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EFC 2017: Ulbroka and Nizhegorodets win first Men´s matches – 17.10.2017

EFCh 2016 winner Phoenix gave Ulbroka trouble, but the Latvians were able to win the match 8-5. In the physical evening thriller, Nizhegorodets defeated Valmiera 6-4.

The Hungarian Phoenix faced the Latvian Ulbroka in the first Men’s EFC match. Ulbroka controlled the match, but still found it difficult to score as Phoenix were giving them a hard time. It wasn’t until the third period when Ulbroka were able to take a bigger lead and won the match 8-5.

It only takes a few minutes for Phoenix to score the opening goal. After the first shaky few minutes, the Latvian champions Ulbroka take total control of the match and most of the first period is played at Phoenix’s end. Soon the match is already 2-1 for Ulbroka as Phoenix forgets #30 Juris Gribusts all alone in front of the goal. After 20 minutes, Ulbroka are in a 3-1 lead.

In the second period Ulbroka’s defender makes a mistake due to Phoenix’s pressure and the ball goes directly to Phoenix #4 Zoltan Resi who decreases the score to 3-2. The 2016 EuroFloorball Champions are giving Ulbroka a hard time and making it difficult to score. At the end of the second period, Ulbroka’s #24 Niks Kuzulis helps his team to increase the lead to 4-2 by passing a goal after a beautiful individual performance.

Phoenix surprised Ulbroka at the first half of the third period by first decreasing the score and then evening the score on powerplay to 5-5. Ulbroka didn’t give them much time to celebrate as they once again took the lead and in the end won the match 8-5.

Best players:
Ulbroka #7 Kaspars Skels
Phoenix #4 Zoltan Resi

In the last match of the day, Russian Nizhegorodets faced the home team Valmiera. Nizhegorodets’s forechecking was rather efficient and they were able to snatch the ball and create counter attacks. From time to time and especially during the third period, Valmiera was able to build rather dangerous scoring chances, but simply didn’t use them. The Russian champions won the physical match 6-4. It could be said that Valmiera lost the match because Nizhegorodets knew how to use Valmiera’s mistakes to its benefit.

Nizhegorodets had a lightning start as they scored the opening goal with only 25 seconds played. Both teams played physical floorball and didn’t hold back. Unfortunately for the home crowd, #20 Ilia Mikolav made his way from the corner to in front of the net and took Nizhegorodets to a 2-0 lead.

During the second period, the local spectators got something to cheer about as Valmiera’s #7 Martins Broks scored a beautiful one-timer and decreased the score to 3-1. Nizhegorodets disciplined defence and good forechecking caused trouble to Valmiera. After 35 minutes the Russian champions were already in a 4-1 lead. Valmiera decreased the score to 2-4 on powerplay as #91 Ivo Balodis gave a beautiful pass from the line to the corner of the goal from where #11 Arnijs Kuratniksput put the ball to the net. 

The home crowd went wild whenever Valmiera got their hands on the ball in the offensive zone. With eight and a half minutes left, Valmiera decreased the score to 4-5. Despite of many scoring chances, and even playing 6 against 5, Valmiera were unable to even the score. The last nail to the coffin was when Nizhegorodets scored an empty net goal. Nizhegorodets won the match 6-5.

Best players:
Nizhegorodets #20 Ilia Nikolaev
Valmiera #91 Ivo Balodis