Freezers Go Up 2-0 Over Ingolstadt After Consecutive Stacy OT Winners
Paul Stacy. That is a name that one has to imagine is getting seriously thrown around by NHL and KHL general managers alike. In games 1 and 2 he gave more reasons for that conversation to continue. Stacy recorded the game winning goals in overtime of games 1 and 2 to lead the Hamburg Freezers to a 2-0 series lead over Ingolstadt ERC. The 1st game was high flying with the Freezers winning 6-5 in OT, while the second was much more physical. The results in the end were the same though as Stacy scored in the extra frame to pull out the victory 4-3.
GAME 1 IN HAMBURG
FREEZERS 6 ERC 5 (OT)
In game 1 the Freezers home crowd was seriously ready. They don’t call the O2 World in Hamburg “The Jailbreak” for no reason. (this phrase was in fact coined because of all the rumors of Mr. Stacy’s underworld friends) The crowd electricity was just awesome to start the game, but ERC managed to silence the 20,000 or so in attendance quickly. ERC winger Joe Motzko beat Hamburg goalie John Curry 9 minutes in to go up 1-0 before many fans had even settled in to their seats. The Freezers came right back reenergized the crowd finding the net, and then did it again repeatedly. Goals were scored by Murphy and Festerling, and Mikhail Kupchik seemed to be the playmaker on a few of these as advertised. The Freezers were up by 2 goals at one point in the 2nd period, but as in their entire playoff run they could not hold the lead.
It started with the 3rd period becoming a much more hard hitting affair with bodies flying everywhere. It sure did not take long for the hate to come out in this series. Then midway through the 3rd, ERC came back to tie the game and a sudden frost came over the building. Would the Freezers give away game 1? This is when Freezers left wing Colin Murphy took over and did everything he could to not let that happen. The hard hitting Murphy simply dominated the puck control. In the last 5 minutes Murphy got off 5 shots and could not be knocked off the puck. One could tell that the Hamburg crowd expected him to put in the game winner, and Murphy thought himself a man of destiny, but Murphy just could not seal the deal. Instead with total horror Brandon Wong from ERC scored the go-ahead goal with 47 seconds left, and it looked like Ingolstadt was going to steal the game. This is where Stacy took over.
With 25 seconds left in the game Stacy beat Gordon for his second goal of the game. It could not have come at a better time as it seemed like ERC was going to go home up 1-0.
Then shortly into OT, Stacy took a pass at the top of the blue line and moved in low. Mikhail Kupchik managed to find his way in front of ERC goalie Ian Gordon for the perfect screen, and Stacy flipped the puck over Gordon’s glove side to notch a hat trick and more importantly secured the win. And yes, the fans went nuts!
HIGHLIGHTS GAME 1
GAME 2 IN INGOLSTADT
Freezers 4 ERC 3 (OT)
Game 2 was a completely different story, and yet more of the same. The hard hitting really picked up and the Ingolstadt crowd winced at some of the bone jarring hits. Freezers defenseman Christophe Schubert was all over the ice throwing his body around and almost ejected ERC forward Josh Lunden into another stratosphere. ERC Center Jared Ross seemed to be just as up to the challenge hammering anyone close to him in a Freezers uniform. Both teams appear to be lucky that no one from either team had any injuries that may shorten their bench.
Ingolstadt again opened the scoring due to a lapse of reason in the Hamburg defense. Trevor Bruess flipped the puck again past Curry for a quick 1-0 lead and the Ingo crowd began serenading Curry thinking they were going to get into his head. They didn’t. Despite allowing 3 goals in this game Curry was solid. Despite numerous breakdowns in the Hamburg D he made key saves, stopping a few ERC shooters at point blank range.
In the meantime Hamburg answered and again took a 2 goal lead going up 3 to 1 on goals by Collins, Brooks, and Festerling. Though it looked like this one was in the bag, once again Hamburg showed their biggest weakness. They just cannot hang on to a lead in these playoffs. Up 3 to 1 the ERC scored late in the 2nd period and then forward Jeremy Reich scored early in the 3rd to tie the game. The ERC crowd at this point let its presence (and volume) be known and there was once again the feeling they could steal the game. Their volume and cheers turned to severe boos as Ross took a nasty slashing penalty in the last minute of regulation. The crowd may have been very upset, but It was the right call. Ross knew it and so did his team.
Hamburg tried its hardest to capitalize on the Power Play as Kupchik led the way. He had 4 consecutive shots from the right faceoff circle after winning 4 straight draws in that same circle. Goaltender Gordon was up to challenge though, saving each shot and holding on for another faceoff. It was almost like watching the same exact play 4 times in a row. Due to Gordon’s heroics the Freezers could not score and the game again went into extra time.
In this OT, it was John Curry who stepped up his game, stopping first a breakaway by Jared Ross after Ross came out of the box and then stopping a point blank shot by Joe Motzko as he was in all alone in the slot. Curry has been much maligned so far in these playoffs, but if not for him in making these stops then this series would be tied at 1.
Instead Paul Stacy once again proved to be the difference. A slap shot from just inside the blue line as Stacy was moving to his right blew by Gordon and sealed the win for the second game in a row.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM GAME 2
Paul Stacy now has 10 goals in 8 games and is seriously finding his playoff groove. ERC has to begin to slow him down high in the slot. Especially in critical situations. They need to chip him better and block shots from the top. He seems to have too much space and this makes him a juggernaut.
On the ERC side, where is Thomas Greilinger? He is absent and his playing time reflects this only logging 12 minutes in game 2. He has been invisible. Not what Inglostadt needs.
Freezers center Mikhail Kupchik is averaging 76% face-off wins and seems to dominate the face-off circle like his famous uncle. Every time the Freezers win on the face-off they seem to set up Stacy. ERC has to start winning more of these battles, as this is driving the Hamburg offense.
Lastly, so far ERC has successfully killed the 2 penalties they have faced, which has got to be a moral victory for ERC. Netminder Ian Gordon has so far held his end big time on the kills. This will have to continue as the Freezers now lead 2-0 heading home. If Ingolstadt has any preying chance (and its dimming by the day) they will have to be perfect on the kill.
More Games Coming Soon…