March 16, 2023
The BHL play-offs begin. The first quarter-final matches will be played on 18–19 March, and on 25 March to determine the final four teams.
One quarter-final will feature an Estonian derby. Defending BHL champion Viljandi HC will meet SK Tapa/N.R. Energy. In the regular season, Group A winner Viljandi HC won all ten of its matches and was the only club in the whole league that did not lost a point. The SK Tapa/N.R. Energy team won 11 points and finished 4th in Group B.
Elmu Koppelmann (coach, SK Tapa/N.R. Energy):
Viljandi HC is the favourite for the quarter-finals. But we have already beaten them twice this season. That means we have a chance to win. We need to play our game, take our time in our attacks, not make stupid mistakes and not let them make quick counter-attacks. We have to impose our tactic on our opponents. They have their trump cards: fast play and a good goalkeeper. If the Viljandi HC goalkeeper has a good day, it will be difficult for us. Before the season, we set ourselves the goal of making the play-offs. We reached our goal, but as we, Estonians, say: the more you eat, the more you want. We wanted to finish second in the group, but we lost our last two matches. It was because we have been playing in the Baltic League, the Estonian championship and we have reached the finals of the Estonian Cup tournament.
Marko Koks (coach, Viljandi HC):
It is difficult to pick a favourite in the quarter-finals. The Tapa team is stronger than last season and plays well. The first home game is against Tapa and I think it will be an even fight. Defence is our strong point. We have to defend well, try to counter-attack and score easy goals in the first game. This is our tactic. It is a good thing that we will play the second match at home. If we lose by a few goals away, it will not be difficult to make up the difference at home. At home, your own fans help. Of course, we will try to win the away match as well.
The first match between SK Tapa/N.R. Energy and Viljandi HC will take place on 18 March at 14:00 at the Tapaspordikeskus sports hall.