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News / ZTR and Cocks to meet in the final!

Baltic Handball legue

2017.04.08 20:36

ZTR and Cocks to meet in the final!

The finalists of the 2016/17 BHL season are ZTR Zaporozhye and Cocks Riihimäki. ZTR beat Final Four hosts Serviti Põlva 31-23 (14-13) and title-holder Cocks won a thrilling and high-scoring second semi-final against SKA Minsk 36-35 (21-18).

In the opening semi-final the first half was very tight. ZTR got a two-goal lead, especially due to a great performance by Andrii Akimenko, who had scored six goals when the score was 8-6! Serviti changed their defensive formation, marking the left-handed Akimenko personally and took the Ukrainians by surprise.

Ukrainians turned the game in the second half

Change of goalkeepers also helped, as Denis Lõokene came in and made some crucial saves. Suddenly it was Serviti, who had a 13-12 lead. However, scoring remained a problem with Oleksandr Popov being good in goal and Estonians finding the cross-bar more often than a goal. ZTR took a minimal lead of 14-13 into the dressing room.

BHL newcomer ZTR made adjustments during half-time and were quickly up by four goals for the first time in the game. Serviti fought back to 23-21 by 45th minute, but then remained ten minutes without a single success and Ukrainian club slipped away. The final whistle saw ZTR claiming a 31-23 victory and a place to the Sunday's final.

Akimenko eventually scored 9 goals for the winners, who only had five players on the scoresheet. Playmaker Oleksandr Tilte and Roman Severyn scored 7 goals, while Henri Sillaste was Serviti's best with 5 goals. It should also be noticed that BHL's top goalscorer Oleksii Ganchev did not recover from his injury for this match and was missing.

Thrilling and high-scoring win for Cocks

The second semi-final was a replay of last year's decisive match. SKA had a better start and was mostly one goal up for the opening ten minutes. However, the gamble of replacing the goalkeeper with a field-player did not pay off and even Cocks' keeper Kiril Morozov managed to score one goal.

Powerful Teemu Tamminen and Nico Rönnberg were the key factors, while right-winger Andrei Novoselov proved to be too quick and clever for SKA's defence. Cocks took the lead halfway through the first half, quickly extended it to four goals and won the very high-scoring first 30 minutes by 21-18.

It was much the same for 15 minutes after the break and Cocks was ahead 29-24. SKA switched to 5-1 defence and also made a 5-1 sprint to cut the deficit in goals to minimum. The match then became a shooting competition between Teemu Tamminen and Aliaksei Shynkel – both scored goals to every taste.

With last two minutes starting Mikita Vailupau made it 35-34, Tamminen replied, but just 18 seconds later Shynkel scored to make it 36-35. Tamminen then missed and after SKA's time-out Cocks' former SKA-player Aliaksandr Bachko was penalized for two minutes.

The final attack was played to Vailupau with just three seconds on the clock remaining, but Cocks' goalkeeper Kiril Morozov saved! Unstoppable Tamminen scored 14 goals for the winners with Rönnberg and Novoselov assisting with 6 goals. Shynkel eventually reached 11 goals with experienced Ivan Brouka scoring 7.

Final matches of the 2016/17 season on Sunday:

12:00  3rd place play-off: Serviti Põlva – SKA Minsk

14:30  Final: ZTR Zaporozhye – Cocks Riihimäki