Wolfsburg Win in OT
Olympic Ice Stadium, Munich – With a handful games left in the season, teams are making a final push for the Deutsche Eishockey Liga playoffs. And every win, every point counts towards the postseason.
In a battle between two of those clubs looking for a playoff berth, it was Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg that snapped a 3-2 overtime win over EHC Red Bull München.
Sebastian Furchner scored his second goal of the game with only :49 seconds left in overtime to tighten the race for the final spot for the DEL pre-playoffs. With the win, Wolfsburg move within two points of Munich with seven games left.
Meanwhile, Munich lost a chance to move into a playoff spot, as the Straubing Tigers lost earlier in the afternoon to the Hamburg Freezers in overtime. EHC remain one point behind their Bavarian rivals Straubing and the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers from Nuremberg.
“Today we saw a good game, Munich played well and aggressive, so did we,” said Wolfsburg head coach Pavel Gross.
“We played a disciplined hockey game,” added Munich head coach Pat Cortina. “What’s frustrating is that games like this we are finding ways of not making things happen.”
EHC did start off well, taking a lead only minutes in, Uli Maurer converted a power-play goal, an assist from Lubor Dibelka and Jason Ulmer for a 1-0 lead at 2:45 of the first period.
The Grizzlies did not back down, matched the intensity from their hosts and finally Furchner scored at 7:52 of the first, drawing the game at 1-1.
Both goaltenders, Munich’s Jochen Reimer and Daniar Dshunussow of Wolfsburg were turning away scoring chances with excellent saves.
David Cespiva’s hooking penalty sent him to the penalty box near the end of the second period, and Grizzly Adams converted, Matthew Dzieduszycki scored less than a minute later.
Munich were not going to let this one slip away, battled back and finally Bryan Adams received great passes from Ulmer and Mike Kompon and tied it at 2 at 8:05 of the final period.
The final minutes of regulation were furious, but the goaltenders were up to the task.
In overtime, the pace continued and so did the strong goaltending. Until a Munich turnover in the offensive end, led to a 4-on-2 break, Aaron Brocklehurst recorded his second assist of the game, setting up Furchner for the game-winner.
“I’m not too happy giving up the 4-on-2 at the end, we should be better,” admitted Cortina.
Gross was happy for the score, but it could have turn been worse if they didn’t convert. “If you play 4-4, you shouldn’t do 4-2, 3-2 is ideal, the 4th guy should stay back,” analyzed Gross, thanking his lucky stars. “(Christoph) Hohenleitner did a great job at the net and screened Reimer.”
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” said Munich goal scorer Adams after in the mixed zone. “You fight so hard to get to 2-2, you get the momentum, but that’s hockey. If we hang our lips and pout, that’s not the way to go about it. We put ourselves in that position. But we have some big games coming up and we have to win.”
EHC host the Iserlohn Roosters on Tuesday night and then a Derby Triple Play, hosting ERC Ingolstadt on Friday, traveling to the Augsburg Panthers and back home against the Ice Tigers after that.
Blake Sloan summed up Munich’s goals over the next week. “We got one point, it was not our goal but we have to remain positive. We need to continue fighting in every game. We are at the time of the year where we have to win every game. The future is in our hands, that’s a good problem to have.”
Wolfsburg have to catch up to Munich first before thinking playoffs, and it starts on Tuesday at Ingolstadt. They also play Augsburg and Nuremberg as well.
“We need points and and we need to focus every shift,” said Gross. And as we saw on Sunday, “every shift can be a gamebreaker.”
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