Who would you like? Ben Street grinned as he asked that question in the improvised mixed zone outside the dressing room of the EHC Red Bull Munich placed in the room. His little son whirled around between his legs, the kindergarten-aged kid wore his father’s EHC jersey, which was still too big, and had fun with a racket and disc that was oversized for his standards, although Ben Street didn’t allow him to go it alone just a few meters away to go ice cream. So there was also a second, much younger Street variant available as an interview option.
The decision then fell on Street senior, who had deserved the attention in the almost 65 minutes of play beforehand. The 35-year-old attacker scored three times on Thursday evening in Munich’s exciting 5-4 victory after extra time against the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers from Switzerland, with which the EHC opened the door to the round of 16 in the Champions Hockey League (CHL). After their third win in the third group stage match, they are seven points ahead of the Swiss in second place with eight points. Tappara Tampere from Finland leads Group C with nine points. With a win in the home game against Slovan Bratislava on Saturday (5 p.m.) the EHC qualification for the knockout stage would already have been bagged.
It was Street’s first hat trick in “eight, nine years, I can’t remember exactly”
It’s understandable that Street spoke of a “nice evening”. But not only that, he was also spectacular. Thanks to Street’s first two goals (3rd, 10th), the EHC took the lead twice in the first third, but after conceding three goals within six and a half minutes, he started the final third with a 2:4 deficit. “We gave them too many easy chances to score,” said the Canadian about the failed middle period. Street helped with the early 3:4 in the final third (43 rd ) to make the EHC race to catch up a success. Zach Redmond (46th) and Austin Ortega in overtime (64th) completed them with their goals. The Swiss, whose around 500 supporters who traveled with them and dressed stringently in red, pulled off an atmospheric away block show, only had one consolation point.
Street’s first hat-trick in “eight, nine years, I can’t remember exactly” was the continuation of his top start to the season. The Canadian had already scored twice in the 4-1 away win against Rapperswil-Jona a week earlier – no CHL player has scored more goals this season than the Munich centre-forward, who, along with his row colleagues Frederik Tiffels and Andreas Eder, each played on Thursday two assists, already harmonized very well.
Street struggled to adjust at the start of last season
Last season, his first ever away from North America, Street struggled early on with adjustments – and not just on the ice. When he opened a window in his Munich apartment for the first time, he thought it was broken. “Then I realized that in Germany you can also tilt the windows,” he said.
New everyday life, new league, new game system: Both EHC trainer Don Jackson and Street himself spoke on Thursday of a “learning curve” that the attacker had to cope with last season. It took a bit for him to get used to everything, he said, “I felt like I was walking around this curve for most of the season”. However, he did it very smoothly: The fact that he finished the pre-season with 46 points from 49 league games made it clear what qualities slumbered in him. “He was pretty good last year, too,” Jackson said with a grin on Thursday. Now he is “one step better”.
Street’s playmaking and technical skills were never in question, and he currently shines with a good move towards goal: against Rapperswil he scored all three goals directly in front of the opponent’s goal. Where you have to stand up to it and sometimes take something. With his diverse skills, the 34-year-old, whom they christened “Street” in the EHC cabin, should help them get on the road towards the final. The one they missed in February when they had to do without five German Olympians in the 3-0 semi-final against Tappara Tampere – and one Canadian: Ben Street.