The Csíkszereda Sportklub won the sixth game of the Erste Liga finals 5–3 against the Corona Brassó Wolves from Brassó (Brașov) in the Vákár Lajos ice rink in Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc) Thursday evening. By doing this, with an aggregated score of 4-2, the team became the champion for the third time.
After 12 years, two Transylvanian teams were playing against each other again and were neck and neck in the finals of the international ice hockey league organized for clubs based in Hungary and Romania. The sixth game of the Sportklub-Corona Wolves finals started Thursday evening in the Vákár Lajos ice rink in Csíkszereda, with the aggregated lead of the home team of 3–2, meaning that in case of a Sportklub victory, they would have been declared the victor in the finals, while in the case of a Corona Wolves victory, a seventh game would have been needed.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this match, just like most of the others throughout the season had to be played without spectators, but the spirit of the fans was still present as they had placed their flags and jerseys on the seats of the grandstands in a show of support for their favorite team.
During the first 20 minutes, both teams missed one power play on each side, and it almost seemed that the first period would be a goalless one, but finally in the 19th minute, Brassó took the lead with Fowlie’s goal (0–1).
Due to some technical difficulties (some of the lighting devices turned off during the intermission and could not be turned on again on time), the second period, which brought four times as many goals as the first one, started 15 minutes late. Sportklub dominated the beginning of the period, and Tihamér Becze was able to equalize in the 24th minute. The referees had to replay this goal on video but finally found it to be valid. (1–1). The next goal arrived five minutes later when Taratukhin shot the puck into the Corona Wolves’ net. (2–1).
At this point of the match, the guest team started to play more aggressively, but after Andrei Vasile pushed Csíkszereda player Tousignant so hard against the wall that the Canadian’s nose was broken, Vasile got a 2+10-minute penalty. Although Sportklub could not score on the power play, they did afterward when Becze shot his second goal (3–1). The Corona Wolves did not give up, and before the end of the second period, McFadden shot the puck into Adorján’s net (3–2).
The fact that despite having his nose broken and receiving medical treatment, Tousignant returned to the ice in the third period perfectly points out the toughness of this sport.
The first goal of the third 20-minute period was scored in the 44th minute by Sportklub player Blackwater (4–2). The yellow-blue team was still able to reply with the goal of Fowlie (4–3) but was unable to equalize any further.
In the last minutes of the game, Corona Wolves coach pulled their goalie, Tőke, off the ice to send in an extra attacker to help equalize the game and push it into overtime. But instead, the blue and white Tamás Farkas set up the final score when he shot the puck from the neutral zone into the empty goal (5–3).
The Corona Brassó Wolves played better in the first part of the 2020/2021 Erste Liga season and even won the Romanian Cup in December, while the Csíkszereda Sportklub showed a more convincing performance during the playoffs and deservedly won the finals.
“We lost the Romanian Cup in December, and this match now had to be won. It is a great feeling! It is always good to win!” – said Sportklub team captain Szabolcs Papp to maszol.ro after the match.
“This is what we have been working for during the whole season, this was our wish, this was our dream. (…) We celebrate now, but then we are going to prepare for the Romanian championship. We are going to win that too!”
– said Sportklub’s forward Tihamér Becze, who scored twice in the last Erste Liga match of the season.
“It was real teamwork. It doesn’t matter who scores or who gets the goal. We fight together as a team, and I feel that we have deserved the victory. We celebrate now and try to regenerate. We will have one or two rest days, then we are going to prepare for the Romanian championship. Obviously, we want to win that too,” said Tamás Farkas who scored the Sportklub’s final, fifth goal.
After winning the championship for the first time 10 years ago in the 2010/2011 season, under the name of HSC Csíkszereda, and after last year when Sportklub was announced as the winner of the season together with Ferencváros (due to the season being interrupted during the semifinals because of COVID-19), the Csíkszereda Sportklub become the Erste (previously MOL) Liga champion for the third time.
Tihamér Becze, who scored six goals and gave two assists during the six matches, was chosen as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the finals.
The Best Forward of the season prize went to the American Jack Combs (Csíkszereda Sportklub), who scored a record number of 19 goals during the playoffs. The Best Goalie title of the season went to Zoltán Hetényi (DEAC), while the title of Best Defenseman went to Canadian Joshua McFadden (Corona Brassó Wolves).
Erste Liga finals, 6th match
April 8, 2021: Csíkszereda, Vákár Lajos Ice Rink, without spectators
Csíkszereda Sportklub – Corona Brassó Wolves 5-3 (0-1, 3-1, 2-1)
Goals (minute): Becze (24th, 37th), Taratuhin (29th), Blackwater (44th), Farkas (59th), and Fowlie (19th, 46th), McFadden (39th)
Final result of the series: 4–2, Csíkszereda Sportklub.
Title image: The Csíkszereda Sportklub won the Erste (previously MOL) Liga for the third time after 2011 and 2020. Vákár Lajos ice rink in Csíkszereda, April 8, 2021 (Photo: Albin Gábos/maszol.ro)