International Ice Hockey Federation

DVTK Jegesmedvek on top

DVTK Jegesmedvek on top

“Threepeat” as MOL League Champions

Published 15.08.2018 07:28 GMT+2 | Author Szabolcs Zavodszky
DVTK Jegesmedvek on top
DVTK Jegesmedvek from Miskolc celebrates the MOL Liga title.
For the first time in league history there is a club that has won three titles and also won three championships in a row.
It sounds like the same story every year in the MOL League, or at least the past three seasons. There is a new team in the league that played well surprisingly well, the regular season was the most exciting regular season up until now, and at the end of the season the team from Miskolc is crowned MOL League champion. 

The best part of all of this is that it is actually true and that is what is so exciting about the MOL League every year. Except for the part that DVTK Jegesmedvek have won the league three years in a row, fans of the other teams might not like this so much.

During the offseason two new teams joined the MOL League, as the number of teams grew to eleven. The league expanded to Serbia as HK Beograd joined, with the support of the Serbian federation in an effort to strengthen the national team. A third team from Romania, CSM Dunarea Galati joined the league as well, Galati also happened to be the Romanian champions.

The regular season was modified to 40 games as each team would play everyone else twice at home and twice on the road. With the top eight teams making the playoffs and each series being a best out of seven. 

Overall the final standings finished up as expected with a few surprises. If any of the coaches were asked during the regular season they would tell you that there were no guaranteed wins during the schedule, and this was reflected in some of the scores during the regular season.

Last season SC Csikszereda was in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season, this season they were stuck in the gate at the start of the season and were never able to make up the difference. Beograd, also had a slow start but started to pick up points and upset teams as the season progressed, they defeated DVTK on the road to prove that they should not be taken lightly. The Serbian club showed enough that in the years to come they are team that can become a regular playoff contender.

The other expansion team in the league, Gatai also showed that they belong as they just missed out on the playoffs. However the team lost ten out of their last twelve games with some of them being pretty bad defeats, as if a switch was turned off for the season. The next step for this team would be to be able to play an entire season from start to finish.

Thanks to Galati falling apart during the season Ferencvaros and Fehervar made it into the playoffs. The Budapest team Ferencvaros had two sides to their season as they were red hot at the start and the finish but injuries decimated the lineup during the middle part of the season. Last season Fehervar AV19 lost in the semi finals in game seven, this year there was a coaching change and management decided to build around players coming up from the academy instead of relying just on import players. The team had some growing pains but they made the playoffs for a second year in a row. 

Debrecen, Brasov and Dunaújváros finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively during the regular season with only a few points separating the three teams. After not making the playoffs last season Dunaújváros did an overhaul to their roster and finished in sixth place. Brasov who finished in last place a year before also went out and spent some cash to make a jump all the way up to 5th. Debrecen is only in its third season in the league but have improved in the standings every season. They had a coaching change during the regular season that sparked them at the end of the season.

From the start of the season the top three teams all season were UTE, MAC Budapest and DVTK. UTE had a hot streak in December and January but ran out of gas as the season was closing and finished in third place. The top two teams when the regular season came to a close were the same two as the year before, with DVTK winning the regular season title.

The change to a best out of seven format brought real excitement to the playoffs. Three out of the four first round matchups went to seven games, with UTE defeating Dunaujvaros in overtime of game seven to move on to the semi finals. DVTK got past Ferencvaros after they were down 0-2. Debrecen and Brasov also went the full seven games. The only series that finished up earlier was MAC getting past Fehervar in 5 games. 

In the semifinals MAC face a Debrecen team that had been decimated by injuries and had trouble dressing three lines, let alone a full roster, MAC advanced to the finals in 5 games. On the other side DVTK was peaking at the right time, after losing the opening game to UTE they won four in a row with ease to set up a rematch of last year’s MOL League finals.

DVTK was going for their third title in a row and had won the previous two by sweeping their opponents. The defending champions won the opening game in overtime and were on a 9-game finals winning streak when MAC shut them out 3-0 in the second game of the series. Game three and four were both 4-3 victories for DVTK, game five as expected was not a cakewalk as the two time defending champions came from behind to win 2-1 and to become the first tema in MOL League history to “threepeat”.

“They are a great group of guys they came into camp and worked hard from the start.” said DVTK Head Coach Doug Bradley after the final game. “Their work effort was great all season and I am proud to be their coach. We were tested in the first round against Ferencváros and had great series against UTE and MAC as well.”

Final Regular Season Standings:

DVTK Jegesmedvek
MAC Budapest
Debreceni HK
ASC Corona Brasov
Dunaujvarosi Acelbikak
Ferencvarosi TC
Fehervar AV19
CSM Dunarea Galati
HK Beogard
SC Csikszereda


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