“It was important for us to win,” Kennedy said after scoring his team-leading seventh game-winner of the season. “It keeps our chances alive for first.”
With four games left in the regular season, Munich is now second in the league, two points ahead of Mannheim and trailing the league-leading Krefeld Pinguine by two points.
3,878 spectators at Munich's Olympia-Eisstadion saw the hosts get off to a good start. Five minutes into the campaign, defender Christoph Schubert deflected a wrister by Kennedy past Adler goalie Mike Rosati to give the Barons a 1-0 lead. Former Baron Hynes scores
Mannheim battled back, though. The Adler tied the score on their first powerplay of the game when Ilja Vorobjev put the puck past Barons netminder Boris Rousson on a backhand deflection of an Andy Roach shot midway through the first period.
With the momentum on their side, the Adler took control of the game. Ex-Barons forward Wayne Hynes scored the 2-1 lead when he outskated former teammates Shane Peacock and Hans Lodin and crowned his solo effort by beating Rousson low to the stick side.
A hooking penalty to Mannheim’s Dennis Seidenberg got the Barons back into the game just before the first intermission. With 14 seconds left on the man advantage, Peacock kept his five-game point streak alive when he hammered s slapshot past Rosati from the far right slot at 18:12 to score the 2-2 equalizer.Swedish co-production turns the momentum
Mannheim responded only 75 seconds into the middle frame when Ron Pasco converted a Hynes feed from behind the net right at the doorstep to put the Adler ahead again, 3-2.
With the Barons pressing for the equalizer and the Adler waiting for counterattacks, the spectators got to see a high-paced and wide-open game with good opportunities at both ends. While Munich’s biggest chances came on solo efforts by Peter Abstreiter, David Oliver and Jörg Handrick, Mannheim had a couple of odd-man rushes, but both goalies kept their teams in the game.
So discipline turned out to be the key. While the Barons allowed Mannheim only two powerplay opportunities during the course of the game, Munich had six, two of them in the second period.
The Barons seized the opportunity and tied the game at three apiece with 2:49 left in the period. A huge point blast from Lodin ricocheted off the back boards, right to fellow-Swede Johan Rosen at the doorstep. With the net wide-open and netminder Rosati off balance, Rosen hesitated a little. He got his shot off just in time, though. The puck hit Rosati in the chest and bounced into the net.
“That’s something we talk about when we get together in the summer,” Lodin joked. “No, I actually wanted to get it to the net,” he explained. “But I didn’t want to shoot it at the Mannheim player. So it ended up behind the net and bounced out pretty well.”Game on the line: Time for Kennedy
Munich slightly dominated the game thereafter and seemed more willing to seek the decision. A nice effort by Simon Wheeldon and Patrick Köppchen’s rebound were denied by Rosati seven minutes into the final period, but just over a minute later, Kennedy stepped up once again.
With Mannheim trying to clear the puck, Munich’s Peter Douris stirred some confusion with a nice check right in front of Mannheim’s bench. Oliver kept the puck in the zone and passed it to Kennedy, who cut through two defensemen with a terrific move and then also skated around Rosati to convert on the forehand from a tough angle – 4-3 in favor of the Barons, a goal that turned out to be the game-winner.
Rousson shut down the Adler for the rest of the game to seal Munich’s win.
“The third period’s always a tight one,” Kennedy remarked, “with probably only one goal scored. I got a good chance there. It’s just nice to be able to come through at important times.”Munich Barons - Adler Mannheim 4-3 (2-2, 1-1, 1-0)
Scoring: 1-0 (4:34) Christoph Schubert (Alexander Serikow, Mike Kennedy), 1-1 (9:43) Ilja Vorobiev (Andy Roach - 5:4), 1-2 (14:13) Wayne Hynes, 2-2 (18:12) Shane Peacock (Derek Plante, Derek King - 5:4), 2-3 (21:15) Ron Pasco (Wayne Hynes, Yves Racine), 3-3 (37:11) Johan Rosén (Hans Lodin, Shane Peacock - 5:4), 4-3 (48:31) Mike Kennedy (Peter Douris, David Oliver).
Penalties: Munich 10, Mannheim 16 plus 10 misconduct for Mike Stevens.
Attendance: 3,878 (Olympia-Eisstadion, Munich)