In the third duel of the season with Villach, HCI managed the first victory in a convincing 5:1 away win. Once again, the strong Haie power play proved to be the tipping point in the final third on Monday.
Villach – The Innsbruck Sharks’ hopes of taking advantage of Villach goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux’s suspension were dashed by Alexander Schmidt on Monday. The backup goalie co-produced with HCI keeper Tom McCollum to ensure a scoreless first period. Chances were available in the high-intensity encounter in abundance on both sides. The Innsbruckers had the goal celebration on the tongue with a double chance by Thomas Mader and Clemens Paulweber (16.). Dario Winkler, who was making his comeback from injury, would also have been pleased with the lead.
The league leader from the Tiwag-Arena made it difficult for the Villacher Adler to defend the spotless white vest in the direct duel (two season’s victories against the HCI). In the middle third, goalkeeper McCollum stood out from a strong collective – alongside “local hero” Nico Feldner.
The 24-year-old came through after an aggressive but unrewarded power play – and scored to take the lead (34th). A goal that transformed the strong reaction to the 1:3 defeat in Asiago into something countable. However, the joy of the lead was marred only a short time later by the equalizer by Kevin Moderer (34th). The eye-to-eye clash went into the decisive third period at a stalemate. Feldner summed up the situation even beforehand in the Puls24 interview: “This is a super game today.”
And once again, HCI’s bearish power play mutated into the tipping point. Tyler Coulter not only successfully deflected Simon Bourque’s shot to give Innsbruck the lead (43rd), but also Adam Helewka’s shot one minute later – the Sharks are a great power in overtime.
Brady Shaw (54.) and Martin Ulmer (56./after a brilliant Helewka-preparation) even scored a 5:1-canon victory. And the Haie fans who had come along were shown once again: Dreams have their justification in the current season. (dale)