Hamburg, Germany - Things did not improve too much for us this week, as we grabbed only 4 points in our last 3 games, slipping to 7th place in the standings. And we have three really hard games before the Deutschland Cup Break.
I talked in my last column how hockey is funny and strange sometimes. There are some rinks that are friendlier than others, and every player has a favorite road rink, or one he has more success. We never lost in Iserlohn. As Barons, or as Freezers, we always left Sauerland with two or three points. Strange, because it’s a very hard place to play, with the very loud fans standing practically right over you, and Iserlohn always played a very hard physical style, under Greg Poss before and now under Doug Mason.
Despite being outshot 20-9 in the first period (and 44-24 in the game), we took a 2-0 lead, on goals by Rumrich and Francz. Purds made it 3-0 halfway in the second period. But the Roosters, true to their legendary work ethic, never gave up and scored on the power-play in the third, then got another goal in the last minute, but we managed to hold on for the win.
Hannover in Hamburg
Last Sunday, at home, we welcomed back 5 ex-Freezers when the Scorpions came to town. And they left the building winners, a 3-2 decision after shootout.
I’m sure Küni will remember the first goal he allowed in his first game back in Hamburg. He tried to clear the puck of his end, and pass to a teammate at our blue line, but Jacko read the play perfectly and returned the puck in the empty net for a 1-0 lead. But Küni is a warrior and he played a very solid game afterwards. Len Soccio for them, and then Reider for us, on a power-play, exchanged goals in the second period. We were cruising along in the third period, until Hannover converted a turnover at their blue line into a scoring chance, and Patrik Augusta made good use of it to tie the game at two. In the shootout, our first of the season, we could not beat Küni. Houser, Johnson, Reid and Dowd all struck out, while Augusta on their first shot and Robert Hock on their fourth, scored on me.
So we now have three more games to get back to them. In Ingolstadt
The whole week in practice, after that Hannover loss, we focused on offense. 2 vs. 1, 3 vs. 2, with lots of skating and shots on goal. We are the lowest scoring team in the DEL, but we want to change that. In Ingolstadt, we took a few steps towards that goal.
We shot 45 times on goal, by far our highest output of the season, but we ran into Jimmy Waite on 44 of them. At times very lucky, at times very good, he stopped everything until our 45th shot, 13 seconds before the end of the game, when Tanger scored his first of the year. But we created a lot of scoring chances, and if we could just be a little hungrier and tougher in front of their net, or at least the same desperate way we play in our defensive zone, we would score more. Ingolstadt was very opportunist, scoring on 2 of their very few quality scoring chances. McDonald redirected a shot-pass from Sturm over my shoulder, on our power-play, to give them the lead early in the game. Then Goodall slid the puck under my pads early in the second, on a nifty little pass from Mondt. And then they did like they always do, wait for mistakes and let their goalie do the job. And we shot, shot again, and then some more, but couldn’t score more than a (too) late goal... The Week ahead
Frankfurt – Düsseldorf – Mannheim
Three top games for us before we have a few days off. Frankfurt just beat Mannheim and Berlin last weekend, and seems to have recovered from the championship “hangover”. We beat them in Frankfurt earlier, and they will want revenge, and surely want to be in the top eight again. Then, in Düsseldorf on Friday, in a tough rink, and they really turned things around since Butch Goring replaced Mike Komma behind their bench. They've passed us now in the standings, and will also try to avenge our 3-0 win from October. And to top it off, Mannheim comes to Hamburg on Sunday, and I’m sure they’ll be on a mission after losing 3 games in a row last week, including a 5-0 rout at home against Frankfurt. One-Timers
- My most sincere sympathies go to my ex-teammate Peter Abstreiter, who lost his mother last week.
- Nothing is more frustrating for a goalie than losing a game 1-0. I really feel for Jan Münster (Kassel) who lost two straight 1-0 games last week...
- I am happy to see Bob Leslie coaching again in the DEL. I played for him in Köln, and he is a good coach and a very good man. Good luck Bob!