Don jackson looked calmly into the round. His berlin coach colleague uwe krupp also stayed cool after auben. It couldn’t be more exciting: the final drama of the german ice hockey championship will be a showdown between EHC red bull munchen and the ice barbarians berlin.
On thursday (19.30 o’clock) the all-important seventh match takes place in munich. The taciturn EHC coach jackson didn’t want to know about a home advantage. "That’s something for journalists," was his grumpy reply on tuesday evening.
The munich team, so confident until the fourth duel of the final series and the 3:1 lead, showed nerves of steel. The reigning champion is on the verge of losing the almost certain title hat trick after the second missed match puck. Even the most cautious optimists had not expected such a comeback from the icemen.
After the brilliant 5:3 victory in the sixth match, even a historic title win is possible: never before has a finalist in the german ice hockey league (DEL) come back from a 1:3 deficit in the series to lift the cup. "This is one of the best series i’ve ever played in," said jamie macqueen, whose winning goal in the 6-5 thriller in the fifth match in munich set the tone for an impressive comeback chase.
After the unexpected comeback, the icemen have a psychological advantage. Even if captain andre rankel, who was already present at the so far last championship coup of 2013, did not want to attach any higher importance to it. "No idea if the munich team has a mental crack. It doesn’t matter," said the veteran: "we’re having so much fun playing field hockey right now. I’m really looking forward to thursday."
For the star ensemble from munich, which presented itself in an unusually nervous and undisciplined manner in berlin, it is now a matter of coming to terms with the weak game. "We will analyze this and focus on ourselves again and then try to fight back on thursday," silver medalist patrick hager announced.
The EHC, accustomed to success, has to deal with an unfamiliar situation. For the first time since promotion to the DEL, the team will have to play a seventh game. In the two previous championship years, the jackson team had decided all series duels after a maximum of five games.
The fact that the munich team is now facing such fierce resistance is also a credit to ice coach krupp, who is hoping for his first DEL title. The former national coach has to think about how his team can inflict the fourth defeat on the ehc. But he doesn’t see any major potential for surprise. "Both teams know each other well and are well adjusted to each other," says krupp. "This will be a good ice hockey game."
National coach marco sturm is less pleased with the long drawn-out final series ahead of the world ice hockey championships, which begin in just over a week’s time. Ten silver medal winners from pyeongchang are currently still in the DEL finals. Sturm depends on most of them for its world championship squad, but will not be able to draw on them until late in the game.