Cracovia earned its spot in the round of four of the Polish Hockey League’s playoffs, having defeated Energa Stoczniowiec Gdańsk in two straight games on their home ice on ul. Siedleckiego in Krakow. While the red-and-whites achieved the result expected of them against Gdańsk, who finished the regular season in seventh place to Cracovia’s first, the “Shipwrights” showed surprising grit during both games. Cracovia is now to face Zagłebie Sosnowiec in the semi-finals.
Stoczniowiec began the series by digging themselves into a deep hole in game one. They first gave up a goal from short range to Cracovia’s captain Daniel Laszkiewicz on a pass from his brother Leszek, then as the first period was ending, Gdańsk defender Wojciech Jankowski lunged to knock down an off-target shot from Mikołaj Łopuski, only to succeed in slapping it into his own goal. Cracovia continued to dominate into the third period, when a chaotic series of fouls complicated by confusion among the referees put them on a long penalty kill, during which Stoczniowiec tied the game at 5-5. Cracovia’s Łopuski scored the game winner in the 58th minute on an assist from Dawid Musiał.
Game two showed both the strength of Stoczniowiec’s nerve and weaknesses in Cracovia’s offence, as neither team was able to find the net until midway through the third period, when Michał Piotrkowski scored a shorthanded goal in the 51st minute, followed up by one from Michał Radwanski in the 57th.
The Cracovian squad will lace up next against Pol-Aqua Zabłębie Sosnowiec on 25 and 26 February, with both games at home. Cracovia will only need two victories to advance to the finals, while Sosnowiec would need three, as a result of the “bonus rule”, wherein Cracovia receives an advantage because they won more regular-season matches against one another.
Tickets are available at the Red Box Store at Wielicka 101 in Podgórze, the Cracovia fan shop Bronx at Mielselsa 4 in Kazimierz, and at the box office at ul. Siedleckiego 7. Men’s individual tickets are 25 złoty, ladies’ and children’s’ under 12 years old are 1 złoty, and tournament passes are 150 złoty.