Barani – HSMH Banská Bystrica put on a huge performance at the first Bauer Elite Cup U16 tournament with a total of three wins in less than 27 hours. The team from the middle of Slovakia made a giant effort and beat two Austrian teams - Eishockey Akademie Steiermark 6-5 and Spusu Vienna Capitals on Saturday, and finished with a 7-6 win against FEHA19 on Sunday
"We didn’t prepare ourselves much differently, we knew that these games would quickly follow one after another, however, we didn’t expect only a 90 minute break between the first and second game! During the weekend we used 21 players therefore we played with four full lines each time,” explained Banská Bystrica Head Coach Andrej Mrena. "There was a big rink in the first game and we aren’t used to playing on the large one. The second game was placed in the main arena where Vienna really tested us and in my view it was the best game we played."
Not only was it a packed hockey schedule in Vienna, the young Slovak prospects didn’t have a lot of rest either. "We left Bystrica at 7:00 on Saturday, arriving less than two hours before the first game. It was a quick weekend as we travelled a lot. After the second game we went to Bratislava where we stayed overnight and again on Sunday we went back to Vienna."
Banská Bystrica came back from being 5-1 down at the end of the first period to a 7-6 win in a shoutout in their final game against Fehérvár Hoki Akadémia. "Sunday was a little bit worse because of our fatigue, but I have to say that guys did very well. Jakub Surovec, one of the goalies, was ill last week, and even after he was fit we wanted to give everyone a chance. In the end it wasn’t the best option, however it wasn’t his fault to concede five goals. The team then made a fantastic comeback and fought for him as well.”
How would Head Coach Mrena rate the international tournament after these first encounters? “Our opponents were a year older than us, we played with a U15 team and we liked it very much. Even a game with a team from another country is huge. If I have to compare us and these three opponents, I have to say we played better as a group overall," said Mrena.
"We wanted to experience something new, play quality games, make progress and all of that happened. We didn’t want to put too much pressure on the boys, we went into it with the knowledge of great experience for the future. We told the boys to put in 100% effort in every shift and they did that” he concluded.