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Slovan wins hockey crown

Although the PA operators waited until 9:47 remaining in the third period before first playing Queen's We are the Champions, the fifth and final match of the Slovak Extraliga Championship Series had been decided far earlier. Riding the strength of an aggressive offensive attack, a stingy defensive front, and a rowdy more-than-capacity crowd of nearly 8,000 in Bratislava's Zimný Štadión, Slovan Bratislava overwhelmed HKM Zvolen 8 to 1, to win the best-of-five series three games to two.
Slovan took control early in the match when Ľubomír Kolník scored in the fifth minute for a one goal advantage. The home team was then staked to a two goal lead when Richard Kapuš (who finished with a goal and three assists) turned in the play of the game: during a Zvolen power-play, Kapuš intercepted a pass at mid-rink, streaked down the centre, and shot past the flailing Zvolen goal-keeper for the short-handed goal.


Slovan Bratislava celebrates its national hockey championship.
photo: TASR

Although the PA operators waited until 9:47 remaining in the third period before first playing Queen's We are the Champions, the fifth and final match of the Slovak Extraliga Championship Series had been decided far earlier. Riding the strength of an aggressive offensive attack, a stingy defensive front, and a rowdy more-than-capacity crowd of nearly 8,000 in Bratislava's Zimný Štadión, Slovan Bratislava overwhelmed HKM Zvolen 8 to 1, to win the best-of-five series three games to two.

Slovan took control early in the match when Ľubomír Kolník scored in the fifth minute for a one goal advantage. The home team was then staked to a two goal lead when Richard Kapuš (who finished with a goal and three assists) turned in the play of the game: during a Zvolen power-play, Kapuš intercepted a pass at mid-rink, streaked down the centre, and shot past the flailing Zvolen goal-keeper for the short-handed goal.

The second and third periods saw more Slovan dominance led by former Edmonton Oiler and team captain Zdeno Cíger (three assists) and goal-keeper Radovan Biegl. When Slovan scored their eighth goal of the match in the 50th minute, bottles of champagne smuggled into the arena by hundreds of the rapturous fans began popping with regularity. The celebration had begun.

The partying also continued on Bratislava's SNP námestie, where a movie-sized screen displayed the game for the thousands of Slovan fans who could not get into the game. Hours after the championship had been sewn up, fans still sang, danced and drank champagne into the early morning hours.

The championship marks Slovan's second Slovak Extraliga title, and the club's third national title - Slovan won the 1997-1998 Extraliga crown and the Czechoslovak federal league title in 1979. The series was decided after a back-and-forth battle in the first four games. Zvolen took Game 1 in Bratislava 1 - 0 before Slovan battled back to dominate the next match 5 - 1. In Zvolen, the home team again took the series lead by winning Game 3 by the score of 3 - 2. Facing elimination, Slovan set up the decisive match in Bratislava by beating Zvolen 3 - 1 in Game 4.

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