Kometa Brno Are Champions Again!
HC Kometa Brno defended its Tipsport extraliga hockey title when it dominated host Oceláři Třinec in Game 5 of the Finals on Sunday night. Photo: Hynek Zohorna led Kometa with nine goals in the postseason. Photo credit: Vit Novak.
Brno, Apr 22 (BD) – Kometa won its 13th title, the most of any team in national history.
Hundreds of fans travelled to north Moravia to watch the game in person and thousands gathered in Zelný trh to watch the game on large screens. Many parts of the City of Brno are partying through the night. A lot of fans will no doubt be waiting for the team bus to return to celebrate with the players.
The final score of Game 5 was the same as the overall tally of the Final series: Třinec 1, Kometa 4.
“Brno is the most hockey-dominant place in the Czech Republic!” said Robert Zaruba of Czech TV after the game.
Kometa lost Game 1 of the Finals in Třinec, then quickly regained their winning form. By Game 4, Třinec had resorted to pulling its goaltender in the second period. In Game 5, Třinec was overwhelmed, despite their red-and-white home crowd.
Brno started that final game strong and never let up: Hynek Zohorna scored the first time Kometa had the puck in the offensive zone less than a minute into the game; budding superstar Martin Nečas scored in the ninth minute on a long-distance slap shot; and Alexandre Mallet put Kometa up, 0-3, when he scored a shorthanded goal in the 17th minute. Zohorna scored again in the 56th minute, giving him a team-high nine goals in the playoffs.
Kometa won titles mostly during its Golden Years when they were the dominant team of Czechoslovakian hockey: between 1955 and 1966 they failed to win the title only once (1959). Then came some dark days, particularly the 1990s and early 2000s when the team struggled in the second and third leagues for almost two decades.
Libor Zábranský, a former NHL and national team player who was born in Brno in 1973, took control of the club in 2005. He has served as the owner, general manager and head coach. In 2009, Kometa purchased the top division license from the Znojmo team and returned to the top league. They have proven that they belong ever since. They finished second in the league in the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons.
In 2016-17 they went 12-2 in the playoffs and swept Liberec for the title.
This year, Kometa was again 12-2 in the playoffs. They defended the title by sweeping HC Vítkovice Ridera in the quarterfinals, beating Plzeň four games to one in the semifinals, and beating Třinec four games to one in the finals
Captain Leoš Čermák, the 40-year-old veteran, has been with the team since 2011.
Last year, Martin Erat arrived. He played in the NHL and he was the captain of the 2018 Czech Olympic hockey team in South Korea. He had five goals in this postseason, including a legendary last-minute goal to win Game 3 of the semifinals.
Nečas, who is 19 years old, really came into his own during the playoffs. He had four goals and three assists in the post season. He has already been drafted into the NHL.
Marek Čiliak was a brick wall in goal, particularly in the postseason.
During the regular season, Alexandre Mallet led the team with 15 goals and 13 assists. Martin Zaťovič (13 goals, 17 assists), Martin Dočekal (10, 12) and Tomáš Vincour (10, 10) also reached double digits in goals; Erat should also be on the list: he had 12 goals and an astounding 34 assists during the regular season.
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