BRATISLAVA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Nove Zamky, Nitra, and Poprad continued trading blows in the Slovak ice-hockey premiership Tipos Extraliga, with each taking turns at the top of the league.
In the Friday edition of their battle at a distance, Nove Zamky managed to return to the top of the rankings after a crushing 6-0 defeat of the bottom-placed Liptovsky Mikulas. Nitra tied the leader with 27 points after a tight 4-3 away victory in Kosice, ending the opponents' three-game winning streak.
Third-ranked Poprad was the closest of the trio but succeeded in forcing OT against Michalovce to put at least one point in the books, to leave them trailing Nitra by just one point in the standings.
Liptovsky Mikulas managed to only record a single point in the eight matches this season. Nove Zamky had a field day on Friday, deciding the match's outcome as early as the first period by scoring three consecutive goals.
The visitor did not respond at all and conceded three more to worsen the situation.
Nitra Hockey Club traveled to the east of the country and took the home team by surprise with three first-period goals.
Kosice's coach let his squad have it in the locker room, and after his pep-talk, they returned to the ice with new motivation. They cut the lead to one in the second period, but Roman Zitny's last-minute goal provided Nitra with a sufficient cushion that lasted until the very end.
After five defeats in a row and only three victories so far, the management of Dukla Michalovce decided to let go of their coach and hired the 42-year-old Finn Tomasz Juhani Valtonen, a former forward and head coach of several teams including Jokerit Helsinki and the Finish junior national team and also the Polish national team.
The switch resulted in the desired change. After a goalless overtime, Michalovce had the upper hand in the penalty shootout, scoring twice compared to Poprad's zero successful attempts.
Elsewhere, Bratislava strengthened its fourth place after a 3-1 win on Detva's ice.