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News / BHL Newsletter: Play-off matches in full swing in the Baltics
Baltic Handball League
BHL Newsletter: Play-off matches in full swing in the Baltics
While Baltic Handball League's 2018/19 season finished a week ago, the domestic leagues in all six countries involved in BHL are continuing and soon reaching their culmination. Especially in the three Baltic States, the play-off matches last week reached finals in Latvia and semi-final stage in Estonia and Lithuania.
In Latvia the first match of the final series was played on Saturday with two BHL teams contesting. ZRHK Tenax Dobele took an early lead of 6:1 and was ahead 20:15 by half-time, but Celtnieks Riga fought back to a draw on several occasions in the second half. They never managed to take the lead and Tenax enjoyed a 34:31 win (Egils Politers 7 – Arturs Lazdinš 9 goals).
South of the border, in Lithuania, semi-finals were played in one week and in both ties it ended with just two matches. Title-defender and BHL Final Four participant Dragunas Klaipeda beat Varsa-Stronglasas Alytus 32:25 (Lukas Simenas and Žanas Gabrielijus Virbauskas 7) and 28:25 (Modestas Vaitiekunas 10).
In an all-BHL semi-final, VHC Šviesa Vilnius was better than Granitas-Karys Kaunas. The numbers at home were 27:25 (Valdas Drabavičius 9 – Paulius Šarkauskas 10) and away 30:25 (Drabavičius 10 – Šarkauskas 7). The finals between Dragunas and Šviesa will start on 8th May.
Estonian semi-finals just started and it will take three wins to reach the final. Serviti Põlva kicked off with a clear 36:22 win (Sander Sarapuu and Alfred Timmo 6) over Coop Põlva, while HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper had to fight much harder against fellow BHL-team HC Tallinn to win 25:23 (Kaspar Lees 6 – Sergei Glinka 7).
In Ukrainian league, BHL runner-up ZTR Zaporozhye beat CSKA Kyiv easily by 36:17 (Ivan Burzak 9) and will face EHF Champions League side HC Motor Zaporozhye on Monday. ZTR currently leads the league with 50 points, but Motor has played six (!) matches less and are only eight points behind.
SKA Minsk had a busy week in Belarus, as they beat Masheka Mogilyov at home on Wednesday by 32:29 (Ivan Brouka 7), but then suffered another defeat in the hands of HC Meshkov Brest by 25:30 (Yulyan Hiryk 9). Unbeaten Meshkov is the runaway leader with 52 points, SKA follows second with 37.
BHL champions Cocks Riihimäki had an easy week, as they were waiting for their semi-final opponent to be determined. Both Finnish league quarter-finals went to the wire – fifth match in the best of five series – and Cocks will now face Helsingi IFK for the fight to reach the finals.
On photo: HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper and HC Tallinn are fighting for the place in the final in Estonia. (Photo: Sandra Lass).