BRATISLAVA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- With fans allowed back into stadiums and the rate of vaccinated players rising to 80 percent, the Slovak ice hockey premiership Tipos Extraliga started its 29th season on Friday.
The reigning champion HKM Zvolen showed no mercy against one of the two newcomers and crushed HK Spisska Nova Ves 5-2. HK Spisska Nova Ves returned to the premiership after 11 years.
Last season runner-up HK Poprad faced off against the worst team of the previous season MHK 32 Liptovsky Mikulas and triumphed 4-2 in the away game.
Three subsequent goals in the middle portion of the match-up between HC Slovan Bratislava and HK Dukla Trencin decided the outcome, putting the ambitious team from the capital city ahead and resulting in a clear 4-1 victory.
After a weak second period, HK Dukla Ingema Michalovce came from 1-3 to turn the tables with three subsequent goals landing in HC Nove Zamky's net. The home team's defenseman Miroslav Macejko became the hero of the day, scoring the game-winner.
HC Kosice's game-opener on a power play in the first period was answered by HK Nitra in a way that pleased the home fans - with three straight goals. The visitors cut the deficit late in the game with Marek Bartanus' second goal of the night but failed to even things up in the final moments.
The other newcomer HC Grotto Presov started with a bang, defeating the three-time champion HC '05 Banska Bystrica 5-4 with two minutes left on the clock.