Ten minutes of play were needed to overcome the longest extra-league game. However, the transcription of the story was prevented by Tomáš Pavelka, who woke up the tired but still actively cheering O2 arena. After David Tomášek’s pass, he pushed the skating puck behind Petr Kváč. The eruption of enthusiasm did not surprise the hall roof into the stratosphere.
Praguers even enjoyed joy more than twice. The folks at Liberec logically reached out for the coaching challenge, but the referees clearly assessed the situation in the video: it wasn’t an active kick. Goal. And so the players jumped on each other again. “Someone laid me there, I screamed for them to get out of me. I couldn’t breathe, ”Pavelka breathed during the conversation, leaning against the tired wall.
The local hero came with his partner Adam Polášek for an interview, who even scored two goals in the game. When he was about to pass journalists on television, he would beg for a chair. The fatigue was brutal. The match lasted more than four and a half hours of galley.
“Party? No! Certainly not me, I’m going home,” Pavelek said, shaking his head. “If I went somewhere to the pub now, I would immediately fall asleep on the table, the so-called superman,” laughed Polášek “It was very demanding mentally and physically. I had full teeth. Everyone had had enough, we were happier,” admitted the author of the decisive blow, which ended the series.
Let the kids get up, I’ll write them an apology
The execution teams had to react to the development of the match, which reached third overtime. The Spartans had pizza in the cabin, drinking cola. Lots of energy gels fell. “They worked a lot. Then also fruit and just cola. Just fast sugars to come back. Nothing special,” said Tomáš Filippi on behalf of Liberec. “During the breaks I drank about a liter of cola , which has never happened to me. There was chocolate, Twix cookies, quick sugars. Anything that will provide energy straight away,” added goalkeeper Petr Kváča.
While the players had enough food, there was a crisis in the stands. The stalls have been sold, all the supplies are gone. Sausages, hot dogs? Bad luck. Only popcorn was available. Despite the late hours of the night, few wanted to go home. Most spectators only had to bounce back to park their cars during the break before the third overtime, with the car park closing at 11:30 p.m.
You could see exhausted faces or children sleeping in their parents’ arms. “To all the boys, I would like to thank the fans for staying here for so long. Let the kids come to me, I’ll write everyone an apology so they can come to school later. Same for their parents at work,” Pavelka smiles. “I had kids here, so I don’t know what I’m going to do with them. At eight o’clock in the morning, I get a slap on the forehead, like: Dad, get up! But the people were amazing. We spent two years playing in front of an empty hall. We missed that, it’s a playoff,” added Polášek.
Sparta – Liberec: Sparta is in the semi-finals! Pavelka decided the second longest game in the history of the extra-league, 5: 4
Freedom for coaches
The whole match was accompanied by seething emotions. At the exit of the locker room after the first period, there was even a push in the tunnel. “It belongs to him. We were better, we played better hockey. They tried everything. They didn’t want to play a lot, they tried to defend themselves, to destabilize us, “says the huge bearded man.
Sparta beat Liberec in the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years. Prior to that, she last achieved it in the semi-finals in 2007. Since then, she has lost four times with the Tigers. “It was personal. We experienced several exclusions with them, it was special,” admitted Pavelka.
Journalists did not qualify anywhere after the interviews. Traditional stress with deadline? Certainly not. By the end of the duel, everything must have been in the printer for a long time. So no one could read anything about the result in Tuesday’s newspaper. For example, the coaches did not come to the interviews until after midnight, so the referees could comment calmly, because it was already “the day after the match”.
“I think Liberec can be satisfied,” commented on the judges’ performance by home coach Josef Jandač. The animosity between the two sides is also illustrated by the image that appeared on the cube above the ice immediately after Pavel’s goal. It was the time of his trip to Liberec, but with a stop in the valley of Plakánek.