***image1***The KMC Eagles ice hockey team traveled to France Sunday night and came from behind to defeat the Strasbourg Gryphons 6-5 in a tight contest.
Strasbourg started the scoring very early in the game, but it didn’t take long for the Eagles to hop right back in it with a pretty goal from the reliable Eagles power forward. John “Big Johnny” Hale. However, Strasbourg countered with two more goals before the first period would end and the Eagles found themselves behind 3-1.
The Eagles regrouped and John Hoffman got the team back in it in the second period after rushing the puck down ice and beating the Strasbourg goaltender to make it 3-2. Strasbourg countered with another goal to make it 4-2 but again it wasn’t long before the Eagles would answer.
Lex Litzen beat the Strasbourg goalie midway through the period to make it 4-3. Play moved back and fourth between both teams and both goaltenders saw themselves very busy and kept the puck out of the net.
However, Eagles star defensemen Merrill Slepica rapidly moved into an offensive position and caught the Strasbourg defenders by surprise to add one more goal, tying things up 4-4 to end the second period.
The third period was back and forth the entire time. Penalties began to take their toll on the Eagles and Strasbourg took the lead to make it 5-4. It stayed that way until the middle of the period. Hale tied it up with his second goal of the game and in usual style, in front of the net with Strasbourg defenders hanging all over him. Hoffman then scored the game winner with 8 minutes remaining in the game, catching a rebound and sending a wrist shot high over the Strasbourg goaltender.
“It was a good come from behind win for us,” said Assistant Coach Mitch McKaig. “We got sloppy a few times and Strasbourg made us pay for our mistakes. However, my guys fought back and pulled through in the ***image2***end.
We’ve skated from behind before and it’s just a case of playing smart and not launching into panic mode. Adam Woolley and Rafael Lezcano were solid in the net and they definitely kept us in it” said McKaig.
Eagles Vice President John Hoffman also wanted to publicly thank the Kaiserslaughtern/Landstuhl Spouses Association for donating funds to repair the Eagles skate sharpener machine.
“We rely on this very expensive machine to maintain the safety and performance of all our player’s skates. Without the KLSA donation we would have had to travel to Manheim weekly to accomplish the task. It was an immense help and we are very thankful,” said Mr. Hoffman.
The next Eagles home game will be a preliminary USAFE Tournament match in Zweibrucken Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. against the Bitburg Bears.
Admission is free and the Eagles would enjoy support from the KMC.
(Courtesy of KMC Eagles hockey team)