“We seem to be allergic to first place,” Barons goaltender Boris Rousson said after the loss.
The Mannheim Adler are back on top after their 4-1 win over Augsburg. With two games remaining in the regular season, Munich fell to second, trailing the defending champions by a point. Krefeld is third, a point behind the Barons, after being defeated 3-1 by the Berlin Eisbären. Nuremberg is stuck in fourth, which secures them home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Five teams - Kassel, Cologne, Berlin, Augsburg and Düsseldorf - are still in contention for the final four spots.
“Today’s performance doesn’t disappoint me,” Barons head coach Sean Simpson said, “yet the result does. The game was good and as tight as a playoff game.”
Missing seven regulars, the Ice Tigers put all their focus on defense. Turning aside 23 shots, Olympic hero Marc Seliger held them in the game. Seliger got beaten only once when a point blast by Derek King found its way into the net midway through the first period.
But Munich failed to put the game out of reach.
“We had lots of chances,” Simpson explained. “But Seliger was their key player tonight. We kept the game at a high pace and had a lot of big opportunities.”
The Barons indeed had their chances. For example slapshots by Hans Lodin and Greg Johnston, who played forward on a couple of shifts, late in the second period. Or Simon Wheeldon, who failed to convert a breakaway five minutes into the final period. ”I heard the whistle” - Controversial goal turns the momentum
And it should come back to haunt them. With lots of traffic in front of Barons netminder Boris Rousson, David Sulkovsky came up with the equalizer at 52:47, a goal that sparked a lot of controversy.
“I think we were playing pretty good until that decision,” Rousson said. “The referee told me he had blown the whistle because the puck was in the goal. But when I heard the whistle, the puck was right in front of me. If the referee decides a game at that time o’ year, that’s terrible.”
“Play had definitely been whistled dead before,” coach Simpson stated. “It’s tough that this happened in the key phase of the game. But I’m not gonna comment on the officials.”
Nuremberg seized the opportunity and took advantage of Munich’s confusion. Former Barons forward Thomas Greilinger scored from the slot to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead at 56:53. Jan Nemecek capped the scoring at 3-1 with an empty-netter at 59:38 as Nuremberg scored three times on five third period shots.Rousson: “We gotta be happy, though”
“We got bothered too much by their goal,” Rousson added. “We should have come back and gone right back at it. But we got disturbed and they scored another goal. They just played the game they had to play with four forwards and a couple of defensemen missing. They played a patient game and their goalie made the saves. We kept working hard, we had some chances and we should have probably scored a couple o’ goals. But we didn’t. We gotta be happy with the game, though, ‘cause we played good over most of the game.”
„I’m very, very proud of my players tonight,” Tiger head coach Bob Murdoch said. “That’s the first time the Nuremberg Ice Tigers have ever won here in the DEL in Munich. We were missing seven ‘Ausländers’ (non-German players). We felt that if we were able to play a very strong defensive game and plug up the neutral zone, that it’d give us a chance to win. And I thought our guys did a great job in doing that. We played with a lot of discipline. Also, I think (goalie) Marc Seliger had a big point in it. He played quite well. It was a great game for us before the playoffs. It’s the type of hockey that we’re gonna have to play in order to be successful.” Munich Barons - Nuremberg Ice Tigers 1-3 (1-0, 0-0, 0-3)
Scoring: 1-0 (10:22) Derek King (Derek Plante, Hans Lodin), 1-1 (52:47) David Sulkovsky (Martin Jiranek, Vitalij Aab), 1-2 (56:53) Thomas Greilinger (Jürgen Rumrich, Jan Nemecek), 1-3 (59:38) Jan Nemecek (Jacek Plachta, Jason Miller - 5:6).
Penalties: Munich 6, Nuremberg 6.
Attendance: 2,821 (Olympia-Eisstadion, Munich).