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HC Erlangen celebrates its first home win of 2019 by beating Bergischer HC

Nuremberg, 02-21-2019

The HC captured its first home win of 2019 on Thursday evening. Thanks to a strong performance in defense and an outstanding Nikolas Katsigiannis between the posts, HC Erlangen did not give the Bergische Lions a look-in and won by the deserved margin of 26:18 (12:9).

HC Erlangen, who were determined to fight all the way going into the game, dominated the opening spell. After 49 seconds, Nico Büdel provoked the opposing side into conceding a two-minute penalty with a plucky one-on-one action. Michael Haaß put his side 1:0 ahead a few seconds later. Keeper Katsigiannis then produced the next highlight, spectacularly saving the seven-meter penalty from the Icelandic international Gunnarsson to the delight of the HC’s fans. HC Erlangen returned to its old strength in defense. The club from Franconia fought for every ball, engaged uncompromisingly in every duel, and captured possession time and again – such as in the 10th minute, when Schäffer won the ball and sent Johannes Sellin away on a fast break to make the score 4:2. After a 2-minute penalty against Christopher Bissel, the Bergische Lions clawed their way back to tie the encounter at 5:5, yet with his side short-handed Büdel restored the lead with a set shot that was measured at 111 km/h. A fiercely contested affair ensued in which neither team was able to open up a decisive gap. With his side short-handed, Steinert made it 9:7 and Gunnarsson reduced the deficit to 9:8 on the next attack. In the 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the HC managed to open up a two-goal gap thanks to magnificent defending and stretched the lead to 12:9 at the break, not least because Katsigiannis saved another seven-meter penalty.

After the break the visitors were again thwarted by the strong Katsigiannis, who brilliantly saved another seven-meter penalty. Steinert extended the gap to 13:9 under time pressure and the HC’s defensive ranks remained focused and aggressive. In offense, it was mainly the home side’s backcourt players who impressed and repeatedly found ways to unlock the opposing side’s defense and create good chances. The club from Franconia pulled 17:11 ahead after 37 minutes, forcing the visitors’ head coach to call a timeout. The Lions cut the deficit to 17:13 while short-handed, but Thümmler made it 18:13 a little later. Szücs was penalized with his third 2-minute penalty after a foul on Büdel and so had to sit out the game from the 45th minute on. With his side with an extra man on court, Sellin stretched the lead to 19:13 and a few seconds later Michael Haaß slammed the ball into the net to make it 20:13. Sebastian Hinze’s last timeout did nothing to change the fact that HC Erlangen was insuperable in defense. The central block operated outstandingly in harmony with Katsigiannis and repeatedly forced the Bergische Lions to run the risk of being penalized for passive play, with the result that they had to shoot from poor positions. When Katsigiannis was not busy saving shots, he even proved dangerous as a scorer, for example in the 57th minute when he threw the ball into the visitors’ empty net to make it 25:17. The 4,050 spectators in the ARENA NÜRNBERGER Versicherung eventually saw the home side run out winners by 26:18.

“We played with enormous heart today. In particular, I’m very proud of my team’s fighting display. Everyone fought for each other and went out and played the way we’d discussed in the past days,” was how the HC’s Head Coach Aðalsteinn Eyjólfsson analyzed the encounter afterwards.