Julian Lautenschlager had to watch the final third on Sunday from outside due to an injury. The striker will be missing from EC Bad Nauheim in Bietigheim. © Andreas Chuc Agency
How long will EC Bad Nauheim remain unbeaten? After two wins at the start, the Red Devils face two teams that are still without a win. One striker is out.
(mn). EC Bad Nauheim emerged privileged from the first main round weekend of the German Ice Hockey League 2. Only three (!) of the 14 teams – including the Red Devils – are undefeated, which underlines the balance of the league. On Friday, against DEL relegated Bietigheim Steelers (7.30 p.m.), and on Sunday (6.30 p.m.), against Wolves Freiburg, Bad Nauheim will face two clubs that are still waiting for their first success.
Twelve strikers in training, but only eleven strikers in the squad: Julian Lautenschlager (thigh injury) was unable to train this week. He will definitely be missing on Friday and will be represented in his position – as in the final section on Sunday – by Kevin Orendorz. In order to ensure training operations with four complete rows, Jeff Fearing has added to the group this week. The American, who is based in the Rhine-Main region for work, had already gone on the ice in Lauterbach in August.
»Bietigheim wants and needs to take something away from the home game after the opening weekend. The squad has brutal quality. We’ll probably have our hands full,” says Harry Lange. Looking ahead to Sunday, the EC coach said: »With one exception last year, the games against Freiburg were always very close. And that’s what I expect this time too.”
Regarding the goalkeeper question, a division of labor is planned again. It was still unclear which keeper would get which game after the final training session on Thursday.
Everything new in Bietigheim: A new managing director (Gregor Rustige), a new coach (Dean Fedorchuk), a new team (only five contracts had been extended), a new cooperation partner (Adler Mannheim)! In Bietigheim everything was turned inside out in the summer. After two years in the DEL and the relegation that became apparent early on, a certain spirit of optimism can be felt in Ellental. More spectators attended the first DEL2 home game last Friday against Krefeld than at the DEL opener the year before. The trend had already become apparent during preparation. The Steelers have formally handed in their DEL documents, but no one is talking about direct promotion outside the gates of Stuttgart. The budget is likely to be in the upper midfield compared to the league. Dean Fedorchuk, a former player in Bietigheim, is faced with the challenge of forming a team from more than a dozen newcomers. A process that requires patience, as the one-point opening weekend (defeat after extra time against Krefeld and defeat in Crimmitschau) confirmed. With captain Pascal Zerressen (nine games in the 2020/11 season) and Dominik Lascheit (2015 to 2017), there are two former devils in the squad. Veteran Max Prommersberger will be missing (injured). The Steelers will also probably have to do without forward Ryon Moser.
Against Freiburg – reunion with Philipp Wachter: Philipp Wachter has been under contract in Bad Nauheim for the past two seasons. The defender is hoping for more ice time in Breisgau. After good preparation and a poor start to the competitive game (1:4 against Regensburg), the 28-year-old was missing from the Wolves squad on Sunday (2:5 in Kaufbeuren). The same applies in Freiburg: the integration of more than a dozen new players and the adjustment to the ideas of the new coach Timo Saarikoski just take time. Defender Sameli Ventelä and striker Nick Master, the two Germany debutants in the contingent player positions, cannot yet fill the roles intended for them; as does Alex Roach. The defender – who came from Cologne – was in the stands at the start of the season as a surplus player over the age of 24. The most successful goalscorer in preparation was second division newcomer Parker Bowles. The Canadian had once shaken up the league – playing for Tilburg and Hannover – and has now moved from Norway to the Black Forest.
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