3,628 fans celebrate a 2-1 win after penalties against top of the table Sharks
EHC Red Bull München hosted top of the table Cologne today at Oberwiesefeld. Having lost two of their previous three encounters against the Sharks, München had their eyes on levelling their individual series against the biggest and second heaviest team in the league.
München, ranked 11th (58 points) going into tonight's encounter, were desperate to continue their strong form which took them to a surprising yet deserved 7-6 victory on the road in Krefeld. Without their captain Martin Buchwieser, who was suspended by the league for a total of eight games for making contact with a referee, München came out with their heads held high. Before the opening face-off, EHC defender Felix Petermann was rewarded for playing his 500th DEL game, while EHC backup goaltender Lukas Steinhauer collected the "champion of the month" award for his outstanding performances in the absence of Jochen Reimer.
Without their new star signing Marco Sturm - the longest serving German NHL player (1006 NHL games and 509 points) - who will join the Sharks as of mid February, Cologne started the game with a more defensive setup. This allowed München to take the initiative and create the first scoring opportunities. An entertaining game of hockey developed, but the scores remained level after the opening 20 minutes.
Sharks coach Uwe Krupp was not too impressed with his team's effort at the end of the first period. He must have found the right words to encourage his troops though, as Cologne returned to the ice with a much-improved performance. München had another power play shortly after the half-hour mark, when Sharks center Felix Schütz caught out München's defence for a break away. Schütz was brought down and went on to convert the following penalty shot, scoring through Reimer's legs to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Momentum swung the other way and München found themselves struggling to increase pressure on Sharks goalkeeper Danny aus den Birken's goal. Even the compliment of a two man advantage towards the end of the 2nd period remained unused as München took too long to setup plays and seemed somewhat uninterested in shooting at the opposition goal.
Still holding onto a one-man advantage going into the last period, München took until the 47th minute to eventually get themselves back into the game. On a power play, EHC's Brent Aubin and Blake Sloan assisted left-winger Uli Maurer whose deflected shot found the net, meaning Maurer's 8th goal of the season had changed the momentum once again.
EHC added a second goal shortly only to see it disallowed by the referee after checking the video footage. With scores level at 1-1, overtime loomed. Sharks are known for not being the smartest fish in the sea and an interchange error cost these Sharks dearly, giving München a two-minute power play and a 4-on-3 advantage. Despite this, the Red Bulls still failed to secure the win.
So to a shootout it went. EHC's Aubin stepped up to take the decisive penatly and the Canadian delivered, scoring through the legs of aus den Birken to give München a hard fought and deserving 2:1 win.
A five-point weekend sees EHC keep in touch with rivals Iserlohn and Hannover for a spot in the top 10. All is set for a great finish to the 2012/13 DEL season.
EHC München's next home game will be against the Grizzly Adams of Wolfsburg on Sunday, February 17th at 16.30 CET.