After leading 3-6, Jug had to save a point at the end

Day 6, Group B – Genesys-OSC (HUN) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 9-9

OSC took the lead with a fine centre shot after a minute or so, while Jug needed four minutes to find the back of the net. Though once the Croats hit the first, they added two in quick succession – the three goals came in a span of 1:51 minutes –, while OSC struggled to penetrate the rivals’ defence. When Loren Fatovic scored in the last second of the first for 1-4, the hosts seemed to be in trouble already.

With some luck, Vince Vigvari pulled one back from a dying man-up and soon more signs followed that the Hungarians were still alive – they killed a man-down and deep into the fourth did a nice play in a 6 on 5 for 3-4. The Croats seemed a bit lost once more in offence and could score again after four minutes – Ivan Vukojevic surprised the goalie from a sharp angle. That made some difference, and it was just enhanced by Toni Popadic who stopped Krisztian Manhercz’s penalty. Jug then needed two man-ups to score once, they regained the ball twice in the first, then the second ended in an easy put-away for Matias Biljaka. OSC earned another penalty with 15 seconds to go, and this time Daniel Angyal made no mistake, so it stood 4-6 at halftime.

A quick exchange of man-up goals kicked off the third period, then Manhercz – who had netted the previous one – missed an extra but stood up for the next penalty, earned in a 6 on 5, and this time he sent the ball home for 6-7. Then his following shot was saved by Popadic, however, a counter after a turnover foul brought the sides back to even as Marton Toth easily scored from the one-on-one for 7-7. The Magyars had two possessions to take the lead – denied Jug in a 6 on 5 in between – but couldn’t create any a real threat, though Jug weren’t on top in offence either, could not score in the last 5:45 minutes of this quarter.

And the inevitable came early in the fourth when Vigvari managed to stun Popadic from the perimeter with a distant shot. The Croats’ faced higher and higher mountains to climb – they missed another man-up (a block denied them), then Popadic delivered two saves in a man-down, but the defenders couldn’t clear the ball and Angyal pushed it in from close range for 9-7. Reserve goalie Daniel Bisztritsanyi, jumped in for the second half, did an amazing job, posted a series of saves, including another one in a man-down so with 3 minutes left – and 10:45 gone since their last goal – Vjeko Kobescak had to call for a time-out. That helped, Fatovic could finally send the ball behind the veteran goalie with a fine one-timer in another 6 on 5 so it was 9-8 with 2:33 to go.

OSC’s next man-up came after a time-out but that had no similar effect, as young Vigvari’s shot was blocked, but the good old left hand of Maro Jokovic also missed the target in Jug’s 6 on 5. Not the next shot though, from action he equalised with 40 seconds remaining on the clock. It was 0:23 when OSC got a last man-up, but they didn’t go for a shot in a promising position and the Croats made a steal, thus the teams had to settle for a draw. Jug were perhaps the happier with that as they managed to climb out from a really deep hole.

How they saw it

Daniel Varga, coach, OSC

“First of all, congrats for both teams, I think we played a good game and at the end we got one-one point. Nobody can be satisfied with that. We started the game very slowly, both in thinking and in moving, then we changed the pace, and it became a great match. We were two goals up at the end, this team need to learn how to keep this advantage against such a quality team like Jug. This game proved once more that we are able to play at this level, so we have everything we need to catch the fourth place and qualify for the Final Eight.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug

“It was a very hard match as it was expected. In the end, both teams should be satisfied with the draw, but dissatisfied as well. We played a bad game, in the first part we had problems with our defence, then OSC changed the goalie who stepped up for the game, while we started having problems in offence. Luckily, we scored those last two goals which saved a point for us, but we didn’t play with discipline and that was a big problem, also didn’t have the right choices of shots. All in all, both goalkeepers were amazing, they were the best in the pool this evening.”