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Barons’ season ends in dramatic fashion
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April 10, 2002; 19:58
Barons’ season ends in dramatic fashion
Cologne headed for finals after shootout win
Frank Johne

Great timing: Hicks (left) jumps aside, Liimatainen’s shot beats goalie Rousson

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Munich, Germany - With the second berth for the DEL finals on the line, it all came down to a couple of penalty shots. After a scoreless overtime period, Alex Hicks became the hero of the day, converting Cologne’s final shootout attempt to give underdog Kölner Haie a 2-1 road win over the top-seeded Munich Barons. Clinching the best-of-five semifinal series by the closest possible margin, Cologne will now face Mannheim in the finals.

Lucky GWG: Alex Hicks converts from a bad angle to clinch the series
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

“Of course it’s frustrating to lose a decisive game like that (in a penalty shootout),” Barons center Derek Plante said. “But we can’t change the rules.”

Despite outshooting Cologne 59-32 over four periods, the Barons failed to get a decisive edge. The powerplay, which had accounted for nine of Munich’s 12 goals in the series so far, wasn’t clicking at all. Munich failed to score on eight opportunities, including a 22-second two-man advantage late in the first and the powerplay opportunity of the overtime period.

„I’m pretty happy with the result,” Haie head coach Rich Chernomaz said. “We saw an outstanding hockey game. We saw a fight to the trench right to the very last second. But I don’t think that winning a shootout is the way to decide a five-game series with all the effort and battling the players go through.”

Two scoreless periods

With 5,347 in attendance at Munich’s Olympia-Eisstadion and the series on the line, both teams obviously tried to stick to rather cautious game plans. However odd-man rushes opened up some early opportunities at both ends. But Cologne’s Jason Young and Munich’s Derek King and David Oliver all failed to capitalize.

The Barons then caught a big break when Cologne couldn’t capitalize on a 71-second two-man advantage after minors to Christoph Schubert and Patrick Köppchen midway through the first.

Both teams continued to have their chances in the middle frame. Johan Rosen tried to cause a lot of impact for the Barons, but came up short twice in front of Chris Rogles. Cologne managed to create a lot of traffic in front of Rousson, but despite good opportunities for Corey Millen and John Miner, couldn’t break the deadlock either.

Thanks to a high-sticking call against Barons defender Hans Lodin, the Haie carried an 95-second powerplay into the final period. And after two scoreless periods, it was Swedish defender Petri Liimatainen who finally unbroke the tie. He put Cologne ahead 1-0 50 seconds into the period, lifting a wrister from the point past well-screened Barons netminder Boris Rousson.

A wake-up call at the right time for the Barons. Munich started battling back and got the well-deserved equalizer when defenseman Shane Peacock scored his team-leading sixth playoff goal seven minutes later. With the teams skating four aside, aggressive forechecking by David Oliver and Mike Kennedy caused a turnover in the Haie zone. Kennedy drew the attention of two Haie players at the right boards and managed to backhand the puck to Peacock who skated between the face-off circles and unleashed a mighty blast that beat Haie goalie Chris Rogles high to the glove side.

Riding on momentum, the Barons tried to put the game and the series away. Derek Plante almost scored on a wrap-around. Seconds later, King was denied by Rogles. The biggest chance came three minutes after Peacock’s equalizer when Mike Kennedy found Peter Douris in the left slot. His quick wrister had Rogles already beaten, but rang off the goalpost.

Cologne managed to regroup, through. Dwayne Norris had two good chances for the Haie late in the game while Oliver came up inches short on Munich’s final opportunity in regulation.

“A penalty shootout doesn’t have to do much with the five games we’ve seen,” Barons head coach Sean Simpson remarked.

The Barons missed the finals for the first time in the franchise’s three-year history. They won the championship over Cologne in their inaugural year in 1999/2000 and were downed in the finals by Mannheim last year.

Despite good chances at both ends, the 20-minute overtime stanza remained scoreless. Cologne seemed to be a little hungrier at the start of the extra session while the Barons managed to turn the momentum through the course of the period. Munich’s powerplay woes continued, though, as the Barons failed to capitalize on a holding minor against Corey Millen.

As if 80 minutes of intense playoff hockey hadn’t offered enough excitement, the game had to be decided in a dramatic penalty shootout.

Corey Millen gave the Haie a big confidence boost, putting Cologne ahead 1-0 on the first attempt. He smartly waited for Rousson to go down before lifting the puck into the net. Munich’s Oliver failed to respond. He had Rogles obviously beaten with a nice deke, but failed to get the puck around his pad.

Niklas Sundblad unsuccessfully tried to go for Rousson’s five-hole. At the other end, Peter Douris did better and tied the shootout with the same move.

Cologne responded immediately, though. Liimatainen reclaimed the lead, beating Rousson with a backhand move to the stick side. King tied at 2-2 it right away, quickly moving the puck back to his forehand at the last instance and lifting it over the sprawling Rogles.

Munich had a chance to go up for the first time when Rousson denied Norris, but Kent Fearns’s attempt rang off the framework.

So it came down to the final two shooters: Alex Hicks and Mike Kennedy. Hicks had all the luck on his side. He hesitated almost too long and released the puck from a bad angle just inches before the goalline. But his shot got through right underneath Rousson’s sprawling legs. Kennedy was clever but unlucky. He made Rogles go down early with a nice deke. But with the upper part of the net all-open in front of him, he couldn’t lift the puck - Cologne’s 2-1 win was sealed.

Munich Barons - Kölner Haie 1-2 (0-0, 0-0, 1-1, 0-1) after shootout.
Scoring: 0-1 (40:51) Petri Liimatainen (Niclas Sundblad, Alex Hicks - 5:4), 1-1 (47:40) Shane Peacock (Hans Lodin, Mike Kennedy - 4:4).
Game-winning Penalty Shot: 1-2 Alex Hicks.
Shots on Goal: Munich 59 (16:12:20:11), Cologne 32 (7:5:9:11).
Penalties: Munich 22, Cologne 30.
Power Play: Munich 0 of 8, Cologne 1 of 5.
Goalies: Boris Rousson (Munich - 31 saves/32 shots), Chris Rogles (Cologne - 58 saves/59 shots).
Referee: Ralph Dimmers. Linesmen: Andreas Sprenger, Christian Walter.
Attendance: 5,347 (Olympia-Eisstadion, Munich).
Cologne wins best-of-five series and moves on to DEL finals vs. Mannheim.
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