The French playoffs have started in a new format.
As we have already written, the playoffs will be held throughout three tournaments where the top four teams in the regular season participate. The teams didn’t carry the points from the regular season to the playoffs.
The first tournament was played in the pool Marx Dormoy in Lille, where Tourcoing was the host.
Marseille, the 1st-placed team in the regular season, recorded all three victories in Lille. Still, the big winner of the first tournament was Strasbourg, which qualified for the playoffs from 4th place in the regular season. Strasbourg lost only to Marseille and beat Noisy-le-Sec (2nd place in the regular season) and 3rd-placed Tourcoing.
After the first tournament, Marseille is 1st, and Strasbourg is in 2nd place. Noisy is 3rd with three points, while Tourcoing hasn’t won a single point in the home ground.
2022/23 French League, playoffs, Tournament 1 (Lille)
Marseille – Noisy-le-Sec 13:11 (6:3, 3:2, 2:4, 2:2)
Marseille: Corusillat 3, Bouet 3, Vukicevic 2, Vanpeperstraete 2, Olivon 1, Izdinsky 1, Marion-Vernoux 1
Noisy-le-Sec: Gogov 3, Bowen 3, Petkovic 2, Do Carmo 2, Krapic 1.
Tourcoing Lille – Strasbourg 7:15 (3:4, 2:5, 0:3, 2:3)
Tourcoing: D.Zivkovic 2, Draskovic 2, Marzouki 2, Canonne 1.
Strasbourg: Popadic 3, Buha 3, Canovas 2, Denux 2, Vitrant 1, Bachelier 1, Misic 1, Petkovic 1, I.Zivkovic 1.
The tournament started with the match between Marseille and Noisy-le-Sec, the teams that finished the regular season 1st and 2nd and played in the finals in the previous two championships. Marseille earned a crucial advantage between the 4th and the 12th minute. In the middle of the first period, the sides were tied at 2:2. Then, Marseille made a 5:1 run and jumped to an 8:3 lead. Noisy succeeded in coming back, but it didn’t equalize. Three minutes before the last break, Alex Bowen converted a penalty shot to cut the deficit to one (9:10). After that, Marseille kept Noisy goalless for more than eight minutes while it netted two goals. The reigning champion’s leftie Misha Izdinsky converted a man-up in the 30th minute for 12:9 and decided everything.
Strasbourg broke host Tourcoing thanks to the excellent middle two periods. The visitors entered the second quarter with a slim 4:3 advantage. Before the third quarter, they had a 9:5 lead. In the second period, Strasbourg killed Tourcoing’s last hope, scoring five goals in 14 minutes to go to 14:5 with two and a half minutes remaining.
Marseille – Strasbourg 18:12 (5:3, 3:4, 4:2, 6:3)
Marseille: Daube 3, Bodegas 3, Crousillat 2, Prlainovic 2, Vernoux 2, Vukicevic 2, Bouet 2, Olivon 1, Izdinsky 1.
Strasbourg: Vitrant 3, Canovas 2, Buha 2, Denux 2, Bachelier 1, Misic 1, Petkovic 1.
Noisy-le-Sec – Tourcoing 14:11 (3:3, 5:2, 3:3, 3:3)
Noisy-le-Sec (Cercle 93): Petkovic 7, Do Carmo 2, Bowen 2, Bjorch 1, Caumette 1, Gogov 1.
Tourcoing: D.Zivkovic 3, Kujacic 3, Dasic 2, Marzouki 2, Canonne 1,
A day after beating Tourcoing, Strasbourg didn’t surprise Marseille. Strasbourg is the only French club that beat Marseille this season (it happened in the 13th round – 13:12 after a penalty shootout). This time, the reigning champion didn’t let a new surprise happen. However, the game was an even contest for a long.
