Sharks Attack For Maracle Win

koln-1010th seed KOELNER HAIE (Cologne Sharks) received six goals from six different players and stormed to a surprise 6-1 opening-game victory on the road over 7th-seeded ERC Ingolstadt on the road in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga playoffs.

Cologne coach BILL STEWART made a significant move by benching Swiss international goaltender LARS WEIBEL, who had appeared in 48 (3.12 avg, 90.6 sv pct) of the Sharks’ 56 regular season contests.

Replacement netminder NORM MARACLE, a former Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings, enjoyed an oustanding match and finished with 33 saves. The 35-year-old veteran, who arrived in January from Croatian club HK Olimpija Ljubljana of the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, was of paramount importance in the opening period. Maracle kept ERC Ingolstadt off the scoreboard as the Sharks were heavily outshot 18-6 in the opening twenty minutes.

Maracle had played just five DEL games for Koeln (3.22 avg) and entered the playoff tie with ERC Ingolstadt sporting an 0-3 won-loss record in between the pipes for die Haie.

Ingolstadt did score eighteen seconds into the middle frame thru former Vancouver Canucks 1993 2nd round draft choice RICK GIRARD. But, the Sharks would respond with four second period goals despite again being outshot for the session. IVAN CIERNIK, BRYAN ADAMS, JASON JASPERS and CHRISTOPH MELISCHKO all lit the lamp for visiting Koeln. 

Die Haie, who reported played a very aggressive and physical match, added third period tallies from DANIEL RUDSLATT and CHRISTOPH ULLMANN.

Adams, Jaspers, Ullman and German Olympic forward MARCEL MUELLER, who mustered a pair of assists, all collected two points for Cologne in the contest.

“That was the first step, but Friday is a new day,” Stewart stated after the game. “Norm Maracle was the difference today.”

Cash-strapped Koelner Haie can put away ERC Ingolstadt in the short, best-of-three mini-series and advance to the quarterfinals of the DEL playoffs with a victory on Friday at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne.

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