After a streak of three defeats, HCP wants to get back on the road to success today. That should work against leaders HC Tiroler Wasserkraft Innsbruck, who are currently on a winning streak, but suffered a sensitive 3:8 defeat in the first leg in Brunico. Emil Christensen finally returned to the Wolverhampton squad after a long break due to injury, and only Ivan Althuber, who is ill, and new signing Nick Plastino, who has not yet arrived at Brunico, are absent.
Hay didn’t take long for the dreaded satire ice hockey game to begin. Ulmer hit a fine shot from close range in the second minute, but Scholl brushed it away. After a short time, HCP moves too far in attack and is immediately punished: Haie plays a fast 3 against 1 counter-attack perfectly and Coulter only needs to press to make it 1:0 after a perfect cross from Brady Shaw. Haie is also the most active team in the aftermath, but the HCP defense keeps the box clean despite being outclassed two games by the league’s most dangerous powerplay team. Archambault misses the biggest chance to equalize after a good combination with Hanoune, so it remains a narrow 0:1 deficit in the first half.
In the second third, Wolves come out of the dressing room very aggressively and find good equalizing opportunities with Catinacci and Sana at the start. However, these remain unused, as do the powerplay opportunities for Black and Yellow, so the Sharks once again get the upper hand. After Simon Bourke failed to hit the crossbar in the 26th minute, Cory McCain headed Watson’s cross home in the 34th minute. HCP is now visibly overwhelmed and the hosts follow suit, Nico Feldner pulling straight from a 2v1 counter-attack and hitting Kreuzeck short to lead 3:0 for Tyrolean. Just before the end of the third period, another HCP player has to go into the penalty area, the fans who traveled with them fear the worst, but suddenly Aaron Luchuk reaches the goal on the blue line after a powerful strike, alone storms in McCollum and pushes the puck to make it 1: 3 hit contact through brackets.
So the game opened again, HCP smelling the morning air and storming out of the dressing room again in the final third with great momentum. The sharks remaining power game is easily killed and then the wolves attack again. After a good two minutes, the main scene of the game, Ahl cornered McCollum’s goal with great speed and pushed the ball past the Innsbruck keeper and into the goal for what was supposed to be a goal. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way, the referees inexplicably refuse to acknowledge the goal despite watching video for several minutes, and so Wolves have to keep chasing a two-goal deficit. Archambault and Willcox have two more good chances to make it 2:3, but then HCP doubles down due to two penalties and Haie uses this in class team style to make the initial decision: at 5 vs. 3 Corey Mackin scores 4:1 and shortly after the end of the second penalty , Ulmer brings it up to 5: 1. Wolves do not give up, Willcox (a deflected shot from Luchuk) and Ahl per rebound bring HCP back to 3: 5, but the final stout attack with 6 field players brings nothing, so the black and yellow remain in fourth place Time follow without points.
There’s no time to take a break now, as the game continues tomorrow at 7.45pm at the Intercable Arena with the second leg against Pioneers Vorarlberg. Beating the Feldkirchers is a must, let’s go!