Austrian ice hockey players are few and far between in the ICE league. Clubs are well-advised to get involved early on, especially when it comes to local players, so as not to look through their fingers when planning a squad. Earlier than in previous years, the Villach Adler also began to set the course for the next season(s). With Alexander Rauchenwald and Marco Richter, those responsible have already come to an agreement over the past few weeks, and now they have been able to follow suit. Kitzbühel loan Niklas Wetzl, who has made a solid impression alongside Derek Joslin so far, has signed a two-year contract with the Adler. “A dream has come true for me. Half a year ago I would never have believed that I would be able to play for VSV”, the defender is happy about the trust.
Kevin Moderer, on the other hand, hasn’t been in the VSV squad since Thursday, who surprisingly canceled his contract and just didn’t play against his home club anymore. Maybe the Adler would have done it a little easier against the Graz 99ers with the heart of a fighter. Right from the start, the blue and whites tried to impose their game on the very structured guests. Ken Ograjensek was able to give the visitors the lead in the fifth minute, but just two minutes later Nick Mattinen scored to make it 1-1. After that, not much happened for a long time. VSV tried hard to make the game, but the 99ers kept switching quickly and embarrassing VSV time and time again.
At half-time, Rob Daum’s team had the lead on the stick for the first time several times, but were unable to put the puck in the goal for the time being. Arturs Kulda only hit the bar, Andrew Desjardins (twice) and Chris Collins missed from a promising position. It wasn’t until twelve minutes before the end that the time had finally come. Anthony Luciani gave Blue and White the deserved lead, but the game was far from over. When Collins hit the empty 99ers goal two minutes before the end, the Grazers came back through Sam Antonitsch. With combined forces, the Villacher Adler brought the hard-fought 3:2 over the last few seconds.