BRATISLAVA, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The fight for the top spot in the Slovak ice hockey premiership Tipos Extraliga remains neck and neck with both Poprad and Nitra tied for first with 31 points after their respective victories on Friday.
Bratislava continues its attack on the top contenders by winning its fourth consecutive match and taking advantage of Nove Zamky's surprising loss in Trencin to cut the deficit to three points.
A hefty 12 goals adorned the fight between teams from the opposite ends of the table - Nitra and Liptovsky Mikulas - that turned into an tight match. Liptovsky Mikulas might be hopelessly last in the standings with zero victories this season but there is still enough quality in its roster to make every opponent work hard if they want to succeed.
And the desire to win the first match keeps driving the team from the central region of Slovakia. Liptovsky Mikulas took an early jump on the home team by leading 2-0 in the first period. Nitra heeded the wake-up call and answered with five straight goals, including two by Roman Zitny, and the match seemed decided. But the visitors rallied after switching goalies and cut the deficit to one with two goals in the final period.
After two more goals, one on each side, Litpovsky Mikulas went all in and pulled its goalie but failed to take the match into overtime, conceding an empty-netter instead.
In the Hungarian town of Miskolc, home of the only foreign team playing in the Slovak league, Poprad was close to being forced to surrender its top rank in the standings after witnessing its two-goal lead dwindle in the third period but managed to bring home an overtime victory thanks to Adam Drgon's second and game-winning goal of the night.
Poprad is tied with Nitra with 31 points but has a slightly better score that kept it afloat.
Slovan Bratislava Hockey Club's fourth straight victory was a shootout triumph in the town of Zvolen.
The match unfolded similarly to the one in Miskolc with the visitors taking a two-goal lead and the home team tying it up in the final stretch. But in Zvolen, no OT hero emerged and the match had to be decided in a shootout lottery.
Out of a total of 10 players trying their luck, only Bratislava's Canadian forward Brendan Ranford succeeded in putting the puck past the goalie (making it his second goal of the night), putting an end to Zvolen's three-game winning streak and securing two points for his team.
Another unexpected development unfolded in Trencin. The penultimate team of the standings surprised third-ranked Nove Zamky with a 2-0 lead but the visitors rallied in the second period with three goals in succession and grabbed the lead for themselves under Marcel Holovic's two-goal leadership.
Both teams traded a couple of more blows in the final period and the game was taken into overtime. Just 30 seconds into it, Trencin's Swedish defenseman Carl Ackered took it upon itself to decide the outcome, got ahold of the puck, skated down the entire ice, and sent a shot from behind a defender to take the 5-4 OT victory.
Elsewhere, Michalovce moved to the upper half of the standings after a 4-2 victory over Detva.
The star of the match became the visitors' 25-year old forward David Soltes who had his hands in every goal of his team, scoring two himself and assisting on the remaining two. Detva got pushed down two spots in the standings to eighth.
In the east of the country, Kosice also took one step up in the standings to seventh after a clear 7-3 victory, producing three two-goal players (Bruno Mraz, Pavel Klhufek, and Michal Chovan) in the match-up against the struggling champions of the previous three seasons Banska Bystrica. The veteran forward Chovan assisted on three other goals to lead the points department.
HK Nitra - HK 32 Liptovsky Mikulas 7-5
DVTK Jegesmedvek Miskolc - HK Poprad 2-3 in OT
HKM Zvolen - HC Slovan Bratislava 2-3 in SO
HK Dukla Trencin - HC Mikron Nove Zamky 5-4 in OT
HC 07 WPC Koliba Detva - HK Dukla Ingema Michalovce 2-4
HC Kosice - HC '05 Banska Bystrica 7-3