Munich - Having lost Game One 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday, EHC München must win tonight against the Cologne Sharks or they will be eliminated from the playoffs.
As expected, the pre-playoffs series between the two evenly matched clubs would be close, and the series opener proved that point. The Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead at Olympia Eissportzentrum, but EHC scored three unanswered to take the lead. And that would have been enough for Munich to win, but Cologne's Matt Pettinger scored a penalty shot with 27 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.
From there, the game went into triple overtime, and finally, at the 110 minute mark, Pettinger set up teammate Philipp Gogulla who scored the winner for the Sharks and put Munich on the brink. Three years ago, Gogulla ended the longest playoff game in history with a goal against Mannheim in the 169th minute.
If Munich wants to advance they will need to find a way to get the puck past Danny aus den Birken. The Sharks goaltender stopped 60 shots and except for the mometarily lapse in the 3rd period, was brlilliant throughout the night. And they will have to stop causing unnecessary opportunities for the Sharks. The penalty shot that was awarded to Cologne was due to EHC goaltender Sebastian Elwing displacing the goal frame, something that has happened before. And it ultimately cost Munich the first game, perhaps the season.
"Cologne started strong but we fought ourselves back in to the match and deserved the lead," analyzed EHC head coach Pat Cortina. "The Sharks were the luckier team, and won this thrilling match. I hope we can return the favor (in Game 2)."
The match faces off at 20:30 at the LANXESS arena. Game Three, if necessary, will be on Sunday back at the Olympia Eissportzentrum, faceoff at 14:30.