led to the fact that after twenty minutes the old rival had two goals to his credit. In this case, Zadin’s subordinates were still able to extinguish the fire. But Třinec, that’s another level. It is enough to defend a one-goal lead. Let alone the gap of two goals as in the first final.

The Musil hockey family.  The eldest, dad František, and his two sons David (bearded) and Adam played and still play for Dynamo Pardubice.

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In addition to the fact that the Pardubice team has almost no experience in final battles, the leader of the regular season is under pressure from all sides. And quite logically, players also create it for themselves. The squad can be filled with famous names a hundred times, but without throwing away nervousness, unhealthy respect from the opponent and experience, the title will not be won by itself. In the second appearance, the Dynamo players locked their worries in the cabin and behaved more confidently on the ice. Sort of like final greasers. They also had nowhere to retreat. While after the first measurement of strength it was possible to say: Tomorrow we have time to repair, so going to Třinec with a deficit of 0:2 after home matches, the Steelers could not have received a better present.

There is one more thing. The home team, although they certainly forbade it, were subconsciously aware that Třinec must be calm after the grueling series with Sparta. On paper, he played five more games in this year’s playoffs. For this, it is necessary to take into account the four overtimes in this semi-final series, which extended the portion of minutes by another hundred. The opposite was true. In the opening third of the final, Pardubice’s lack of play after a long break absolutely overcame the fatigue of Slezan.

To Kacetlo and chestnut tractors

Pardubice hockey players also succumbed to the narrative, which could be named the chapter of the Fabulous Kacetl. Třineck’s goalkeeper was born for playoff matches. Last season, he trampled Pardubice in the semi-finals and Hradec Králové in the final. Not surprisingly, he wanted to pull out against the clubs where he spent part of his career. He carried over his style to 2024. In the decisive seventh game against Sparta, he pulled out one save after another. In the first final, however, the home team didn’t really test him. Yes, the shot stopped a lot, however their danger level was low.

In the second duel, the conquerors from Pardubice served different coffee. From the first minutes, they tried to push the goalkeeper into the net with the puck. They bet on the Canadian style and it worked for them. True, they sometimes attacked Ondřej Kacetl even when he was in control of the puck. More than once he was taken aback. Until his nerves were frayed and he allowed himself to be expelled. It is important for Dynamo that, in addition to the mask, the magicians knocked down their self-confidence in one of the strong fights. Scoring six wickets in the final is something that willy-nilly gets stuck in your head.

Football legend Petr Čech in the role of a hockey goalkeeper.

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The weight of the final fell on one of the three best teams after the regular season. Pardubice is struggling with indiscipline. They paid for her twice. In the first clash, they performed an unusual thing. In the end, when you lose by a goal, you plan to call off the goalkeeper and play with a numerical advantage. But what happened in the enteria arena? In the last minute, two home players were fouled on the penalty bench, and when the coaches decided to play a desperate power play, they had one less player on the ice.

In the second period, literally when there were at least eight suspensions on each side, Richard Pánik (coincidentally he was one of those punished at the end of the first battle) committed a stupid foul somewhere in the middle of the field. Shortly before that, Třinec reduced the score to 2:3 and equalized immediately after his departure behind the Plexiglas. It is not surprising that the Slovak legionnaire did not score in the match. It seems that after the January exchange from the steel city, he still has some bills to settle… But personal interests have to be put aside in fights for everything. At the same time, he scored the opening goal of his team and is one of the few who pays against the opponent. He was lucky to be saved by his teammates. How else than from the fourth line. Its staff can be considered pulling chestnuts out of the fire in this year’s playoffs… The fourth goal was scored by Tomáš Vondráček after an assist by Jan Mandát. Fifth goal? Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V would be enough…

The series moves into the dragon fold this weekend. This season, Pardubice won 5:1 in Třinec and then lost 3:4 after raids. In last year’s playoffs, they won two out of three games there. Moreover, he already knows what it’s like to raise his hands above his head after winning the final match. This series is wide open…

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