How the mother’s dream foretold the unexpected hero of Sparta. It’s true, Safin thought to himself

“This is how it happens that different and unexpected players appear in the playoffs. It’s a different kind of hockey,” chuckled home team coach Miloslav Hořava.

At 196 centimeters, Safin is the tallest forward from Prague, while Fin Vauhkonen is the heaviest at 109 kilos. Both members of the fourth formation are valid for the team especially in defense, but in the first replay of last year’s final, they showed that they know their way around the opposite side of the rink.

Photo: HC Sparta Prague / Vladimír Koča

Forward Ostap Safin.Photo: HC Sparta Prague / Vladimír Koča

“My mom told me the morning before the game that she dreamed I scored the first goal of the game. In fact, it’s the pure truth,” said 24-year-old Safin, whose entire family comes from Russia, from where they moved to Prague when their mother was expecting Ostap.

“She watched the match from the stands, so we’ll laugh about it. Hopefully now he will have a dream that I will score two goals. What he says usually comes true. But it’s a fact that we’re not the fourth team to score goals on the ice, so our two goals are a nice bonus,” said Safin after his first playoff game for Sparta.

When Kousal added a third strike in the 25th minute, it seemed to be decided. But from the middle of the match, the picture of the game changed completely. Steelers in front of more than 13 thousand spectators in the O2 arena; highest attendance in an ongoing playoff game; got within striking distance with two goals in the third period.

“Suddenly everything turned around and the players started to worry about the result. We managed to win only thanks to the great Kovář. We can thank him that it turned out this way. After all, Třinečtí scored four times on their own,” highlighted goalkeeper Hořava, who made 29 saves.

“Once again, it was shown how much the head does in hockey. That’s a sociological study,” guest coach Zdeněk Moták pointed to the change in the psychological state of both teams.

“We were completely complacent, that must not happen to us,” regretted Safina, after whose unnecessary foul on Roman, Růžička scored the visitors’ first goal in a power play.

Photo: Roman Vondrouš, CTK

Sparta players rejoice in the victory.Photo: Roman VondroušCTK

“He brought us back into the game, suddenly we started attacking their backs better and forcing them to make mistakes. But it was only enough for the second goal,” lamented Třinec striker Andrej Nestrašil

“It’s hard to play at 0:3. The first 30 minutes we didn’t play well at all. We ourselves know that we all have to be better, to win fights. We have to want to grab it more than the opponent,” says Nestrasil before Monday’s continuation of the series.

Photo: Roman Vondrouš, CTK

From the left, Marek Mazanec from Třinec and Jan Buchtele from Sparta.Photo: Roman VondroušCTK

“The performance from the third period can help us. We know that every opponent is playable. Even Sparta, which has been the best team in the extra league since January 1. If we follow the instructions, we have a chance to win,” he added.


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