Puckers secure a spot in the Finals of the Division Est with 8-4 win in Colmar
Without having practiced for the past two weeks since the home game against Colmar, the Puckers headed out to play their second semi-final game of this back-to-back series in Colmar.
The effects of “rust” showed early in the game as the Puckers got caught on an odd-man rush and Colmar’s Fuchs capitalized on a lack of defensive attention to put the home team up 1-0 at the 2:18 mark when he took a nice feed behind the defenseman and surprised Puckers’ goalie Federico Ferrari.
Despite dominating the game for long stretches at this point, passing was still a bit off and the Puckers could not convert on any of their chances.
Colmar on the other hand was very good at playing the odd-man rush game and managed to score the second tally of the game just 7 minutes in when Herpin picked Arnaud Guillard’s pocket and banged in his own rebound on the ensuing 1-on-0.
But after shaking off that rust, the line of Momo Lutov, David Donzel and Charles Vallée did their magic and finally got rewarded with a powerplay goal just before the 10 minute mark when Lutov took a hard shot in the slot that slid between the Colmar goalie’s pads. The ice was broken. 3 minutes later the Nick Aubin, Peter Hult, Mike Mekhaeel line also clicked and Aubin took the feed from Mekhaeel to tap in a nice back hand into the upper right corner to even the score.
Vallée and Donzel then combined just 23 seconds later to give the Puckers their first lead and first intermission score of 3-2.
Especially the first line came out with a lot of determination and dominated Colmar by holding them in their zone for long stretches of play. But it was second-line winger Aubin that would score his second of the night for the guests by beating Colmar’s Zaenkes low on the right side again. On the ensuing shift, there was some confusion in front of the net of Ferrari and Herpin managed to tap in yet another rebound to bring the home team within one. Donzel took a one-time shot on a pass from Lutov on the very next shift and the guests were making sure there was no hope left for Colmar to get back into this series (after losing the first game 5-14, Colmar would have had to win with a 10-goal differential). The end of period score was 6-3 after Mekhaeel scored on a beautiful no look pass from Hult right in the slot.
The final period was rather eventless. A bit more of the dominance by the Puckers and a few more unsuccessful break-away tries by Colmar. Vallée got his second of the night 3 minutes into the period and Sandoz capitalized on the powerplay for Colmar with captain Yves Barthels in the box for tripping. Donzel then hit home his second one-timer from Lutov and the final score was 8-4.
Despite the early sluggishness and the couple of defensive mistakes, the Puckers executed the game plan well, dominated Colmar for long stretches and showed they are ready to take on the winner of the Epinal-Mulhouse series.
The Man of the match competition was a bit tighter this time with 3 players recording two goals. But winner should be Momo Lutov who scored the first goal and fed two “très jolies passes” to David Donzel right in the slot for the one-timer goals. He also leads the team in scoring with 32 (18G 14A) and an incredible +42 rating.
With a spot in the Division Est Final, the Puckers are now already guaranteed a spot in the National semi-finals and will play for a spot in the National finals which will be held in May and where winning teams from all over France will compete for the Trophée Loisirs.