Marseille was two steps ahead of Strasbourg after the first eight minutes (5:3). Strasbourg leveled the score at 5:5. Marseille responded with two goals for 7:5 and from that point on, the title holder was always in front. However, Strasbourg didn’t let Marseille celebrate the win too early. It came very close several times (6:7, 7:8). A minute before the last break, two goals separated the rivals- Marseille led 11:9. Andrija Prlainovic closed the third period with a power-play goal for 12:9. Bodegas and Olivon added one goal each midway through the fourth period. Marseille extended its lead to five (14:9) and there was no way back for Strasbourg.
Noisy defeated Tourcoing in a game with 34 exclusions (Noisy’s players were sent off 20 times, and Tourcoing committed 14 personal fouls).
Noisy made a crucial advantage between the 6th and 12th minute. The Parisians netted four goals in that interval and turned around a 2:3 deficit to a 6:3 lead. Noisy maintained a 3-goal lead until the end of the third quarter (11:8).
The Parisians got into trouble in the fourth quarter because of many exclusions. The bench started becoming shorter and shorter. Five Noisy’s players finished the game before the final buzzer because of three personal fouls. Among them was the hero of the match Antonio Petkovic, who netted seven goals. On the other side, three players of Tourcoing committed three personal fouls.
The hosts reduced the gap to one after an action goal from Mehdi Marzouki in the 28th minute (10:11). Noisy rebuilt a three-goal lead (13:10) and left without Petkovic between its 12th and 13th goal. In the 31st minute, Tourcoing’s Dasic converted a penalty for 11:13. Still, Noisy didn’t let the home side go further. Denis Do Carmo ended the thriller with a goal from an extra player with 38 seconds left on the clock – 14:11.Noisy-le-Sec will host the second tournament (May 2 – 4). The playoffs will end with the tournament in Marseille (May 15 – 17). Strasbourg, the fourth-placed team won’t host the playoffs games
Noisy-le-Sec – Strasbourg 10:11 (2:2, 3:2, 2:4, 3:3)
Noisy-le-Sec (Cercle 93): Bowen 5, A, Petkovic 2, Gogov 1, Saudadier 1, Bjorch 1.
Strasbourg: Buha 3, Denux 2, M. Petkovic 2, Bachelier 1, Canovas 1, Popadic 1, I.Zivkovic 1.
Marseille – Tourcoing 17:11 (6:3, 7:3, 2:2, 2:3)
Marseille: Crousillat 4, Daube 2, Bouet 2, De Nardi 2, Prlainovic 1, Vernoux 1, Olivon 1, Bodegas 1, Vukicevic 1, Izdinsky 1, Vanpeperstraete 1.
Tourcoing: Draskovic 5, Dasic 2, Canonne 2, Mercier-Chaplain 1, M.Brguljan 1.
The encounter between Noisy and Strasbourg produced several twists and turns. The score was tied five times, and neither of the teams had a three-goal advantage. The Parisians entered the match as the favorites. They were the first team to build a 2-goal lead. Noisy, led by Alex Bowen, went to 4:2 in the middle of the second quarter. Strasbourg leveled at 4:4, but Noisy regained a 2-goal lead and maintained it until 7:5. Strasbourg’s comeback started midway through the third period. It scored three unanswered goals by the end of this quarter to enter the final period with an 8:7 advantage. Marko Petkovic extended Strasbourg’s series by converting a man-up in the 26th minute for 9:7.
Noisy caught up with Strasbourg in the 31st minute when Antonio Petkovic leveled at 10:10. Strasbourg’s leftie Ivan Zivkovic responded 36 seconds after, by converting a man-up from the deep right for 11:10. A minute and 23 seconds were left on the clock. Strasbourg kept a minimal advantage and can be very satisfied with its output at the tournament.
Tourcoing’s last chance to earn points in front of its fans was the most demanding match – against Marseille. The title-holder left no chance to Tourcoing, which was without Mehdi Marzouki. Marseille rushed to a 4:0 lead in the first six minutes. In the middle of the second quarter, Marseille already had a 7-goal advantage (10:3). Marseille maintained the difference until the middle break (13:6) and controlled the match in the second half.
1.Marseille 3 games – 9 points
2. Strasbourg 3 – 6
3. Noisy-le-Sec 3 – 3
4. Tourcoing 3 – 0