EHC Red Bull München showed no signs of Christmas fatigue convincingly beating the Panthers of Augsburg 6-2 on Boxing Day despite being two goals down early in the game.
Ice Hockey is a tough sport played by tough athletes but let's not forget the families who only get to spend as little as three days with their loved ones over the festive period. While European footballers make use of their winter break, ice hockey is a sport that is played right through the festive season. München beat Düsseldorfer EG 4-1 at home the night prior to Christmas Eve, before travelling to nearby Augsburg to battle their arch rivals yet once again.
Having both lost (2-0) and won (5-0) against Augsburg in their first two outings this season, EHC travelled to Augsburg with no other intention than to win an additional three championship points and continue their current winning streak.
5,233 fans turned out at Curt Frenzel Stadium to support their hockey heroes. It was the home fans who extended their festive celebrations as the Panthers raced to an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Zeiler and Somma. Having only ever won one game at Curt Frenzel, EHC were put under early pressure in the face of another defeat.
Pat Cortina generally likes to highlight his team's power play performance when asked about the key to his team's recent success. "Compared to the start of the season, we're now a steady power play performer. My guys did exceptionally well forcing errors out of Augsburg's defence and we scored when we needed to." Lubor Dibelka scored EHC's first (on a power play of course), before Uli Maurer equalised against his old club just before the end of the first period.
The game's turning point came early in the 2nd period when München survived a numerical disadvantage (5-3 down on the ice) after a couple of two-minute penalties against EHC players. As soon as EHC were back at even strength, Mike Kompon scored to make it 3-2 for München. EHC goaltender J. Reimer kept his side in the game with plenty of outstanding saves as Augsburg increased the pressure after EHC had taken the lead. It was once again Mike Kompon on the scoresheet as München scored their fourth successive goal one minute and 54 seconds before the end of the game. Augsburg went for broke and pulled their goaltender for an additional attacker, but EHC's Blake Wheeler slotted into the empty net 46 seconds before the end to squash the home side's chances. Ty Morris added the final goal only 14 seconds later to give the Red Bulls an emphatic 6-2 win.
"The team were sensational", said EHC's general manager Christian Winkler after the game. "We were effective when we needed to be and our forward lines were really productive. Now we need to focus on the upcoming game against Hamburg on Friday as we want to finish a hectic and colourful 2012 on a positive note", added Winkler.
The win in Augsburg sees EHC Red Bull München soar up to 7th overall in the DEL standings, six points clear of a non-playoff ranking (11th). The next home game will be on Friday December 28th at 19:30 CET against 4th ranked Hamburg Freezers and it will be a real test as both Wheeler and Stastny will be away.