It was an exciting weekend in the Dutch league. Reigning national champion GZC Donk and title favorite AZC were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the play-offs (best-of-three). Polar Bears, ZVL-1886, Het Ravijn and ZV De Zaan qualified for the semis.
As number 8 in the regular competition, ZVL-1886 caused a resounding surprise by eliminating title candidate AZC. Both on Friday and Saturday, John van den Burg’s team was too strong. Especially on Friday, the Leiden team was supreme. In Alphen aan den Rijn, AZC was powerless for a long time. In the second and third period, ZVL turned a 5-3 deficit into a 6-14 lead. Only in the last three minutes did the home side manage to score three more times. A day later, ZVL kept the winning points in-house. It was a lot more exciting than on Friday. AZC came back to 11-11 in the last period. It was Attila Kincses who eventually scored the winning 12-11 and thus continued the Leiden road towards the finals. It means the end of (another) disappointing season for the ‘star ensemble’ of AZC.
The season is also over for national champion GZC Donk. Polar Bears eliminated the team from Gouda in two games. On Friday, GZC Donk had to chase after a flying start by Polar Bears (0-3). Ingmar Veenhuis’s team initially succeeded in this; the score was turned to a 6-5 lead. It was evenly matched until 8-8 at the start of the fourth period. Then Polar Bears took matters into their own hands again. Via Lars ten Broek (2x) and Tarik Scherrenburg, the team from Ede ran out to 8-11. GZC Donk came back to 10-11, but that was Gouda’s last feat of arms. In the end it was 10-14. On Saturday it became 12-9 in Ede. Often the difference was no more than one goal. With four minutes left on the clock, Polar Bears opened up a gap. Sam Kunz and Rick Meijer put the home team at 11-8. Quint van den Heuvel brought the tension back one and a half minutes before the end, but in the last minute Kunz finally closed the door for GZC Donk with his third goal of the evening.
Het Ravijn also placed in the last four. That required a penalty shoot-out on Saturday. After the win on Friday (12-9) the teams were completely evenly matched on Saturday, as is often the case this season. In the final phase Benjamin Hoepelman seemed to secure the Utrecht win and thus force a third game, but Hugo Wouters made the 10-10 five seconds before the end. Because there must be a winner in the play-offs, penalties had to make the decision. Hoepelman missed the last Utrecht penalty, which means that Het Ravijn qualified for the next round.
A third match between ZV De Zaan and ZPC Amersfoort had to decide who would get the last spot in the semi-finals. Brand new cup winner ZV De Zaan was the lucky one in the end. On Friday, the team from Zaandam won (10-8), but on Saturday, Amersfoort was too strong. On Sunday, both teams gave each other little either, but the 11-10 was enough for ZV De Zaan for a place in the last four. It was not easy for ZV De Zaan. Amersfoort players Sebastiaan van Mil and Milan Borcsok immediately indicated that they would not simply accept the role of underdog. Don Rempt put things right, as a result of which the first period ended in 2-2. In the second period, ZV De Zaan ran out to 5-3 and had every chance to suppress Amersfoort further. However, ZPC managed to hook up again. Clement Stegman excelled in the goal and Max van der Werve scored the 5-4 from a beautiful attack. After that it remained very exciting. The teams entered the final period with an 8-8 score. No goals were scored in the first three minutes. With five minutes left on the clock, it was Van Mil who found the net again, but Tim Ketelaars quickly straightened the score. After a quick swim by Bakker, De Zaan took the lead again and when Phil Brantjes scored from power play (11-9) the game was over with just over a minute to play. Van Mil passed Ted Huijsmans once more, but the Zaan victory was no longer in danger.
Next week, ZV De Zaan will play against Het Ravijn for a place in the final. The other semifinal (best-of-three) will be between Polar Bears and ZVL-1886.
Play-offs quarterfinals (best-of-three)
Friday 13 May
AZC – ZVL-1886: 9-15 (4-3, 2-7, 0-4, 3-1).
AZC: Jesse Nispeling 5, Robin Lindhout 3, Thomas Glansdorp 1.
