Team overcomes tough week of losses and injuries
Munich - Eric Schneider scored his 6th goal and added an assist and both goaltenders combined on a clean-sheet as EHC Munich outlasted the Hannover Scorpions 3-0 Sunday night at the Eissportzentrum. Coupled with their win Friday night in Nuremberg 6-4 over the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers, EHC moved into first place in Germany's top hockey league.
"I'm happy for our players. It's not an easy time as we have a lot of players out," stated EHC head coach Pat Cortina. "The boys keep working hard and good things happen and hopefully it can continue."
With a rash of injuries, Munich has had to rely on their depth to win their last two matches. A great example of this was when starting goaltender Joey Vollmer hurt his leg after a great 1st period, and Sebastian Elwing had to come in cold to combine on the shutout.
"When we put the team together, one of the things we looked for was character," stated Cortina about his team's depth. "This is when you see it, moments like this when we are faced with adversity. It's about everyone contributing."
Despite the tremendous defense, Munich could not score. Both teams found chances, but could not convert. The action was brisk but left the 2,870 fans in attendance without the chance to cheer some goals.
As the final period started, it was clear that the momentum was shifting to EHC, as Munich was peppering the Hannover goal and getting closer. The Scorpions played the previous night, beating Mannheim at home. It was only a matter of time that the visitors tired out. At the 7:55 mark, Martin Schymainski scored and it was clear Hannover were done.
But Munich was not. Ryan Ready and Martin Buchwieser started a fast-break and Schneider finished the break brilliantly, putting the puck past the goaltender.
"We started to feel them tiring in the first couple of shifts of the 3rd period," noted Cortina. "We had a little more juice than they did and that made the difference."
Hannover pulled their goalie in the final minute to get back into the game and that allowed Stephane Julien to shoot a long one into the net to finish off the scoring.
It took a week of losses and injuries but now EHC finally sit on top of the DEL table. "It's like a dream. I hope tomorrow when I wake up it still a reality," wishes EHC Sports Director Christian Winkler.
Cortina is giving credit to his team for making it to the top but is clear that it is still early in the season. "Now because we are there, we can't really give it that much importance. Teams that are going to face us will have a different attitude. If anything it will be difficult. It's easier to get to the top than to stay on top."
EHC will get their first test when they travel to take on the Krefeld Penguins and Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg next weekend and return home on Friday, October 22nd against the Metro Stars of Dusseldorf. Face-off at 20:20.