Medvescak’s juniors played their first EBYSL quarterfinal game last weekend against Ljubljana’s Olimpija. The victory went to the defending champions, who had a helping hand from EBEL players.
''Even though these are our first real playoffs and we all felt a little unusual, we went into the first game without any pressure. We knew that a completely different Olimpija would arrive in Zagreb from the one we saw in the regular season, but that didn’t bring down our confidence. And despite losing the first game, were still confident because we had such a great season'', said Matija Milicic once impressions settled, adding:
''Olimpija didn’t surprise us by how good they were, we expected that from them, but at the same time we expected more from ourselves. We let too many chances go by.''
The series currently sits at 0-1 for Olimpija, but nothing’s over yet. On Tuesday at 6PM, the Bears will hit Ljubljana’s Tivoli arena to try tying things up. It’s true, that task won’t be easy, but the mission isn’t impossible.
''We didn’t give up, and we won’t without a fight. We have to play a lot better in Ljubljana than we did in Zagreb. We have to be more efficient, and can’t let forty-five shots go by with just one goal, and we have to help the guys on defense more, play more effectively, and keep mistakes to a minimum. We hope that luck will help us a little bit because we played the whole season really well, and that we will make it to game three and bring the series back to Zagreb.''
Regardless of the outcome of the Ljubljana game and the quarterfinals in general, the boys in Medvescak’s U20 team have done some notable things and they’re aware of that.
''This season we’ve really worked some wonders. Second place in the regular season is a big deal, we beat out favourites throughout the season, and I’d like to point out the two wins against Red Bull in Salzburg where they have an unbelievable academy that they practice at twice daily. When you put all of that on paper and count, I think that however the first round of the playoffs turns out, we know what we’ve achieved and that we gave it our all. Even more than was expected'', concluded Milicic.