Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Longest Skills Competition Ever

When is a shootout not a shootout? When it lasts 54 shots and over 30 minutes! January 23 saw a top-division Bundesliga game in Germany between women's teams ECDC Memmingen Indians and EC
Bergkamen Baren tied at 3-3 after regulation time before the ladies participated in the shootout. I'm quite certain no one saw 54 rounds of breakaways coming next.

We almost didn't get to see history made as league-leading Memmingen trailed 3-1 with 4:43 to play, but two quick goals before the final horn by leading scorer Nicola Eisenschmid and Kaitlyn Keon - a Toronto native who went to Brown University - pushed this game into extra time. Franziska Albl for Memmingen and Jule Flotgen for Bergkamen didn't flinch through overtime, so it was off to the shootout where the two goalies were outstanding. Only three shooters on each side had scored in the previous 26 rounds before Julia Seitz beat Flotgen on the 53rd shot of the skills competition. The pressure was on for Rebecca Graeve of Bergkamen, and Albl kicked out the shot from Graeve to secure the 4-3 victory!

Memmingen head coach Werner Tenschert wasn't all that happy with his team's effort, but gladly took the win. Loosely translated, his statement reads, "We failed to take advantage of opportunities. But I have to praise my team as we never gave up and believed in our chances even down 3-1."

Seitz was honest about how she decided on her shot that was the winner. "Once I was on the ice I thought I have to make it so that the game would have an end. I blanked out my original plan on how to shoot and decided spontaneously," she told Eishockey News.

Only 109 people in attendance were able to witness German national team player Julia Seitz end this marathon which seems wrong for the top women's league in Germany. You would think that with the popularity of men's ice hockey in Germany that some of the excitement would carry over to the women's game, but Germany seems to be experiencing the same apathy towards the women that North American women's hockey sees. Because of this apathy, a lot of people missed out on history.

In the end, Memmingen caps off the comeback with some history, and they retain their top spot in the Budesliga standings as well as writing their names into the record book. The previous longest shootout record was also set in Germany when the Straubing Tigers downed EHC Munchen 5-4 after 42 shots in the DEL on November 21, 2010. The longest NHL shootout was between the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. Florida won 2-1 on December 16, 2014 after 40 shots in the shootout.

The best part? 18 hours later, these two teams met again. No shootout was required in the second-half of the back-to-back as Memminger took that game by a 6-2 score. Thank goodness there was no need for another shootout!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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