Cracovia Comarch is set to face GKS Tychy again on Tuesday in their final showdown before the Polish Ice Hockey League regular season ends on 9 February. While both teams have as much as assured their play-off slots, it remains mathematically possible for Cracovia to slide into second place, conceding the home ice advantage in any play-off series they should play against each other. With strong goaltending at both ends of the ice, and Cracovia hoping to rally after a painful loss in Tychy last week, fans can expect a tough, gritty battle between Poland’s best ice hockey clubs.
While Cracovia has consistently been able to manhandle virtually every team in the PLH with a strong passing game and speedy counter-attacking, a point they emphasized by shutting out GKS Jastrzębie 4:0 on Sunday, beating them for the eighth time this season, Tychy has proven to be a very tough nut to crack. They are the only team in the PLH with a winning record against Cracovia, at 5:2
That has in significant measure been thanks to canny work in the net by goalkeeper Arkadiusz Sobecki, undeniably one of the league’s best. Sobecki and Tychy’s tenacious defence have frequently been able to neutralize Cracovia’s top scoring line, manned by brothers Daniel and Leszek Laszkiewicz. Leszek leads the PLH in both points and goals, and is second in assists.
While Cracovia has kept their two excellent goaltenders in rotation, Marek Rączka is likely to start on Tuesday. At age 30, Rączka has blossomed this season. Having played a rather shaky backup to star goalie Rafał Radziszewski in recent years, he rose to the occasion when Radziszewski struggled early in the season after an injury over the summer. Rączka now boasts a save percentage of 92 percent, equalling Sobecki and just shading Radziszewski himself, who is at 91 percent. After a strong performance at home on Tuesday, 26 January against Zagłębie Sosnowiec, the fans chanted his name repeatedly, and as the Cracovia players lined up for the final cheer of the evening, team captain Daniel Lszkiewicz pushed Rączka to the front to receive a long-awaited fanfare.
The match will be played at ul. Siedleckiego 7 at 18:00. Tickets are 10 złoty for men, 1 złoty for ladies, children under 12 free. Cracovia’s final home stand of the regular season will be on Tuesday, 9 February against bitter Małopolska rivals Wojas Podhale.