Munich hold off Cologne on Friday at home, escape in overtime Sunday in Hannover
Munich, September 27 - If Friday night was your first experience watching professional hockey, and it's been a long time for this reporter, then you will love this sport: Goals, hard-hitting, party atmosphere, and the home team coming away with a victory. Even the weather played a part, providing a bit of a wintry storm feeling right before face-off.
But if you listened to both coaches, you would get a different, more critical perspective of the match.
"We need to learn to be ready, playing not bad is not enough," commented Munich coach Pat Cortina about his team's early efforts.
"I'm disappointed in my team, we made too many mistakes," added Cologne coach Bill Stewart.
Sure, coaches will always be critical, win or lose. There will always be something that goes against their plans. For Munich, giving up goals after 33 seconds in the first period and 2 minutes in the second were not by design. And for the Sharks, giving up 3 goals in the span of 2:20 that was the difference in the match was most definitely not on the drawing board.
Despite the mental lapses and errors that led to these goals that excited the fans, both teams were physical in trying to control the match. Down 1-0 and 2-1, Munich fought back to regain momentum and were able to draw even. Cologne were able to create chances and pepper EHC goalie Sebastian Elwing with shots that he was able to hold on to, or some would just miss the net.
After a physical first two periods, both teams exploded for 4 goals in a little more than 3 minutes in the final frame. "The 3rd period was strange," said Cortina. During the scoring burst, his team took leads of 4-2 and 5-3. "After scoring 2 goals (to go up 4-2), we started to watch and let them back in the game."
The final 10 minutes were played in a frantic, exhilharating pace - Cologne attacking to score, Munich defending to hold on. With 5 minutes left, the entire crowd of 3,025 was standing and cheering, all but about 50 fans for the home side. The Sharks had a few faceoffs in front of the Munich goal but Elwing was able to turn back the visitors and the defense were able to hold off the final frenzy.
Christian Winkle r, Sport Director of EHC München, was most pleased at the fans' interactivity in the final moments. "It tells me the fans are enjoying. I'm proud that our team makes our fans happy." Asked if relaying assignments during this loud time at the end, Coach Cortina said "the players never listen anyway."
Whether or not they continue to listen, the players had to quickly turn around and play in Hanover yesterday afternoon against the Scorpions in TUI Arena. And this time, they started off the match aggressively, scoring the first goal and setting the pace by taking leads of 2-1 and 3-2. Shortly after Eric Schneider put the Bavarians ahead, the Scorpions tied it with a goal from Thomas Dolak and the match went into overtime. But 47 seconds in, Schneider scored his 2nd goal of the game, his 3rd of the season, and Munich returns with a two-match streak.
Their efforts move them up to 6th place on the table with 12 points, a mere 4 points of the pace. "I am satisfied with my team," said Cortina. "For the rest of the season, we have to start games off better and work on our consistency during the match." EHC will look to do just that when they return home on Sunday.
Upcoming home matches:
Sunday, October 3rd, EHC München vs. Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg, 19:05
Tuesday, October 5th, EHC München vs. ERC Ingolstadt, 19:30
Sunday, October 10th, EHC München vs. Hannover Scorpions, 18:30