Vitoria-Gasteiz defends title

Second Spanish championship for Basque team

19.03.2014
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The Bipolo Vitoria-Gasteiz players celebrate after winning the fourth game of the Spanish finals – and the championship. Photo: FEDH

PUIGCERDÀ, Spain – Bipolo Vitoria-Gasteiz won its second Spanish championship after 2013. Like last year they defeated CG Puigcerdà in a Basque-Catalan final series.

This time it was a bit less clear. While the Basques swept through the finals in 2013 they conceded one defeat and won this year’s finals 3-1.

Vitoria-Gasteiz started with convincing victories on home ice as hundreds of fans witnessed 6-2 and 5-1 victories in the first weekend of the finals. Spanish national team goalie Anders Alcaine stood strong in the net while several players scored on the opponent’s net including Alejandro Hernandez with three markers in the first two games.

The series went over to the Pyrenees for the second weekend in the hockey town of Puigcerdà. Two early goals from American import Casey William Brugman, who scored a hat trick in the game, led the way to Puigcardà’s 5-2 victory to cut the lead in the best-of-five series.

One day later Vitoria-Gasteiz seemed recovered from the loss. They capitalized on a penalty galore against Puigcerdà in the first period with goals from two of its import players, Finn Juha Ilmar Saikko and Czech Jakub Bauer. Saikko’s second marker and a pair of goals from Evan William MacKintosh led the way to a 5-2 win and the title defence.

The win came not as a surprise. Vitoria-Gasteiz didn’t lose any of its 20 regular-season games before losing one match each to CH Jaca in the semi-finals and to CG Puigcerdà in the final series. Puigcerdà, second in the regular-season, ousted Txuri-Urdin Donostia-San Sebastián in the other semi-final. FC Barcelona and SAD Majadahonda finished fifth and sixth respectively.

The national competitions in Spain will finish this weekend with the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup). The women’s championship was once again won by SAD Majadahonda.

MARTIN MERK

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