Which teams qualify from quarterfinals to Final 4?
News / Final games in Baltic Handball League main round
Baltic Handball League
Final games in Baltic Handball League main round
Before these decisive games Riihimäki Cocks and Põlva Serviti have ensured their places in final four. Cocks has finished main round but Serviti still wants to get more points from Latvia. Klaipeda Zemaitijos Dragunas, HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper and Vilniuse VHC Sviesa are the three teams who have to fight for the last two vacant places in final four. Riga LSPA has lost a chance to reach to final four this year. Same story with Dobele Tenax who will finish in the bottom of the table this season.
Winner of the main round will be Cocks or Serviti
Because of that Cocks and Serviti will have a peaceful weekend. Still, there is something at stake because the winner of main round is not clear yet. Previous games between these two will be determinative, if Serviti wins both Latvian teams Tenax and LSPA this weekend, will take a first place in main round.
Raivo Laast, head coach of Cocks says that there is no difference for him which team will finish in the top. „It is not sure yet who we meet in semi-finale. Therefore I see no point to be sad if we lose the first place,“ says Laast. „I´m very satisfied with the main season because we finished in top two and we got worth victories on opponents ground. We have no preference for semi-finales. All the teams are strong and counts only this, who is in a better fit at that time.“
Kalmer Musting, head coach of Serviti is going to Latvia with plans to get two victories and to become first in main season. „We are not going to experiment because strong games are always good,“ says Musting. Trainings have showed that we are in good shape. We have no markable problems in squad. Only Henri Sillaste, who is out because of injury for a long time already, can not play.“ As Laast, doesn´t Musting as well think that the first place in main round is most important. „Who ever reach to semi-finales will be a difficult opponent. Cocks proved himself in main round, games against Kehra have been always even and because the final four takes place in Lithuania, they have home ground support. At the moment it seems that Sviesa would be the best opponent.“
Three contenders, two vacant places
The third who will go through to final four will be clarified between lithuanians. For Zemaitijos Dragunas draw is the least to go through but Sviesa needs a win to go through. Even one point can help Sviesa to final four but it is only in case if Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper will lose both games in Latvia. Zemaitijos Dragunas does not qualify to final four in case if they lose to Sviesa and Kehra/Horizon Pulp Paper will get at least two more points.
„For us it is like a little final,“ did´nt hide Arturas Juškenas, head coach of Zemaitijos Dragunas. „Lately in Lithuanian Trophy final we won Sviesa by two goals, but some days later we lost by ten points in Championsip game. We had a tense downturn, in addition to that goalkeeper of Sviesa made a great game, against who we were unable to score. I belive that defeat did´nt affect us, we are in good shape and the game starts from zero. But the reality is that we meet league leader Granitas day before and we have three games in one week but Sviesa is in the same situation.“
Evaldas Lipinskas, head coach of Sviesa says that we had a misfortune in Trophy finale because of lack of experiance. „For our young squad it was a first time to play such important match,“ says Lipinskas. „Boys were in tense and could´nt show their game they are capable of. After that we got a big win against them in Championship, because the will of prove theirself was huge, in addition to that we played as we are able to play. Baltic League match will be very hard because it is like a little final. Who wins will go forward. Zemaitijos Dragunas is strong at home and they have a lot of supporters.“
Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper will go through to final four if they get at least two points out of two remaining games. In case they don´t, they have to hope that Sviesa lose to Zemaitijos Dragunas. At the same time Kehra can not lose against LSPA more than nine points.
Jüri Lepp, head coach of Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper is well aware about the standings in table and wants to lose all tense already on saturday. „We are not going to hope that we win Tenax in last round. Even though they don´t have a single point in table, they have had misfortune and got many small losses. Discusses Lepp. „Moreover our squad have changed with years and at the moment we have to give everything we have against everyone. Our first goal is to reach to final four and because of that we don´t think about semi-finales yet. There is no difference against who we may play because all teams are strong.“
End of the road for Latvians
Latvians can´t say their last word in final four. For LSPA the maximum result can be no better than fifth, Tenax who have lost all games so far must satisfy with the seventh place this season.
Last hopes for LSPA were fall apart on sunday when they lost to Sviesa 34:28. „We had our own chanches, but they punished our mistakes with fast breaks.“ Remembers Andris Molotanovs after decisive duel. „Unfortunatly we didn´t go to Vilnius with our best squad because some players were injured or involved with personal duties. As we are not professionals we have had same outer-game factors affected us around the season. Even we are not fighting for the place in final four, last Baltic League games will be useful for us because so we can practice different tactics and gain self-confidence for important Latvian Championship games
Latvian league leader Tenax coach Ivars Zarins says that they will take these upcoming games as good trainings. „We focus on local league but we can easily lose our first place because we still are in trouble with injuries, in addition to that our main playmaker Martins Libergs went to Germany,“ describes Zarnis situation. „We have never had so bad year before. Everything start to go downhill already in the first match in Kehra and after that injuries have affected us turning the season. But still we are trying to play our best game and maybe we get our first points as well.
19.02. (at 15.20) Riia LSPA – HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper
19.02. (at 17.00) Dobele Tenax – Põlva Serviti
20.02. (at 13.00) Riia LSPA – Põlva Serviti
20.02. (at 14.00) Dobele Tenax – HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper
20.02. (at 14.00) Klaipeda Zemaitijos Dragunas – Vilniuse VHC Sviesa
Standings: Riihimäki Cocks 18 (from 12 games), Põlva Serviti 14 (10), Klaipeda Zemaitijos Dragunas 13 (11), HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper 11 (10), Vilniuse VHC Sviesa 11 (11), Riia LSPA 7 (10), Dobele Tenax 0 (10) punkti.
Best scorers: Kristo Järve (Riihimäki Cocks) 73, Valdar Noodla (Riihimäki Cocks) 72, Andrei Ternovõi (Põlva Serviti) 72, Vaidas Trainavicius (Vilniuse VHC Sviesa) 70, Oskars Arajs (Riia LSPA) 65, Janis Selge (Põlva Serviti) 60, Artis Kurmens (Riia LSPA) 49, Karolis Stropus (Klaipeda Zemaitijos Dragunas) 49, Martynas Zala (Vilniuse VHC Sviesa) 48, Olev Eensalu (HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper) 42 goals.
BHL press release