EHC Munich started the playoff semifinals of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) with a home win. On Friday, the winner of the main round defeated the Grizzlies Wolfsburg 5:2 and took a 1:0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game number two takes place in Wolfsburg on Sunday (1:15 p.m.). After the two quarter-final defeats against Bremerhaven, it was the fifth Munich playoff victory in a row.
“We want to bring self-confidence, commitment and, above all, our quality onto the ice from the very first second,” explained EHC captain Patrick Hager before the first semi-final game. And that’s exactly how the Munich team acted. Hager had the first chance to score after just nine seconds, after 85 seconds Trevor Parkes pushed the puck over the line to make it 1-0. After taking the lead, the Munich team kept going, one shot at a time at Dustin Strahlmeier’s goal, who was defeated for the second time in the seventh minute: a flick by Emil Johansson from the blue line found its way into the goal. The Swede had previously missed three playoff games through injury. “We know what’s coming,” Wolfsburg coach Mike Stewart said before the game – but Munich’s dominance in the first third was striking. The ratio of shots on goal after 20 minutes was 22:6, but two attempts by Wolfsburg’s Laurin Braun were dangerous (10th, 20th).
Wolfsburg energy boost
At the beginning of the middle third, it seemed as if Konrad Abeltshauser’s prediction could come true: He had expected a boost in energy from Wolfsburg, since they had prevailed in the decisive seventh quarter-final game in Straubing on Wednesday. Suddenly, the Grizzlies had chance after chance: Matt Lorito reduced the lead to 1:2 (23rd), and Darren Archibald just missed the equalizer (25th). However, a positional mistake by Wolfsburg gave Maximilian Kastner a solo run, and the EHC striker used it to make it 3-1 (28th). Andreas Eder then quickly made it 4-1 (29′), the momentum was clearly on the Munich side again. Gerrit Fauser’s 2:4 (40th minute) changed little because Yasin Ehliz made everything clear with the 5:2.
In the second semi-final series, ERC Ingolstadt lost 3-1 to Adler Mannheim.