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MOL League: MAC Budapest Preview
2016-09-05 12:00 - icehockey.hu

Last season MAC Budapest in their first season in the MOL League made it to the championship finals, where they were swept by a physically stronger DVTK Jegesmedvék. This past off season Head Coach Gergely Majoross and his staff looked to improve on the areas they thought was an issue.

Last season MAC scored the most goals and let in the least goals but during the playoffs Fehérvár took them to a game seven in the semi finals and were swept in four games in the finals. This could be credited to a number of things but Majoros went out and added, depth, size and experience in the offseason.

In the net Bence Bálizs, Gergely Arany and Norbert Zaka are back, Bálizs has international experience as well as winning a championship with Miskolc two seasons ago, Arany was solid young backup who did not disappoint when he started in goal.

On the blueline István Mestyán and Tamás Pozsgai are back but the rest of the d-man core has overturned. Team captain Viktor Tokaji has retired and promising talent Bence Stipsicz and the imports have all left. Aside from the two imports coming from the ECHL, Sean Escobedo and Ryan Ruika, Majoross also added a physical presence in Bronson Kovács from Debrecen as well as picked up a skilled defenceman from rival MOL League club Fehérvár in Roland Vokla.

Last season MAC had two excellent scoring lines, a solid third line and a fourth line made up of young players who could hold the lead when they were on the ice. By adding Áron Könczei, Gergő Nagy and Csaba Kovács the team now has three lines that can score anytime throughout the game. The club did lose the league's top three scorers from last season, Jeff Jubenville will be looked at to pick up part of the slack after having a prolific season in Norway last season. Winston Day Chief has the combination of a scoring touch and physical presence that can be a huge asset in this league. MAC has a fourth line that can compete with almost any top scoring line in the league. Adding to the young depth Majoross snuck in and snagged Erik Keresztury from the German U19 league.

It is clear that MAC does not want a repeat of what happened last year in the finals and some might say that if they do not win the MOL League title it will not be a successful season.  

Head coach Gergely Majoross: We hope that the offseason signings that we had will help us become a stronger team. Last season we were on the “smaller” side and I believe that we all addressed that need as well. Also our younger players have a season of experience in their legs now, players such István Terbócs, Levente Lakatos, Richárd Tóth, Kristóf Schmál and Bence Bödök are at a completely different level as they were a year ago. There will be players who will be able to take more of a responsibility. Our opponents have improved so there will be more pressure on us to keep winning. Csaba Kovács was brought in not only for what he brings on the ice but also the leadership qualities and not just for one season. I also think that we have more leaders in the locker room compared to last season, both Hungarian players and the imports. One thing that we are very proud of is that we had three defencemen move on to quality leagues in North America.

Csaba Kovács, Forward: I can already say about the upcoming season that it will be everything except boring, there are a lot of strong teams in the league and a number of them have improved during the offseason. I am sure that we are not the only team in the league that wants to win the league title.  It is not a secret that our goal this year is to be the top team in the league. We will do everything possible to be successful this season. I hope we will be able to make our ever growing fan base happy with what we do this season, as we will play an exciting style of hockey from the opening faceoff until the final whistle.

*Expert Opinion: Last year it was clear that the seven game series against Fehérvár really took its toll on MAC and in the finals they played with three lines. In the finals Tomas Klempa got injured and it showed how the team did not have depth. They tried to work on this during the offseason, they added depth as well as size which is something they lacked in the finals. This is a great advantage that they now have compared to other teams in the league. On the back end the players that left were replaced with very similar players, the only question is if the imports will bring the same level as the ones from last season did. This is also the same situation up front, Jeff Hayes and Klempa and the rest of the imports brought a great deal to the offense. The Hungarian core has gotten stronger now we will need to see how the two imports will be able to replace the four imports from last season.
*Recently retired former MOL League player.

Roster:
Goalies: BÁLIZS Bence, ARANY Gergely, ZAKA Norbert
Defencemen: Sean ESCOBEDO, FEJES Nándor, JÁSZAI Dávid, KOVÁCS Bronson, LAKATOS Levente, MESTYÁN István, POZSGAI Tamás, Ryan RUIKKA, TÓTH Gergely, VOKLA Roland
Forwards: BÖDÖK Bence, Winston DAY CHIEF, EGYED Róbert, Jeff JUBINVILLE, KERESZTURY Erik, KOVÁCS Csaba, KÖNCZEI Áron, NAGY Krisztián, NAGY Gergő, ROCZANOV Dezső, SCHMÁL Kristóf, SILLÓ Arnold, SOMOGYI Balázs, TERBÓCS István, TÓTH Richárd

Coaching Staff
Head coach: Majoross Gergely
Assistant coach: Svasznek Bence                      
Goalie coach: Jukka Kontsas 

Additions: ESCOBEDO Sean (Greenville, ECHL), KOVÁCS Bronson, KÖNCZEI Áron (Debreceni HK), RUIKKA Ryan (South Carolina, ECHL), VOKLA Roland (Fehérvár AV19), ANTAL Norbert (Borlange, SWE U20), DAY CHIEF Winston (Rapid City, ECHL), JUBINVILLE Jeff (Sarpsborg, NOR), KERESZTURY Erik (Düsseldorf, DNL), KOVÁCS Csaba (Fehérvár AV19, EBEL), NAGY Gergő (Krakow, POL), SOMOGYI Balázs (DVTK Jegesmedvék)

Departures: HERNER Olivér (Maine, NCAA), KOVÁCS Attila, NAGY Patrik (UTE), STIPSICZ Bence (Cedar Rapids, USHL), HAYES Jeff (Lausitzer, DEL2), KLEMPA Tomas, McDonald Ian (Brasov), NÉMETH Attila (Debreceni HK), NÉMETH Árpád, SZAPPANOS Dávid (Ferencvárosi TC), PAPP Dániel (KMH Budapest, 2HL), SAARENPAA Nico (Asplöven Div.1), SEBESTYÉN Dávid (Casper, WSHL) HERSZÉNYI András, TOKAJI Viktor (retired), OLSON Drew, QUINN Michael (unknown)