Slavia, Kärpät Fall in Title Series Openers

By Bill Meltzer

The one thing goaltender Roman Malek can’t do is score goals for his club. The Slavia Prague netminder turned back 39 out of 40 shots from the high-powered Pardubice attack while his counterpart Adam Svoboda made 38 saves in leading his team to a 1-0 win in the opening game of the Czech finals. The lone tally came off the stick of Petr Mudroch midway through the first period. The matchup features the top two regular season teams in the league. In addition to Malek, the series features ex-Flyer Tomas Divisek and former Flyer draft pick Lubomir Pistek for Pardubice, and Flyer draftee Milan Kopecky for Slavia. Former Flyer Josef Beranek captains Slavia. In today’s game, Beranek scored the apparent game-tying goal with less than one second left in the first period. The goal, however,was disallowed, after officials ruled that the net was knocked off its moorings prior to the puck crossing the goal line.

Meanwhile, in Finland, heavily favored Kärpät Oulu was stunned 3-0 in Game One of the SM-Liiga finals by a a resilient Tappara Tampere team. Veteran Tom Bissett got Tappara on the board about 9 minutes into the second period. Tampere protected their narrow lead and then added a pair of insurance markers in the third. As expected, Flyers prospect Joni Pitkänen did not play. Although healthy enough to play, the player, who has missed two months after arthroscopic knee surgery, is not expected to appear in the finals.