Really the only thing that from the third period onwards could save energy on Tuesday’s repet in the O2 arena. After four Spartan goals in the middle third within nine minutes, it was over in the score of 5: 0, and in the final minute the North Bohemians were only interested in Machovsky’s goalkeepers losing some confidence and not allowing him to zero. It didn’t even work …
When Sparta learned last week that she would have to fight for the semi-finals against Liberec, she was not happy about it. At the end of the last four mutual series in the playoffs, she always watched the twitching of the Tigers. The last time a year ago, when as the winner of the basic part, she had the first three matches in the battle for the finals, which she did; although the state of the series managed to level; it eventually became fatal.
And so Liberec partly rightly believed, and perhaps continues to believe, that it could be against the Prague team in the playoffs for the fifth time in a row, even though they will be paper favorites again.
Especially at the start of the series, the group around coach Augusta clung. She hoped that the opponent would have a break of almost two weeks and that his legs would not run in the first matches.
But the exact opposite was true. Sparta looked fresher from the beginning, and there was no break in it. I know, it’s only one match, so it’s still damn early. But when you look at Jandač’s party, you feel that it is a completely different Sparta than a year ago. At that time, she could only rely on the elite offensive formation Rousek, Horák, Řepík in the playoffs.
Now? Although the five-point Tomášek stood out, but it should not be assumed that all the attacks contributed to the goals. Which is the most positive finding that in the event of a crisis of one or two lines, the others are ready to take a surprise and take responsibility.
And Sparta’s performance was far from ideal, for example, defender Moravčík made a number of cheap mistakes. That the injuries of the props could be slowed down by Praguers? It could, no doubt. But in that case, defender Martin Jandus or forward Jan Buchtele, who are out of the line at the time, are ready to jump in. Not because of injuries, but simply because there is simply no room left for them in the trampled cadre.
It is difficult to predict whether today’s second match will end in such a tiger massacre. “Our team is mentally strong, we showed it in the fifth match of the preliminary round with Kometa. I see no reason why we can’t show it again. I have already seen that heart in the cabin several times, “believes the experienced Liberec defender Ladislav Šmíd.
I am sure that today it will be a completely different Liberec. I just don’t know if it will still be enough for Sparta acting like a runaway machine. Once, maybe twice. In the long run, however, I have strong doubts about that.
Jan Škvor has been working as the editor of the internet portal www.sport.cz since 2007, specializing in ice hockey. As a reporter, he completed six world hockey championships and the 2014, 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics.