With a 4-2 road win, the Kölner Haie (6) swept the higher-seeded Krefeld Pinguine (3) in three games, ending Krefeld’s Cinderella season. The Pinguine, who had dominated the league at will for weeks, kept the game close till the end, but it was Cologne that came out on top thanks to a late powerplay tally from defenseman John Miner and an empty-netter by Corey Millen. The Nuremberg Ice Tigers (4) managed to stay alive with a 3-2 home win over the Kassel Huskies (3), who still lead the series 2-1. Kassel rallied back from a 2-0 deficit, but Markus Akerblom scored the game-winner early in the third. The Berlin Eisbären (7) once again got close to upsetting defending champion Mannheim (2) on the road. But the Adler prevailed after penalty shootout, claiming a 4-3 win and the 2-1 series lead on Devin Edgerton’s successful conversion.
Munich’s second straight capacity crowd got to see an intense and hard-fought battle between the Barons and the visiting Augsburg Panthers. Andreas Morczinietz scored his third goal of the series to give Augsburg a 1-0 lead past the game’s midway point through the game. Munich responded with three unanswered goals by Peter Douris (powerplay), Simon Wheeldon and Christoph Schubert to claim a 3-1 lead halfway through the third. Augsburg battled back and moved to within a goal when Duane Moeser’s scored with a little over three minutes to go before Shane Peacock capped Munich’s 4-2 win with an empty-net goal.
“We know Augsburg,” Wheeldon explained. “They have a good team. Like I said before the series, their dream opponent is the Munich Barons. And they’re showing it. They’re gritty team, a speedy team. And they never give up. All three games have been really close. Any series, it’s five games and the third win for us is gonna be the toughest. We gotta ‘give Vollgas’ (i.e. step on it) and hopefully we can get that win in Augsburg Thursday.”
Sparked by Sunday’s road win, the Barons were willing to take the offense from early on. Peter Abstreiter missed the net by inches after a nice setup from Christoph Schubert. Four minutes into the game. On the first powerplay of the game, back-to-back blasts from Peacock were turned aside by Panthers netminder Magnus Eriksson.Guillet dismissed after controversial call - “Let the players decide the game”
Nine minutes into the game, penalties to Munich’s Schubert (holding) and Peacock (cross-check) opened up a 187-second powerplay opportunity for the Panthers, including a 67-second two-man advantage. Thanks to bad discipline, the 5-on-3 should last only seven seconds. Panthers forward Marc Beaucage checked defenseman Kent Fearns face-first into the boards. Fearns, who had been a game-time decision anyway due to a large cut below his eye, started bleeding again. And referee Rainer Kluge penalized Rob Guillet instead of Beaucage. He received a five-minute major plus game misconduct, Fearns was able to return later in the period.
“The referee should have let the players decide the game,” Panthers head coach Danny Naud remarked. “In my eyes, it was Marc Beaucage who hit him with a regular check. And then Guillet gets penalized, that’s a pity.”
“He hit me into the glass,” a clearly shaken Kent Fearns explained, boasting a black eye and cuts below and above his right eye. “Probably, it was not a game misconduct. And it was no elbowing.”
“That’s the playoffs,” his head coach Sean Simpson added. “Now he’s got a new wound above his eye. He desperately wanted to play tonight, so it would have been hard to tell him not to play. When he woke up this morning, the eye was still closed. But he gave it a shot during warm-ups and decided to go.”
Augsburg still produced a good scoring opportunity on the powerplay, but a kick save by Boris Rousson denied Morczinietz. The Barons then took over again, but Simon Wheeldon, Alexander Serikow and David Oliver (on the powerplay) couldn’t get the puck past Eriksson. A sliding save from Rousson against Vasily Pankov on the man advantage kept the game scoreless heading into the first intermission.
The Barons continued to press in the second period. Three minutes in, Derek Plante dumped the puck at the net from the right faceoff circle, but Oliver’s nice deflection got denied. Midway through the period, Eriksson stopped the Barons right on the doorstep twice within 90 seconds. First Oliver couldn’t convert a one-handed feed from Derek King, then Peter Abstreiter failed to knock a pass from Johan Rosen across the goalline.
The Panthers were sharper. Skating four aside, a turnover by Barons defenseman Patrick Köppchen sent Morczinietz and Marc Beaucage on a 2-on-1 break. Morczinietz got Augsburg ahead 1-0, beating Rousson through the five-hole (33:24).
But Munich managed to respond almost immediately. On the powerplay, defender Kent Fearns whirled through the attack zone, dumped the puck at the net and Peter Douris poked it across the goalline to tie the game at one apiece (35:57).
Augsburg was lucky to take that score into the second intermission. After stealing the puck from a defenseman, Rosen got denied on the doorstep. Twenty seconds later, Eriksson stopped Schubert on a breakaway.”Like most goals I score, it was lucky”
The Barons continued to press for the second goal. Mike Kennedy couldn’t convert on a solo effort early in the third. Two minutes later, he found Wheeldon in the slot with a nice feed from the blueline. Munich’s captain didn’t hesitate and beat Eriksson with a low wrister to the stick side to get the Barons ahead 2-1 (44:16).
“Sean Simpson changed the lines a little after the last game,” Wheeldon said. “Myself and Mike Kennedy have been playing pretty good together. He capitalized on a turnover from Augsburg and he made a nice play across to me at the blueline. Like most goals I score, it was lucky. I saw the right opening and shot it in.”
At 51:12, Schubert got another breakaway with the teams skating four aside. Accompanied by Abstreiter and Douris, the Barons had a 3-on-1, but “Schubie” didn’t need any help, blasting the puck past Eriksson from the left slot to give Munich a 3-1 lead.
Augsburg battled back, though, and after a wrap-around by Eric Dylla, Duane Moeser poked the puck across the goalline to cut the lead in half with 3:22 to go in regulation. The Panthers kept pressing, but Barons defenseman Shane Peacock capped the scoring at 4-2, converting an empty-netter out of his own zone 24 ticks from the final horn, his third goal of this postseason.
Game 4 will be in Augsburg Thursday night.Munich Barons - Augsburger Panther 4-2 (0-0, 1-1, 3-1).
Scoring: 0-1 Andreas Morczinietz (33:24 Marc Beaucage, 4:4), 1-1 Peter Douris (35:57 Kent Fearns, Simon Wheeldon - 5:4), 2-1 Simon Wheeldon (44:16 Mike Kennedy, Mike Smazal), 3-1 Christoph Schubert (51:12 Greg Johnston, Boris Rousson - 4:4), 3-2 Duane Moeser (56:38 Eric Dylla, Eric Dandenault), 4-2 Shane Peacock (59:36 Derek King, Hans Lodin).
Shots on Goal: Munich 34 (12:14:8), Augsburg 26 (7:8:11).
Penalties: Munich 24, Augsburg 19 plus 20 game misconduct Rob Guillet.
Power Plays: Munich 1 of 5 (453 sec), Augsburg 0 of 6 (736 sec).
Goalies: Boris Rousson (Munich), Magnus Eriksson (Augsburg, pulled at 58:06, returned at 59:36).
Referee: Rainer Kluge. Linesmen: Dieter Erdl, Ulpi Sicorschi.
Attendance: 6,254 (sellout - Olympia-Eisstadion, Munich).
Munich leads best-of-five series 2-1.