HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper
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News / Kehra beats Šviesa and becomes the last quarter-finalist
Baltic Handball League
Kehra beats Šviesa and becomes the last quarter-finalist
Regular season has finished! Baltic Handball League's 2017/18 season is entering the finishing straight – eight quarter-finalists will now battle for the places in the Final Four. Last of the eight only became clear in the final day of the regular season and it is former multiple BHL winner HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper, who left it so late, but managed to squeeze into quarter-finals.
Curiously, HC Kehra started the season with four straight defeats and basically they were on the bottom of Group A throughout the regular season, until the very last match. On Saturday, 11-time Estonian champion faced VHC Šviesa Vilnius at home and knew they need to beat Lithuanians by at least five goals and hope for Cocks Riihimäki winning against the same opposition day later.
Tomas Bernatavičius opened the scoring in Kehra, but hosts grabbed the game into their hands quickly and already by 11th minute had a 9-2 lead. Lithuanians fought well and by half-time it was still open with the score being 16-10.
Second half started slowly, but leading 18-12, Kehra enjoyed a 5-0 spell and the game was theirs to take. Final score 29-19 (David Mamporia and Indrek Normak 5 – Bernatavičius 8 goals) assured Kehra to overtake Šviesa and move into fourth place with both teams having collected seven points.
"We had an excellent game in defence," admits Kehra's head coach Kaupo Liiva. "Right from the start the co-operation between goalkeeper and defence worked brilliantly and in general Mikola Naum was very good in goal. The teamwork – which has been great lately – was again the key to our success."
On Sunday, Šviesa needed at least A point against Cocks, but the title-holder has been on a 35-game winning streak in BHL. And the BHL titleholder, who was playing their fourth (!) competitive match of the week, left nothing to choice. Inside seven minutes the Finns had taken a 7-1 lead.
Cocks continued to extend their lead, while also using all the players available after such a busy week in domestic league and EHF Cup. Half-time belonged to the hosts 15-7 and by the end of the final whistle Cocks extended their winning series with 30-21 win (Andre Udd 6 – Tadas Tumosas and Rosvaldas Ramunis 6).
BHL season continues already next week, as the two-legged quarter-finals will start. By next Sunday, we will even know the first participant of this season's Final Four, as Cocks and Granitas-Karys Kaunas will play their two matches over one weekend in Riihimäki.
In the other quarter-finals we have two pairs, who met last season exactly at the same stage, as ZRHK Tenax Dobele plays SKA Minsk and in all-Estonian quarter-final Serviti Põlva takes on Kehra. The fourth pair is ZTR Zaporozhye – Dragunas Klaipeda. BHL's Final Four will take place on 14th and 15th April, the host will be announced after the quarter-finals.