Manchester Storm kept their impressive home run going with a 5-5 draw with the Ice Bears.
After creating some good early chances, Storm fell two goals behind as the Ice Bears took advantage of some poor defence play by Storm. The goals came from Steve LaRouche and Scott Levins to give the Ice Bears a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.
Storm blitzed the Germans with a rampant show in the second period, dominating the play and turning the game around. They went from 0-2 down, to lead 4-2 by the end of the period. Goals came from Joe Cardarelli (2), one of them a length of the rink run after the Ice Bears committed themselves forward, Trevor Gallant and Russ Romianiuk who scored after his initial shot was saved and he stuck in the rebound. The Ice Bears were struggling but they could only blame themselves as they lost Boris Blank, Nico Pyka and Martin Lindman at different stages of the period. This proved vital as two of Storm’s goals came on the powerplay.
In the third period the Storm fans got behind the team, sensing an excellent victory. To be fair it didn’t look as if the Ice Bears would turn it around but anything can happen in hockey. With fifteen minutes left on the clock Chris Marinucci finished off a fine move after good work from Sven Felski and David Cooper. It all got very tense. Could the Storm hold on? No, with just four minutes to go the Storm defence crumbled and Alexander Barta grabbed an equalising goal. It looked as if we were going to overtime. The action heated up and the 3002 fans in the MEN Arena were witnessing some terrific end-to-end hockey. Marinucci thought he had the last laugh when he scored a short-handed goal after great determination from Eduard Lewandowski and Boris Blank created the opportunity. Storm fans couldn’t believe their team had thrown away a 4-2 lead right at the death. In the last minute Storm went for it and they pulled goalie, Mike Torchia, to add an extra skater. It looked as if it was all over as the German defence held out until there was 15 seconds left. Mark Bultje got down the right and played the puck right along the face of the goal. The defenceman couldn’t reach it, the puck beat the goalie and then in came Pierre Allard to fire in to a half empty net. Pulling the goalie had worked for Storm and they had equalised with just 9.7 second left on the clock!
Well, after that thrilling finale the five minutes overtime that followed was going to be tense. It was like those last few minutes all over again. It was like in the school playground next goal winner and it could go either way. In the end no one could finish it off so both sides settled for a 5-5 draw. Storm’s disappointment at chucking away a lead was evident and it cost Britain the Ahearne Trophy.
London Knights chucked away a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 with the Schwenninger Wild Wings; Ayr Scottish Eagles picked up Britain’s only win of the night as they beat Frankfurt 5-3. Elsewhere the Bracknell Bees lost 4-3 against Dusseldorf. It wasn’t to be for the British Superleague and they lose the Ahearne Trophy to the German DEL.