EHC Red Bull Munich lose 3-1 to Hannover Scorpions
The level of excitement and confidence for fans and officials at EHC Red Bull Munich is at an all-time high since NHL-stars Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets) and Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche) joined the playing roster in recent weeks.
While Wheeler has been in Munich for almost two weeks, Stastny, who was signed only 48 hours ago, travelled directly from Denver to Hannover where he was met by his new teammates and coaches on their way to their away game against the Hannover Scorpions.
Hannover's ice hockey fans, known to be split between the Hannover Indians (Bundesliga) and the Hannover Scorpions (DEL), currently seem to have a lack of confidence in their team's performance with only 2,266 fans showing up against the Red Bulls at the 13.000 capacity TUI arena, including some 50 fans from Munich. It was the first game since the one-week Deutschland-Cup break and Munich looked to be the team that had made better use of the free weekend, coming out firing on all cylinders. They converted their early pressure too, taking an early lead with only 141 seconds played. James Ty Morris scored his first EHC goal with a nice slapshot past Hannover goalkeeper, Dimitri Pätzold (who is also Germany's number one) from inside the offensive zone. Brent Aubin and Lubor Dibelka combined well to provide the assist.
Munich's ongoing inefficiency in front of goal, in addition to plenty of errors in their defensive setup, saw their chance to pull away fade, eventually allowing Hannover the chance to get back into the game. Hannover's Danish import, Morten Green, equalized in the 17th minute to level the scores. After 34 minutes, Denis Shvidki put Hannover in front and Canadian comeback kid Chris Herperger added a third goal only two minutes later to give Hannover a comfortable 3-1 lead. Those back-to-back goals proved fatal for Munich's confidence and Hannover even had the chance to add to their tally in the third period when they were awarded a penalty shot. EHC goalie Jochen Reimer brought some joy to Munich's second-half performance though, easily saving the half-hearted shot from Scott King. Even though Munich fired more shots on goal than their opposition (45-34), they just could not convert enough of them.
"We just weren't concentrated enough tonight and failed to match Hannover" said EHC coach Pat Cortina. "On Sunday vs. Augsburg, I am expecting 60 minutes of powerplay hockey from my team", Cortina added. After their win, Hannover moved up in the standings to 8th, having amassed 26 points so far. EHC on the other hand remain in 12th position with 20 points.