EHC Red Bull München win Bavarian derby 2-1 against rivals Ingolstadt Panthers
Any day is a great day for hockey but a Friday night rival game is arguably the pick of the bunch. EHC Red Bull München, ranked 9th in the league before tonight's game, hosted Ingolstadt Panthers (6th) in front of 3,855 fans at Oberwiesenfeld.
The great atmosphere from the supporters in the stands was quickly transferred down onto the ice and the players responded with a thoroughly entertaining game. München's winger Martin Hinterstocker opened the scoring in the 13th minute, going wide around the goal before finishing from a sharp angle. München displayed great forechecking along with some talented passages of hockey. The home team showed real aggression and laid siege to Ingolstadt's goal, outshooting the Panthers 17-8 in the opening period. While Ingolstadt's Ian Gordon had plenty to do in goal for his side, München's Jochen Reimer at the other end had a rather relaxed opening twenty minutes.
Ingolstadt started the 2nd period with a two men disadvantage after two players picked up minor penalties for roughing. This allowed München a two-minute 5-on-3 power play. The home side then echoed the away team's efforts shortly afterwards as two of their own players went to the sin bin. Neither side were unable to convert though, and the scoreline remained at 1-0 going into the second intermission.
In the 42nd minute, EHC's Jason Ulmer stepped up during a power play to add a second goal to his team's tally. Setting up the power play, Klaus Kathan and Felix Petermann assisted Ulmer who finished with a fierce wrist shot past Gordon right under the crossbar.
Ingolstadt got themselves back into the game when John Laliberte scored Ingolstadt's first goal of the night with seven minutes left in the game. Alexander Oblinger assisted with a gorgeous saucer pass from the left. It landed right on the stick of Laliberte, who finished for his 18th goal of the season.
Ingolstadt's head coach took a time out three minutes before the end, appealing to his troops to fight until the very end. The final two minutes turned into a nail-biting finish for both sets of players and fans. Ingolstadt went for broke, pulling Gordon off the ice for an additional attacker with only 86 seconds remaining. Efficiently executed penalties and a superb performance from Reimer in goal secured the win for the home side and gave München another three championship points.
EHC head coach Pat Cortina spoke of a "crucial win" for his team on the night. "We knew Ingolstadt were going to come out and play good hockey against us tonight. There's a reason why their up there in the top 6 this year. I am very pleased with our performance tonight. We're still in the playoff race."
EHC captain Martin Buchwieser, still suspended for attacking a referee, was seen in the stands tonight, celebrating his team's win. "The boys did a great job. I had itchy feet all night and I cannot wait to get back out onto the ice in a few weeks." Buchwieser carries a total suspension of 8 games with two more remaining. "I'll be back soon and hopefully be able to help get us over the line for a top 10 finish," he added.
EHC face arch rivals Augsburg on the road on Sunday (Feb 24th) before returning to home ice at Oberwiesenfeld on Friday, March 1st when they host Nürnberg Ice Tigers at 19.30 CET.