Emphatic derby victory for EHC

It proved to be Wheeler's night as EHC Red Bull ran out comprehensive 5-0 winners in a tight encounter against local rivals Augsburg. Photo: Philip CaspariJochen Reimer with a shutout in Munich's 5-0 win over rivals Augsburg

It was the first home game for both new arrivals Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastny and a total of 4,476 fans showed up to show their support. Derbies between Munich and Augsburg always promise to be true sporting battles and following the 2-0 loss to Augsburg on home-ice earlier on in the season, EHC Red Bull Munich were out to take revenge.

With Stastny and Wheeler in the starting six, both teams opened the game with aggressive power play hockey. Plenty of shots were fired on goal at both ends, allowing both goalkeepers the chance to display their talent and skill. Augsburg were unlucky to hit the post twice in quick succession, while Munich created their own scoring opportunities through Buchwieser, Wheeler and Stastny. In the 14th minute, Munich's captain Martin Buchwieser could have opened the scoring after a picturesque one-two with Blake Wheeler, but Augsburg's keeper Patrick Ehelechner denied him with a smart save.

40 seconds into the 2nd period and EHC's latest signing Paul Stastny stepped into the spotlight to open the scoring with a nicely executed wrist shot from the left following great assists by his teammates, Buchwieser and Wheeler. The latter was then denied by Ehelechner in the Augsburg goal as the home fans drummed, chanted and clapped their side on. Blake Sloan took a seat in the sin bin for two minutes (tripping), as Augsburg sought to find a way past EHC goalie Jochen Reimer. They couldn't and Blake Wheeler started to excel. The American executed extraordinary counter-attacking speed and close puck control showing exactly why he enjoys playing on bigger rinks in Europe. With only seconds left in the 2nd period, Augsburg set up their power play but again only managed to hit the post. Lady luck was clearly shining on the home team as Munich took a one-goal lead into the break.

Coach Pat Cortina found the right words during the break, as his team came out playing disciplined and smart power play hockey. In the 44th minute EHC's Lubor Dibelka scored Munich's second of the night after good work from Martin Hinterstocker and Brent Aubin. Augsburg's resistance looked to finally be broken as Buchwieser made it 3-0, scoring on a rebound after Wheeler had fired a crafty wrist shot at Ehelechner. Augsburg's goalkeeper had been able to deflect the puck clear but only as far as the on-rushing stick of Buchwieser, who celebrated his ninth goal of the season with the joyous home fans. The third goal of the night finally silenced the travelling fans from Augsburg and rightfully so as instead of winding down and trying to secure the win, Munich kept on playing offensive hockey in hope of further adding to the scoring tally. An unassisted goal by Bryan Adams and a penalty goal by Blake Wheeler ensured that a balanced fixture between two strong teams turned out to look like a one-sided affair on the scoreboard with Munich running out 5-0 winners.

Blake Wheeler had a phenomenal evening on the ice and was justifiably awarded man of the match afterwards. When asked what impact NHL players such as Wheeler and Stastny have on the game, Munich's head coach Pat Cortina was complimentary. "They help to lead the way but even those guys cannot do it all alone. Others do their share and together, it results in a great team effort." He went on to add that although the scoreline didn't necessarily represent the true nature of the game, his team showed great character and had deserved the win. "We need to keep our level of discipline and focus in order to continue in the same direction. We'll now go back to practice and switch our minds to the next game on Friday against Wolfsburg, which will be another tough battle" Cortina added.

Munich remain in 12th position with 23 points after their derby win over Augsburg and as Pat Cortina said, EHC's next home game will be on Friday 23rd of November at 7.30pm vs. Wolfsburg.

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