Strasbourg 2 defeats Tornado 5-4 in an exciting game
Tornado hosted Starsbourg, the league leader of the Group D of the French Division 3 on Saturday with hopes of clinching a first win in the disappointing 2009/2010 season.
Even though the play has vastly improved and there were glimpses of league competitiveness visible, the result was the same as all year long: another bitter loss for Luxembourg's number One hockey team.
Tornado was playing without Eric Wambach who broke his hand last week against Epinal and without Thierry Magalhaes who played with the U18 team in the morning. Coach Eriksson's squad was highly motivated to finally get a win and put pressure on the Strasbourg defense throughout the game.
From the get-go, the game was highly competitive with both teams exchanging chances and both goaltenders busy early. Unfortunately, it was on two missed clearing attempts and individual defensive mistakes that Tornado had to see Strasbourg take a 2-0 lead 6 minutes into the game, first at 3:46 on a goal by Guecan and then at 6:00 on a goal by Boisson. It seemed like the home team was continuing its streak of losses and was looking at a crushing defeat. But a determined Luxembourg bench fought its way back into the game before the end of the period. with Michal Loksa jumping on the ice after serving a slashing penalty, Georges Scheier and Benny Welter cleared the defensive zone to find the streaking Loksa who buried the pass for the 1-2 marker at 8:25. Strasbourg then saw 3 of their players take penalties in a span of 1 1/2 minutes and Patrick Schon capitalized on the 5-on-3 powerplay at 12:04 after taking a pass from David Donzel for his third of the season and the equalizer for Tornado. In a scramble in front of the Strasbourg net, it was Francois Schons who picked up the loose puck and put it behind the Strasbourg netminder after Robert Beran left a rebound. At 15:35, Tornado was thus leading its biggest foe by a score of 3-2. Unfortunately, Strasbourg's Kropp was able to capitalize on a breakaway at 18:36 to surprise the almost cold Gilles Mangen between the Tornado pipes and the game was all tied after the first period.
The second period started with a bang whenTornado's Agi Ichinnorov was checked heavily against the boards and Strasbourg's Bouge was sent off the ice with a major and a game misconduct penalty for boarding. Unfortunately, Tornado could not capitalize on the 5 minute powerplay and even had to take a shorthanded goal when Burgert created a defensive turnover into the 4-3 lead at 23:01. Unwilling to let up, Tornado increased the pressure on the opponent's net and got rewarded when captain Ronny Scheier netted his first of the season off a pass by Järvenpäa and Beran at 28:32. The game was very exciting up to that point and it got better in the third. Strasbourg on the other end capitalized on every mistake that Tornado made and at 34:20 Perle scored the 5-4 for the French guests.
The third period was that of exciting back-and-forth hockey with a lot of powerplay chances for Tornado that went to waste as the game ended on the 5-4 result of the second period. Mangen was spectacular in net in the last two periods of the game and the whole Tornado team showed resilience against a season-long dominating Strasbourg squad. In the end, a lack of conversion of offensive opportunities cost Tornado dearly even though the spectators experienced a great match between equal rivals (on the ice, not in the standings). It has more than enough to build on for the playdown round that will come up in January. For now, Tornado remains winless at the bottom of the league, but the new program of coach Joakim Eriksson will no doubt show its long-term benefits later in the year.