ZVL: Stan van Ruiten 4, David Spijker 3, Claudio Brancatello 2, Mark Visser 2, Jasper Haasnoot 1, Yannick van den Burg 1, Max Reijchard 1, Attila Kincses 1.
GZC DONK – Polar Bears: 10-14 (2-3, 4-2, 1-3, 3-6).
GZC Donk: Stan van den Heuvel 4, Tijs Schouwerwou 3, Guus van Yperen 1, Mart van der Weijden 1, Quint van den Heuvel 1.
Polar Bears: Kas te Riele 5, Sander Roels 3, Lars ten Broek 3, Tarik Scherrenburg 2, Marnick Snel 1
Het Ravijn – UZSC: 12-9 (4-3, 4-3, 1-2, 3-1).
Het Ravijn: Bas ter Brake 3, Emiel Wouters 2, Jorn Muller 2, Hugo Wouters 2, Lars Gottemaker 1, Jorrit Aanstoot 1, Yoran Loos 1.
UZSC: Luuk Gielen 2, Hugo de Vrije 2, Flemming Kastrop 2, Benjamin Hoepelman 1, Bram van den Bersselaar 1, Jeroen Rouwenhorst 1.
ZV De Zaan – ZPC AMERSFOORT: 10-8 (2-1, 4-3, 2-2, 2-2).
ZV De Zaan: Pascal Janssen 3, Don Rempt 2, Phil Brantjes 2, Daan Bakker 1, Casper van der Struijk 1, Koen de Jong 1.
ZPC Amersfoort: Max van der Werve 2, Gergely Palotas 2, Milan Borcsok 2, Jan-Willem Slaghuis 1, Sebastiaan van Mil 1.
Saturday 14 May
Polar Bears – GZC DONK: 12-9 (1-3, 4-2, 3-1, 4-3).
Polar Bears: Sam Kunz 3, Kas te Riele 3, Lars ten Broek 2, Rick Meijer 2, Guus Wolswinkel 1, Sjors den Kater 1.
GZC Donk: Guus van Yperen 2, Mart van der Weijden 2, Kjeld Veenhuis 1, Tijs Schouwerwou 1, Quint van den Heuvel 1, Daan Schouwerwou 1, Stan van den Heuvel 1.
ZVL-1886 – AZC: 12-11 (6-4, 0-1, 4-2, 2-4).
ZVL: Attila Kincses 3, Jasper Haasnoot 2, Stan van Ruiten 2, Ruben van Vierzen 1, Mark Visser 1, David Spijker 1, Max Reijchard 1, David Voorvelt 1.
AZC: Jesse Nispeling 4, Milos Filipovic 2, Lars Reuten 2, Nigel Kombrink 1, Robin Lindhout 1, Thomas Glansdorp 1.
ZPC AMERSFOORT – ZV De Zaan: 8-6
ZPC Amersfoort: Max van der Werve 2, Gergely Palotas 2, Mark Siewers 1, Jort van der Werve 1, Sebastiaan van Mil 1, Senna Nijhof 1.
ZV De Zaan: Pascal Janssen 2, Angelo Corver 1, Phil Brantjes 1, Daan Bakker 1, Don Rempt 1.
UZSC – Het Ravijn: 14-15 (4-3, 2-2, 1-2, 3-3 | penalties: 4-5).
UZSC: Flemming Kastrop 5, Luuk Gielen 4, Gies Wijnhoven 1, Joost van der Burg 1, Sook Willemsen 1, Bram van den Bersselaar 1, Benjamin Hoepelman 1.
Het Ravijn: Bas ter Brake 5, Emiel Wouters 3, Yoran Loos 3, Hugo Wouters 2, Jorn Muller 1, Jorrit Aanstoot 1.
Sunday 15 May
ZV De Zaan – ZPC AMERSFOORT: 11-10 (2-2, 3-2, 3-4, 3-2).
ZV De Zaan: Don Rempt 3, Daan Bakker 2, Tim Ketelaars 2, Phil Brantjes 1, Mick van den Bree 1, Casper van der Struijk 1, Pascal Janssen 1.
ZPC Amersfoort: Sebastiaan van Mil 5, Milan Borcsok 2, Mark Siewers 2, Max van der Werve 1.