EHC Red Bull München 2 Adler Mannheim 4
The Eagles from Mannheim flew into Munich on Sunday to take battle against EHC Red Bull Munich. Both teams have added to their squads in the last week, but the gulf in budgets between them is clear to see as Mannheim took advantage of the current NHL (National Hockey League in North America) lockout to sign German international and Florida Panthers centre Marcel Goc. His salary in Florida is a reported $1.7m per year, but with the lockout he took the chance to team up with his brother in Mannheim. Munich meanwhile have recruited dual national Ty Morris on a 30 day tryout. Ty has been playing in the German 2nd and 3rd divisions for the past 7 seasons.
EHC Red Bull again got off to a slow start and were a goal down within 3 minutes as Matthias Plachta deflected a shot from the blue line and into the Munich goal. Just as the home side looked to have settled down, Toni Ritter was penalised for tripping and the best powerplay unit in the league wasted no time in increasing their lead. Mike Glumac found the extra space to move into and roofed the puck over Jochen Reimer's shoulder and double Mannheim's advantage. Munich looked to respond quickly, but it was Mannheim who scored again just 30 seconds later. EHC Red Bull had the man advantage this time but a defensive blunder allowed Marcus Kink to skate in unchallenged and round Reimer for a shorthanded tally and a 0-3 lead. Munich were shell-shocked and Ritter was again penalised in the 15th minute, but they managed to net their own shorthanded goal after a great pass from Sören Sturm set Christian Wichert free. He never looked like missing as he skated in alone and buried the puck past the Eagle's goalie and the first session ended with EHC Red Bull 1-3 down.
Munich came out strong in the middle period and looked to be playing with a lot more grit and heart as they pressured the Mannheim net. They notched a deserved 2nd goal and got themselves right back in the match in the 28th minute as Ritter was in the right place to capitalise on a rebound and finish well. EHC Red Bull were working hard and creating chances against a very strong opposition and were unfortunate to see Morris sent to the sin-bin in the 30th minute for a high sticking infraction. The Mannheimers again took advantage, with a neat play ending in Frank Mauer shooting into net at the back post and restoring a 2 goal cushion.
In the 3rd period, EHC Red Bull again played with determination and were causing their rivals to defend in numbers. They created several good chances, the best of which resulted in Lubor Dibelka being robbed by Brückmann in the Eagles net. As much as they battled, Munich couldn't get their 3rd of the evening and the game ran out 2-4 in favour of Mannheim. The home team should take heart from their efforts though and if they continue in the same vein, their first league victory of the season will be just round the corner.
Eisbären Berlin 3 EHC Red Bull München 2
EHC Red Bull visited the German champions on Friday and fought hard before coming up slightly short. Berlin took the lead in the 1st minute of the 2nd period with a powerplay goal, but Martin Buchwieser equalised for Munich less than 3 minutes later, also with the man advantage. Another Munich penalty was punished in the 37th minute and the Eisbären took a 2-1 lead into the final session. Berlin extended their lead with 15 minutes left to play, and despite Ryan Kavanagh scoring another powerplay goal in the 50th minute, EHC Red Bull couldn't force the game into overtime.
Next match preview - EHC Red Bull München v Straubing Tigers (Tuesday 2nd October, 19:30 @ Olympia Eisstadion)
Bavarian rivals Straubing will be 'warmly' welcomed to the Eisstadion on Tuesday in what is expected to be a close game. The Tigers are a well coached outfit and play a similar style of hockey to EHC, so a tough hard working battle should be on the cards. Last season's games in Munich were shared 1 game apiece with both games only being settled with a penalty shoot-out. The teams also split 2 pre-season friendlies 1 game each. The one to watch on the opposition is new recruit Blaine Down who is on a hot streak with 6 goals in his first 5 league games. EHC Red Bull will be looking for their first league win of the season after a tough start, and I predict they'll get it and take the spoils with a narrow 3-2 victory. Full ticket information can be found on the official site.