Bratislava, Apr 11 : HC '05 Banska Bystrica made the best of their home advantage, beating Nitra 3-1 in game 2 of the playoff finals. Banska Bystrica, the defending champions of Slovakia's top ice hockey league Tipsport Liga, is now only two wins from achieving the championship hat-trick after securing titles in the two previous seasons.
Game 2 of the playoff finals started off with an equal performance on both sides and the fans in the sold-out arena had to wait until the second period to see the first goal. Andrej Stastny of the home team capitalized on the rebound after David Soltes' shot, putting the puck behind Juraj Simboch's back and scoring his very first goal of the season.
Nitra managed to even up the score in the 30th minute after Kale Kerbashian's individual play. However, the visitors' fans were not able to celebrate for long. Only 160 seconds later, defender Jordon Southorn put Banska Bystrica 2-1 ahead with a hard shot from below the blue line. Nitra tried in vain to restore parity again in the third period and had to pull their goalie with only two minutes left to play. Instead, it was the home players who prevailed and sealed the 3-1 win with an empty net goal by Brock Higgs. After the two matches in Banska Bystrica, the series will continue with two more on Nitra's home ice on Saturday and Sunday. (XINHUA)