Next game

2019-01-18 17:00


Riihimäen Cocks
-
HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper

Poll

Which team will win Baltic Handball League 2019?

News / BHL Newsletter: Cocks ending impressive European campaign this week

Baltic Handball League

2018.11.26 12:27

BHL Newsletter: Cocks ending impressive European campaign this week

All but one of the twelve Baltic Handball League clubs were in domestic or international action last week. BHL-derbies were played in Lithuania and Estonia, while VHC Šviesa Vilnius reached the last 16 of the EHF Challenge Cup. BHL champion Cocks Riihimäki – who will return to BHL-action next week – is ending their impressive EHF Champions League run.

Cocks' debut season has perhaps not been a success in terms of points, as they have four points in Group D, but Finnish champion has played well in most matches. A win over Wacker Thun and two draws against Ademar Abanca Leon and Wacker have brought the points, but from six defeats five have come with goal difference of three goals or less.

Nico Rönnberg leading the European scoring charts

Last week, Cocks lost away to CS Dinamo Bucuresti 24:22 (13:12) with Nico Rönnberg scoring 9 goals. "Yet another great fight from the boys in an away game. The opponent was marginally better in some small details and that decided the outcome. It was an exciting match in front of very passionate and great crowd," commented Cocks' head coach Gintaras Savukynas to club's web-site.

While the Finns will not qualify for next stage, they do have something to be proud of on individual front. Rönnberg is currently EHF Champions League's top scorer with 64 goals, as world-class star Alex Dujshebaev and Johan a Plogv Hansen following with 60, Melvyn Richardson at 54 and Casper Mortensen at 52 goals.

In domestic league, Cocks took a hard-fought away win over IFK Helsingi by 29:25 (13:11) and Bojan Zupanjac scoring 7 goals. However, the star of the match was Cocks' Lithuanian goalkeeper Giedrius Morkunas, who made impressive 21 saves.

VHC Šviesa Vilnius is also enjoying a great season in Europe. They did lose the return leg last week by 26:23 (14:13) to Bodø HK, but qualified to the last 16 of EHF Challenge Cup with an aggregate score of 58:49. Karolis Antanavičius and Valdas Drabavičius scored 7 goals against the Norwegian club.

BHL-derby wins for Dragunas and Viljandi

The other two BHL teams from Lithuania contested a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday with Dragunas Klaipeda beating Granitas-Karys Kaunas by 34:31 (18:15), thus delivering the first loss of the domestic season for the latter. Karolis Bliuvas scored 10 goals for Dragunas and Granitas' Paulius Šarkauskas continued his incredible scoring form, recording 15 for the losing side.

Another BHL-derby took place in Estonia and was a very tight match with a surprising result. Viljandi HC had only two points prior to visiting early season league leaders HC Tallinn, but the young side pulled out a 27:26 (13:12) win! Belarussian right-winger Andrey Khapal scored six goals for the winners, while Robin Oberg managed one more for Tallinn.

Serviti Põlva had an easier "day in the office", as they beat HC Viimsi/Tööriistamarket 41:25 (20:10) away with Henri Sillaste the top scorer with 6 goals. HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper continues to lead the Estonian league after defeating SK Tapa 35:25 (18:15). Experienced Kaspar Lees and Janar Mägi were on target 7 times for Kehra.

ZRHK Tenax Dobele continues unbeaten in Latvia, taking their 11th win of the season at home, as they beat ASK/LSPA Riga by 35:24 (21:12). Oskars Arajs and Nikita Pančenko were the best scorers with 7 goals, as Egils Politers added 6.

SKA and ZTR taking home wins after struggling in the first half

Two of BHL's most Eastern teams had a very similar midweek, as SKA Minsk and ZTR Zaporozhye were both struggling in the first half of domestic league matches. In Belarus, three-time BHL champion SKA has serious injury worries and lost two of their goalkeepers – international Ivan Maroz and young Kiryl Mukasei to long-term injuries.

On Wednesday, they hosted Masheka Mogilyov in Belarus league match and started well, but then lost the grip and the first half by 18:17. SKA pulled themselves together and eventually took a 38:24 win with Mikita Vailupau as their best scorer with 8 goals.

ZTR continued their unbeaten run in Ukrainian league, taking sixth win out of six games, but it did not come easy. They met with their own reserve side ZTR-Burevestnik and the young team had something to prove. Just like BHL neighbours from Belarus, ZTR only pulled away in the second half taking a 40:28 (18:18) win. Maksym Karamyshev recorded 10 goals.

"It was a very bad match from our side," admitted ZTR's head coach Vitaliy Nat to club web-site. "It seems many players thought it will be easy. But our reserves fought hard and played with great passion, something that was lacking in our team. We will analyze this and definitely make serious conclusions."

On photo: Nico Rönnberg of Cocks and BHL is currently the top scorer of EHF Champions League. (Photo: Helin Potter/BHL archives).