News : A fresh dose of self-confidence – sport


News : A fresh dose of self-confidence – sport

Mathew Maione (EHC Red Bull Muenchen, 8) and Giovanni Fiore (Eisbaeren Berlin, 21) in front of Danny aus den Birken's goal

Stable backing: EHC goalkeeper Danny aus den Birken showed 32 parades against the polar bears and was the guarantee for the 4-1 success against the top team from the northern relay.

(Photo: Heike Feiner / imago images / Eibner)

Simon Després knew what to do. First the defender of the Eisbären Berlin pointed out that you simply cannot win every game, then he gratefully accepted the game plan creators’ support. “The nice thing is that we will meet them again in the next game,” said the Canadian with a smile Magenta Sports. “I hope they are ready for us because we will come.” On Easter Sunday, the EHC Red Bull Munich was more than ready – and hailed the polar bears at Easter with a confident 4-1 home win. To the delight of Després, the duel will be held again this Tuesday, then in Berlin (6.30 p.m.).

Munich’s fifth win in a row in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) had a different weight than the previous four against Krefeld and Cologne, the two last-placed teams in the North Division. “You can see that we can also do it against the big ones,” said EHC goalkeeper Danny from the Birken with a laugh. He alluded to the previous Munich problems in games against other top teams: Of the eight duels against Mannheim and Ingolstadt, the two biggest rivals in the southern group, the EHC had only won one. This success against by far the best north team should give the Munich fresh self-confidence in the direction of the playoffs.

“We reacted correctly when we had to defend it,” said EHC coach Don Jackson

In the duel of the two best offensives in the league, the defensive compactness of the Munich team, which was often not given in the previous weeks, was decisive. This time the EHC acted in the backward movement concentrated and consistent. “We did great the whole game,” said Munich coach Don Jackson. Berlin had numerous offensive situations, “but we reacted correctly when we had to defend them”. Especially in the middle of the game, the Munich team hardly allowed anything in their own third, gaps and defensive support were right. “We have now talked extremely about the little things after we have had problems lately,” said aus den Birken, who showed a strong performance and ended his working day after 32 parades. “I think that worked well. We improved these little things.”

The defensive stability enabled the EHC to use a means that many of its opponents regularly bring successfully on the ice against him: a fast and determined game of switching. The decisive goals for 2: 1 and 3: 1 by Frank Mauer (21st) and Yasin Ehliz (22nd) within 55 seconds at the beginning of the middle third came from counter-situations that were precisely played to the end. The polar bear defense worked several times like the EHC defense in the weeks before: quite permeable. Berlin goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger had to deal with three Munich solo attempts in the first 24 minutes alone, which he defused except for those of Mauer (21st). “The game was a good lesson for us,” said polar bear defender John Ramage. “We made serious mistakes that created great opportunities for Munich.”

The game changes with the beginning of the second phase of the game

With the Munich team, however, this time defensive timing and toughness fit. Maximilian Kastner’s energetic but fair check on Mark Olver in minute 33 was symbolic of this. “Munich is a potential opponent in the playoffs, so we want to show them what to expect,” said polar bear defender Ryan McKiernan before the game . However, the Munich-based company set the tone. Kastner had given the Munich team a 1-1 equalizer in 17 minutes after conquering a strong target in the Berlin third. This goal was very important from Munich’s point of view, as the polar bears had previously had more of the game thanks to three EHC time penalties and had deservedly taken the lead after Leo Pföderl’s 20th goal of the season (10th, majority). With the beginning of the middle third, however, the game tipped over. “From the second third we showed very, very good ice hockey,” said Kastner, who like Ehliz continued his run: Ehliz had met four times three days earlier in Krefeld, Kastner three times. Maximilian Daubner’s 4-1 in minute 43 put the lid on a good game in which the Munich team had to do without captain Patrick Hager and Mark Voakes due to injury.

It is still unclear when the two center strikers will be able to play again. “We don’t know for sure,” said Jackson, who believes it will take at least a week for both of them. There is good news from defense attorney Keith Aulie, who is back in Munich after a bereavement in the family and is training with the team. Jackson plans to give him another week of ice training before using him again. In Berlin it should be judged by those from Easter Sunday.


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