Previously the Bears faced Linz 36 times. Linz holds the advantage of winning 19 of those. They are tied 15-15 in the regular season and placement round, while Linz holds 4-2 advantage in playoffs.
When the teams faced each other last season, Linz won 4 in the regular season and placement round while Zagreb took the win in the other two. More famously Linz managed to beat the Bears in 6 games in the playoffs after the Bears won the first two games.
Linz was later stopped by EC Salzburg in 6 game series in the semi-finals.
Linz joined the EBEL in the 2003-4 season and only missed playoff twice. In the 2011-12 season, they even won the league.
34-year-old centre Corey Locke was their most productive player last season getting 70 points in 54 games. Austrian-Canadian winger Brian Lebler had 65 points but scored team-high 38 goals. Both Canadian winger Dan DaSilva and Austrian centre Fabio Hofer had 55 points for the team.
In the playoffs, Dan DaSilva was their most productive player with 16 points, followed by Brian Lebler with 14 points and Fabio Hofer with 13.
Michael Ouzas, a Canadian-Croat goalie who previously played for Medveščak, had 49 starts in the regular season. He got a 2.63 goal against average combined with 91.7% save percentage, in the playoffs his numbers were 3.10 goals against average and 90.4% save percentage. He remains the team's number one option even this season.
They managed to keep the services of all their top players except for Fabio Hofer who left for HC Ambrì-Piotta in the NLA. The two other notable departures include defenseman Sébastien Piché who had 32 points and Joel Broda who had 47 points last season and joined Dornbirn for this season.
The notable additions are 37-year-old Canadian Centre Brack Kearns who has experience from the NHL, defenseman Aaron Brocklehurst who last season with Vienna Capitals managed to have 30 points and Swedish Dragan Umicevic who was a point per game player in the DEL last season with 40 points in 40 games.
Linz currently has 14 points in 10 matches which gets them the 6th place in the league. They won their last match 1:0 against Villach.
Corey Locke, the Canadian-British centre, is the most productive players with 9 points for the team. Experienced Swedish winger Dragan Umicevic has 7 points while Brian Lebler, winger, and Kevin Kapstad, defenseman, both have 6 points.
Both of their goalies, Michael Ouzas and David Kickert have similar starts while former Medveščak player started in 3 more matches than his colleague. Ouzas has 2.48 goals against average and 92.6% save efficiency while Kickert has 2.93 goals against average and save percentage of 92.5%.
The most productive players for the Bears are Yann Sauve, John Armstrong, Tom Zanoski and Sondre Olden who all have 5 points.
Come to support our Bears in Sisak, in Ledena dvorana ZIBEL on Friday 19th of October at 18:45. Let’s create a great atmosphere together on the way for our first home win.