Bobby House scored a pair of goals as the Freezers rallied back from three one-goal deficits to skate past the Haie 5-4 (2-2, 2-1, 1-1) in their inaugural home game Tuesday night.
The Freezers, in last place after opening the season with a league-record 12-game road trip, looked hungry and gave the defending champion and league-leader a great battle.
Cologne outshot Hamburg 39-26 but failed to cash in on its opportunities. Powerplay efficiency eventually made the difference. Coming into the game with one of the poorest powerplay units in the league, the Freezers were clicking very well on the man advantage, tallying a total of four powerplay goals.Hicks scores first-ever goal
The inaugural goal in the new arena was scored by the Haie though. Midway through the first, Alex Hicks took a drop pass from Eduard Lewandowski, pulled to the net and wristed the puck through Boris Rousson’s five-hole from the left slot to give Cologne a 1-0 lead.
But the Freezers responded immidiately. On the man advantage, defenseman Jeff Tory ripped a point shot past well-screened Haie netminder Chris Rogles to tie the game at one apiece only 60 seconds later.
The Haie reclaimed the lead when Mickey Elick knocked the puck to Dave McLlwain behind the Freezers net and McLlwain squeezed it between Rousson and the right post
Hamburg struck back again on the man advantage. Like on the first goal, Tory took advantage of a good screen and unleashed a slapshot from the right point that was slightly deflected past Rogles by Bobby House to even the score at 2-2.Zach: “Lack of discipline
The game slowed down a little in the early stages of the middle frame. With a penalty to Jason Miller just about to expire, Cologne’s Tino Boos blasted a shot through Rousson’s five-hole from between the hashmarks to put the Haie up 3-2 on the powerplay.
However Cologne drew too many penalties and gave Hamburg the chance to bounce back again. Jacek Plachta scored the third powerplay tally of the night, converting a feed from behind the net by Johan Witehall. He made it 3-3, one-timing the puck low past Leonhard Wild, who had replaced injured starting netminder Rogles at the start of the second period.
“Our lack of discipline killed us tonight”, Cologne’s head coach Hans Zach said. “When you have the lead three times, you gotta take a different approach to the game and show a lot more discipline. Moreover, our penalty killing wasn’t good tonight.”Great debut: Belanger scores go-ahead goal
With the momentum going their way, the Freezers took a 4-3 lead in the final minute of the second period when Bob Lachance’s feed from behind the net found newly-signed Jesse Belanger right on the doorstep for Hamburg’s fourth powerplay tally of the night.
“There was a lot of emotion in tonight’s game”, Jesse Belanger said after his first-ever game for the Freezers. “Every guy on the team was ready and I think we played a very good game, we did a really good job on the powerplay. “
Cologne got off to a bad start into the final stanza, failing to capitalize on a 3:15 powerplay, including a 45-second two-man advantage. And things got even worse: On an odd-man rush, Bobby House wristed the puck past Wild’s glove-hand from the right face-off circle to give the Freezers a two-goal edge - 5-3, the eventual game-winner.
The Haie seemed paralyzed therafter. With an extra attacker on, Dwayne Norris cut the lead in half with less than a minute to go - too little, too late for the Haie.