The ugly news that Doug Shedden was told at the end of April certainly had a positive side aspect: he knew that he would lose his position as coach of the ERC Ingolstadt no longer has to travel to Straubing. In that place he didn’t like and in that hall there that he didn’t like, as he had emphasized several times in his almost four and a half years in Ingolstadt.
A lot is new at ERC Ingolstadt this season due to Shedden’s departure – and a lot is good. Under the new coach Mark French, the team, which was put together in parts by the new sports director Tim Regan, is playing an impressive season in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL). Behind the dominating table leader from Munich, the Ingolstadt team with their structured and, as in previous years, fast-paced game in second place are, so to speak, the “best of the rest”. But something has stayed the same: their aversion to having to compete in Straubing. On Sunday, the ERC players in the Eisstadion am Pulverturm made a 3:2 lead from a 0:2 deficit in the final third, only to concede the 3:3 with 100 seconds before the end and lose in the penalty shootout. They lost in Straubing for the 14th time in the last 15 attempts.
In the end, “that little bit of luck was missing,” said Leon Hüttl at Magentasport. Ingolstadt’s defender made it 3-2, and his emotional celebration showed just how important it was for the ERC players to finally write something positive again in the atmospheric Straubinger stadium. But they were denied this time too.
The match day weekend started well for both clubs: Ingolstadt beat Düsseldorf EG 4:3, the Tigers also won 4:3 against Löwen Frankfurt. So the derby was also the duel between fourth and second in the table, a real top game. Both teams are “pretty good”, said Straubing’s Benedikt Kohl before the game, “rightly so, I would say”.
The self-confidence with which the Ingolstadt team came to Straubing was evident in the first few minutes, which the guests played in the league’s strongest team at home. “We first had to find each other in order to adapt to their speed,” explained Straubing’s defender Cody Lampl after the first third. Despite the initial problems, the Lower Bavarians went into the first break with a lead, as Lampl had sent Garrett Festerling on the journey in the eighth minute and the experienced striker Michael Garteig in the ERC goal with a well-placed shot into the right corner of the cross.
Without their best scorers, Ingolstadt lacks precision in the end
Without their three best scorers Wayne Simpson, Charles Bertrand and Mirko Höfflin, who are all injured, the Ingolstadt team lacked precision in the final. The ERC attacking line, which was strong in the past games around Frederik Storm, Daniel Pietta and Tye McGinn, provided danger but not goals.
When Tigers captain Sandro Schönberger, whose contract was extended by a year last week, scored 2-0 (24th) in the 45th minute, the next ERC bankruptcy in Straubing seemed to be very close . But Storm (45′), Stefan Matteau (50′) and Hüttl (55′) turned the fast-paced game around with their goals. However, the Tigers had an answer to Ingolstadt’s honest efforts this time too. Mike Connolly scored when his goaltender Hunter Miska was benched in favor of a sixth fielder, leaving Travis Turnbull the lone shootout. The Turnbull who was part of the last Ingolstadt championship team in 2014.
Straubing consolidated his fourth place by winning the derby – in the playoffs beginning in March he would mean home advantage in the quarter-finals. And nobody knows how strong the Tigers are at home better than ERC Ingolstadt.