“Feels good to contribute to the team,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to solidify our third spot and keep chasing Mannheim and Krefeld. Now our eyes are on first place.”
Despite being continually hampered by injuries (Kent Fearns, Jason Herter, Mike Smazal and Alexander Serikow), the Barons took advantage of the top duo’s recent struggles. Defending champion Mannheim has dropped four straight. Krefeld didn’t do much better. The Pinguine lost both weekend games. However they claimed a point for a regulation tie – enough to reclaim the league lead from the Adler.
With a game in hand, Munich is only trailing the two by only two points, though. With the other teams heading into the four-week Olympic break, the Barons visit Frankfurt on Tuesday and could climb to the top of the table with a regulation win.
The Barons looked strong at both ends of the ice in Friday’s 3-1 win over Iserlohn. Mike Kennedy and Johan Rosen accounted for Munich’s scoring as the Barons rallied back from an early 1-0 deficit, outshooting the visiting Roosters 34:20.
Five minutes into the game, Iserlohn’s Steve Washburn shocked the Barons when he one-timed a shot past goalie Boris Rousson on the powerplay. Munich responded quickly, though - also on the man advantage. Only three minutes later, Kennedy scored his first of the evening when he deflected a point blast from Greg Johnston right through Roosters netminder Rich Parent’s five-hole.
Six minutes into the second, the Barons got their first lead of the game when Johan Rosen put a low backhander past Parent from the near left slot to make it 2-1. Midway through the second, Kennedy capped the scoring at 3-1 on another deflection, redirecting a Hans Lodin point shot into the net.
Kennedy came up big again on Sunday. After being tied 2-2 after regulation, the Bavarian derby at Augsburg had to be decided in a penalty shootout. With the contest tied at one apiece after conversions by Munich’s Andy Schneider and Augsburg’s Marc Beaucage, Kennedy sealed Munich’s victory with the final attempt, his sixth game-winner of the season.
Only 161 seconds into the game, the Augsburger Panthers took advantage of an early 5-on-3 powerplay. From the doorstep, Rob Guillet knocked the puck past Rousson to put the hosts ahead, 1-0.
Five consecutive minors against the Panthers shifted the momentum midway through the first. Hans Lodin tied the game on the man advantage when he scored on a rebound of Derek Plante’s shot. With only seven ticks to go in the first, fellow-defenseman Shane Peacock put the Barons ahead 2-1 with a mighty blast on the two-man advantage.
Six minutes into the second, Augsburg’s Duane Moeser sped down the left wing and beat Rousson to the glove side for the 2-2 equalizer.
"It was good that we managed to stay calm after the early penalties,” Barons head coach Sean Simpson said. “We managed to reorganise and get back into the game. I’m proud of my team. This has been a key month, with only four home and seven road games. We knew that, after a good January, we’d be in a good position…”Munich Barons - Iserlohn Roosters 3-1 (1-1, 2-0, 0-0)
Scoring: 0-1 (4:52) Steve Washburn (David Musial, Terry Hollinger - 5:4), 1-1 (8:39) Mike Kennedy (Simon Wheeldon, Greg Johnston - 5:4), 2-1 (25:59) Johan Rosén (Peter Douris, Christoph Schubert), 3-1 (29:31) Mike Kennedy (Simon Wheeldon, Hans Lodin).
Penalties: Munich 22, Iserlohn 22 plus 10 game misconduct for Andreas Pokorny.
Attendance: 3,483 (Olympia-Eisstadion, Munich).Augsburg Panther - Munich Barons 2-3 (1-2, 1-0, 0-0, 0-1) n.P.
Scoring: 1-0 (2:41) Robert Guillet (Jakub Ficenec - 5:3), 1-1 (14:05) Hans Lodin (Derek Plante, Derek King - 5:4), 1-2 (19:53) Shane Peacock (Derek Plante, Hans Lodin - 5:3), 2-2 (25:59) Duane Moeser (Igor Alexandrov, Vasily Pankov).
Winning penalty shot: 2-3 Mike Kennedy.
Penalties: Augsburg 14, Munich 12 plus 10 game misconduct for Boris Rousson.
Attendance: 6,040 (Curt-Frenzel-Stadion, Augsburg).