1. April | 20:23

Linz beat KAC, secure title

On Sunday, EHC LIWEST Black Wings Linz crowned themselves new champions of Erste Bank Eishockey Liga with a hard-fought 3:1 home win over EC-KAC.

Philipp Lukas with the trophy.

Keine-Sorgen-Arena was packed to the very last seat and above, too. Both teams tried to tread carefully at the start, knowing that any advantage to their opponent could prove decisive in the race for that first goal, which had ever so often decided the outcome in the final series. Linz had the better chances, especially on the two man-advantage-situations, when Justin Keller let the best one go by unused.

With the second period just underway, Pat Leahy squandered another big chance as he ran in solo on Andy Chiodo, but went for the Deke instead of the shot. Mike Ouellette did better two minutes later. With Johannes Kiristis out for two minutes, Alex Westlund sent a long pass to Curtis Murphy, and Ouellette buried the puck, much to the delight of the blue-and-black faithful. Martin Grabher-Meier could have doubled the lead, but was surprised by another long pass. Linz managed to add to their tally when Justin Keller came in on a 2-on-1 and finished the move without even looking up. When Alex Westlund was called upon, he was there, especially in KACs’ powerplay midway through the period, when he gloved Dieter Kalts’ big chance. Linz took the game in their stride, controlled and still launching the occasional counter attack. With 31.7 seconds to go, Klagenfurt found a goal form an unlikely source: Johannes Kirisits tallied up top level near the short post form an acute angle and the match was wide open again and the anticipation for the third period rose.

KAC started with a shot at the post by Raphael Herburger and then a powerplay, but nothing came of it. KAC tried their best but they only really threatened in the last few minutes. Brian Lebler missed a great great chance four minutes from the siren, and then, the Carinthians tried their last ace from up their sleeves. Chiodo vacated the crease to enable a sixth skater to take the ice. But it was to no avail: 1.7 seconds from time, Gregor Baumgartner got possession of the puck and found the empty net with his long-range effort. The officials decided to run the clock down as the game was decided and an ice cleaning would have been necessary, meaning EHC Liwest Black Wings Linz Erste Bank Eishockey Ligas Champions 2011/12, following dominance in Regulation and Finals.

01.04.2012: EHC Liwest Black Wings Linz- EC-KAC 3:1 (0:0, 2:1, 1:0)
Goal Linz: 1:0 Ouellette (24./PP), 2:0 Keller (29.), 3:0 Baumgartner (60./EN)
Goals Klagenfurt: 2:1 Kirisits (40./PP)
Score in the best-of-seven-series: 4:1, EHC Liwest Black Wings Linz are Champions.