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HC Erlangen battles its way to home win against BHC

Erlangen, 03-06-2020

HC Erlangen celebrated a 28:26 home victory over Bergischer HC on Thursday evening. Despite twice trailing by five goals, the club from Franconia – fired on by 4,237 fans – fought its way back into the game and rewarded them and itself for a strong fighting display by taking two points.

The encounter refereed by Hanspeter Brodbeck and Simon Reich in the ARENA NÜRNBERGER Versicherung on Thursday evening was the anticipated fiercely contested tussle – as reflected by the fact that they dished out a total of 15 time penalties, five yellow cards and one red card. The visitors from the Bergisches Land region got off to the better start in the encounter on the 27th game day. Fabian Gutbrod notched up the first goal of the game, after which Sime Ivic equalized with a beautiful shot from the backcourt. No one could have guessed that was the last occasion the scores would be tied for quite a time, as the Bergische Lions surged 5:10 ahead by the 12th minute, mainly thanks to easy goals on the first or second wave. Since the HCE’s defense became more and more stable as the game progressed, and Antonio Metzner repeatedly found a way to score after being brought on, Erlangen reduced the deficit to 11:12 in the 20th minute. Johannes Sellin, who like his teammate Antonio Metzner finished with a total haul of eight goals, caused the arena to erupt vociferously with joy for the first time when he reliably buried a seven-meter penalty to tie the encounter at 12:12. Csaba Szücs, who was only able to stop Antonio Metzner with a rough foul, saw a direct red card in the 26th minute, leaving the BHC short-handed for a time. The encounter remained a neck-and-neck affair up the break, although the visitors kept the upper hand and went in at half-time with a 14:16 advantage.

The opening phase of the second half was almost a carbon copy of the first: HC Erlangen squandered too many chances and the BHC stretched the gap to 17:21 in the space of seven minutes. Everything now seemed to be going against HC Erlangen, but the team had been well prepared by their coaching duo and fought tooth and nail to avoid the impending defeat. As if transformed, Johannes Sellin and his teammates started a sensational comeback. The fans in the ARENA never tired of spurring their team on, with the result that Johannes Sellin tied the scores at 22:22 with 15 minutes remaining. Nikolai Link, who gave his all for the team despite his foot injury, ensured the necessary stability in defense. Sebastian Hinze was forced to call a timeout. However, this did not bear fruit, since the home side continued to fight with passion and Nikolas Katsigiannis now also became a key factor in Erlangen’s game. He saved a seven-meter penalty from Jeffrey Boomhouwer in the 47th minute to pave the way for Florian von Gruchalla to keep his cool from the penalty spot and put his side 23:22 ahead to the jubilation of the crowd. From then on none of the spectators was able to remain seated. The HC fans in the stands fired their team on at the top of their voice in the remaining 13 minutes. Inspired by the brilliant atmosphere, Erlangen now pulled further and further in front. It also refused to be thrown off its stride when the BHC brought on a seventh field player. And when a shot was on target on its goal, Nikolas Katsigiannis was on hand. In the end, HC Erlangen rewarded itself for a strong fighting performance by picking up the two points with a 28:26 home victory.

“We knew how important the game was and were very focused in the past few days. Even though not everything came off today, the team fought selflessly and never gave up. I’d especially like to thank every single spectator in the arena. You saw today what power came from the stands,” said Kevin Schmidt afterwards.

Erlangen now has just under two weeks to prepare for its next challenge. It travels to Rhine-Neckar Lions on March 19, before playing GWD Minden at home on March 26.