The second-seeded Adler blanked fifth-seeded Kassel at home 2-0 to secure their fifth appearance in the finals in the past six years. Steve Junker put the hosts on the scoreboard with seven minutes to go in the first, benefiting from a devastating turnover. With his back to the net, Junker found himself all alone in front of Husky netminder Ilpo Kauhanen. He waited for the goalie to go down and then lifted a backhander under the crossbar. Although he had his back to the net, devastating turnover left him all alone. Andy Roach capitalized on another mistake, doubling Mannheim’s lead to 2-0 late in the second. Simpson: “Gotta get over it”
A rematch of last year’s finals is still possible. The Munich Barons, who could make their third straight trip to the finals, have their backs to the wall, though, after failing to play 60 minutes once again. With 5,623 in attendance at Munich’s Olympia-Eisstadion, defenseman Christoph Schubert tallied a goal and two assists as the Barons jumped out to a 3-0 lead on three powerplay scores in the game’s first thirty minutes. Despite their sharp special teams play, the Barons continued to struggle on even strength where they have yet to score a goal in this series. Cologne battled back. Led by Corey Millen and Alex Hicks, who both had a goal and an assist, the Haie scored four unanswered goals to claim a 2-1 lead in the semifinal series.
“We gotta get over it and get ready for Sunday,” Barons head coach Sean Simpson explained. “We played very well in the first 30 minutes. When you lead a playoff game 3-0 at home, you certainly have to win it. But hats off to Cologne. They battled back and played well. Our tank was empty in the final period. But the series isn’t over yet, we gotta bring more effort on Sunday.”
Coming off Wednesday’s series-tying 3-2 home win, the Haie started out with a lot of confidence.
“Barons goalie Rousson had to make a couple of big saves early,” Haie coach Rich Chernomaz said, “and then we took a couple of unnecessary penalties, a couple of stick fouls. We dug a big hole for ourselves. Once again, Munich’s powerplay scored three goals.”
Christoph Schubert opened the scoring seven minutes into the campaign, ripping a one-timer past Haie goalie Chris Rogles from the right slot after a feed from Kent Fearns on the man advantage. Peter Douris doubled the lead just three minutes later. Schubert unleashed another blast from the right point and Douris snapped home the rebound for Munich’s second powerplay score of the night.
Barons forward Alexander Serikov apparently extended the lead to 3-0 three minutes later, but his even strength score was disallowed. So it took another powerplay opportunity to widen the gap to three goals. 6:28 into the middle frame, Derek Plante scored on the rebound of Hans Lodin’s mighty slapshot. Derek King had a big chance to add another one two minutes later, but his breakaway was stopped by Rogles.Haie bounce back with grit and physical play
“We knew that we had to get back to playing the same way that we did in Cologne,” Chernomaz explained, “and that was playing with grit and playing the body as opposed to playing with our sticks. I wouldn’t necessarily say that we did it efficiently and consistently, enough but we stuck with our game plan and we chipped away. We got a couple of lucky bounces, especially in the third period and we were able to finish our chances.“
Corey Millen sparked Cologne’s comeback with a powerplay goal at 32:28, cutting Munich’s lead to 3-1. After a static give-and-go with John Miner, Millen ripped a wrister over Boris Rousson’s glove hand. Five minutes later, another give-and-go in the Barons zone created a 2-on-1 and defenseman Petri Liimatainen converted Dwayne Norris’s feed from the doorstep to make it 3-2 with under three minutes to go in the second. Cologne adds two more to cap big comeback
With the momentum shifting, the Barons were quite lucky to take a one-goal lead into the final intermission. They obviously seized the opportunity to regroup and got back into the game early in the third, without creating quality scoring chances, though.
Toni Porrka evened the score at three apiece 6.39 into the final stanza. Alex Hicks intercepted a clearing attempt from goalie Rousson at the left boards, centered the puck and Porrka blasted it under the crossbar, obviously slightly deflected by Munich’s King.
Once again in control of the game, Cologne seized the opportunity to put it away. With heavy traffic in front of Rousson, Alex Hicks managed to knock the puck across the goalline to cap the big 4-3 comeback win with 5:35 left in regulation.
“With the tank empty”, as coach Simpson put it, the Barons couldn’t battle back. Their only opportunity came with time running out when Haie goalie Rogles mishandled a deep dump-in at the backboards. Johan Rosen couldn’t convert Derek Plante’s centering feed, though.”Series is long from over”
“We know Munich’s a very experienced team, they’re very well-coached,” Chernomaz looked ahead to Sunday’s game. “This series is long from over. Because they have the guys that have been in this situation before. We gotta make sure we’re ready and prepared come Sunday afternoon.”Munich Barons - Kölner Haie 3-4 (2-0, 1-2, 0-2)
Scoring: 1-0 (6:54) Christoph Schubert (Kent Fearns, David Oliver - 5:4), 2-0 (9:41) Peter Douris (Christoph Schubert, Mike Kennedy - 5:4), 3-0 (26:18) Derek Plante (Hans Lodin, Christoph Schubert - 5:4), 3-1 (32:28) Corey Millen (John Miner - 5:4), 3-2 (37:09) Petri Liimatainen (Dwayne Norris, André Faust), 3-3 (46:39) Toni Porkka (Alex Hicks), 3-4 (54:25) Alex Hicks (Corey Millen).
Penalties: Munich 14, Cologne 16.
Goalies: Boris Rousson (Munich), Chris Rogles (Cologne).
Referee: Wolfgang Hellwig. Linesmen: Ulrich Hatz, Martin Reichert.
Attendance: 5,623 (Olympia-Eisstadion, Munich).
Cologne leads best-of-five series 2-1.Adler Mannheim - Kassel Huskies 2-0 (1-0, 1-0, 0-0)
Scoring: 1-0 (12:59) Steve Junker (Wayne Hynes), 2-0 (37:27) Andy Roach (Dave Tomlinson, Fabian Brännström).
Penalties: Mannheim 10, Kassel 8.
Goalies: Mike Rosati (Mannheim), Ilpo Kauhanen (Kassel).
Referee: Gerhard Lichtnecker.
Attendance: 8,200 (sellout - Friedrichsparkstadion, Mannheim).
Mannheim wins best-of-five series 3-0 and advances to DEL finals.