Olympic Ice Stadium, Munich – A cold front moved into Munich and ruined the holiday season for EHC Red Bull München.
The storm was the Hamburg Freezers who dominated all three periods, including the second period with three goals, to beat Munich 5-1 and snap their four game winning streak.
Jerome Flaake scored the first two goals and Thomas Oppenheimer iced the victory with two more to win their second consecutive on the road.
“”I prepared my team well because I know (Munich head coach Pat) Cortina well and always has his team ready,” explained Freezers coach Benoît Laporte, who had led his team to a 3-0 record against EHC this season. “So against Munich I always get my team ready, maybe even more so since I know Pat.”
“Real simple – Hamburg were good tonight, we weren’t there,” analyzed Cortina. “They were extremely good. We were terrible.”
Munich’s lack of intensity was evident from the beginning, as Flaake scored early at 3:36 to make it 1-0. The home side could not counter.
Midway through the second period, Patrick Köppchen set up Flaake once again for the 2-0 lead. Ninety seconds later, Nicolas Krämmer made it 3-0 for the former club known as the Munich Barons and silenced the 3,909 in attendance, most of them probably wishing they didn’t get tickets for Christmas.
There was a flash of life for Cortina’s club. Johan Ejdepalm scored and the home side felt the solid play would return. But then Oppenheimer finished off the onslaught scoring shortly before the end of the period to give Hamburg a 4-1 lead.
And then put the final nail in the match, scoring early to snap Munich’s six game home winning streak. During this streak, goaltender Jochen Reimer conceded only 4 goals. Tonight, was a different story.
“”I feel bad for Jochen, we left him out there,” sympathized Cortina with his number one in the pipes. “Bad changes, odd man rushes, and lots of turnovers – we made his night difficult.”
Before anyone could question if it was the absence of the two NHL stars, Paul Stastny and Blake Wheeler, who went home for the holidays had an effect, Cortina was quick to deflect.
“It had nothing to do with who was here or who wasn’t here,” clarified Cortina quite emphatically in the press conference after the game. “Yes, it’s a different rotation without them, and both Ryan Kavanaugh and Viktor Ekbom out with injuries, we are missing some key guys and that hurts. But those who wore our jerseys need to play better. We watched, we waited. Hamburg won the battles, the races. They made things happen.”
Team co-captain Felix Petermann agreed with his coach, calling for a return to solid play. “When you have a winning streak going, you think you don’t have to change to much. We let up and this league shows when you don’t bring 100%, you see what the result is. We have to go back to the basics, what makes us so good – straight forward, vertical hockey – what we didn’t do today.”
For Laporte, he’s happy to see his team turning it around on the road. “We are learning to play on the road, we’ve given up easy points away. We can lose on the road but we have to fight harder for the points.”
The Freezers return home to host the Iserlohn Roosters and Munich will end the calendar year in Wolfsburg against the Grizzly Adams. Both games are on Sunday.
Check out our more pictures from EHC Red Bull München vs. Hamburg Freezers on our Facebook page – Sport Eagle TV.
Follow EHC Red Bull München and the DEL on Twitter with @SportEagleTV.