Reimer, EHC Blank Tigers
Olympic Ice Stadium, Munich – There’s no place like home.
As the snow falls and the holidays approach, home is what warms EHC Red Bull München and their fans at the moment.
Mike Kompon scored a goal and added an assist on another in the first period, and Jochen Reimer stopped all 20 shots he faced, as EHC defeated the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers from Nuremberg 3-0 in a Bavarian derby matchup.
The win is Munich’s fourth straight at home, a streak that includes three clean sheets for Reimer between the pipes. EHC now sit two points behind the Ice Tigers in the DEL standings for the last spot in the playoffs.
“During this streak and tonight, we were pretty solid defensively, effective offensively, we got some power play goals and killing off penalties,” summed up Munich head coach Pat Cortina. “Tonight, we got contributions from everyone. Reimer was there when we needed him. Everyone did their job today.”
“Tonight was great, we played well defensively,” added Reimer. “The shutout was most special. In the four games we only gave up one goal, that’s key to winning games here.”
The picture wasn’t as pretty from the other side.
“Today was a collective 60 minutes of bad,” assessed Nuremberg head coach Jeff Tomlinson. “I haven’t seen a game like this from our side in a long time. We usually play a nice brand of hockey, we just couldn’t pass today, and when you can’t do that, and then you have fewer chances at goal.”
The case for this game was the same as the past games. EHC jumped on their opponents first and set the tone. Kompon and Bryan Adams set up Jason Ulmer for the first goal at 7:58 of the first period, and five minutes later, Kompon was given the chance by Adams and Ulmer, making the game 2-0 after 12:54.
Munich finished the period with 11 shots on goal, meanwhile Nuremberg could only muster six shots, all easy for Reimer to stop.
In the second period, Yasin Ehliz was sent to the penalty box for hooking and Ryan Kavanagh was able to convert the power play with a key score that would decide the game, especially as the Tigers were unable to create anything all night.
“The guys are wound up, gripping their sticks a little tighter because when you lose a couple in a row and today was the case,” observed Tomlinson. “We’ve got a lot of issues that we need to fix, we are worried about ourselves, get our heads straight. We got some injuries right now, some players will be returning. Hopefully that brings our confidence back.”
The final period saw moment of frustration build up for the visitors, things got heated but Munich stood their ground and didn’t allow the Ice Tigers to intimidate them.
And the win was key to keep pace for the playoffs, as Munich now have 32 points, two points behind the Ice Tigers with 34 points. Bavarian rivals Straubing Tigers, Augsburg Panthers and ERC Ingolstadt are just ahead with 39, 39 and 38 points respectively.
“Tonight was a six-point game, now we are within striking range,” said Cortina. “But there is still 27 games to go, we don’t want to pay too much attention to that, we’ll drive ourselves crazy, but I’m sure everyone took notice of that before the game.
If Munich are to move up the table and qualify for the postseason, they will have to take their solid play on the road, where they have lost three of their last four.
“We need to be more disciplined and patient,” admitted Cortina. If things don’t go our way, we get frustrated and the other team takes advantage.”
“Most important, we didn’t want to go behind 8 points,” added Kompon, the Thunder Bay, Ontario native scored his 7th goal and recorded his 4th assist of the season. “But this win doesn’t mean much if we don’t do it on Sunday.”
EHC travel to first place Mannheim Eagles tomorrow, and then next Friday play at the Iserlohn Roosters.
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The Ice Tigers will have a chance to correct themselves when they return home on Sunday and play another regional derby, this time against the Straubing Tigers, who moved up in the standings with a 2-0 win over the Eagles.
“We are always thinking of the next game and with the derby, hopefully we get the emotion and blood flowing and get three points,” said Tomlinson. “We’ve got a lot of issues that we need to fix, we are worried about ourselves, get our heads straight. We got some injuries right now, some players will be returning. Hopefully that brings our confidence back with their return.”
Ice Age: The Ice Tigers will host the Berlin Polar Bears in the first ever DEL Winter Game on January 5th. The game will be played outdoors at Franken Stadium, home of 1.FC Nuremberg. Over 50,000 spectators are expected. “It’s exciting, it’s a highlight, we’ve been looking at this since the summer,” admitted Tomlinson. “We have some games before then, we are focused on that, but when that day comes, when that week comes, it will tingle a bit and we will be excited.”
Back in the Groove: Jochen Reimer has conceded one goal in the past four games. Reimer’s season last year was cut short with an injury which was a factor to EHC’s disappointing end as the team missed the playoffs, the 27-year-old is now playing at a high level. “I feel great, over the course of the season, I’ve played every second so far.”
Reimer was not named to the German national team that won the Deutschland Cup back in November, but his recent play may see his return back to the national team despite Pat Cortina receiving a trio of solid performances. “All I can do is to show that I’m still out there. My advantage obviously is that the national team coach is my team coach (he laughs). He knows what I’m capable of doing and I’m pretty sure I’ll get my chance again. Every time I can play for the national team, we have a lot of good goalies in Germany but I can prove myself every day in practice and play a good game. I hope I can be a part of the Olympic qualification and then the World Championships this year and Olympics next.”
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