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The Ice Dragons from Herford and the Rockets from Diez-Limburg have been facing each other on the ice for many years. Even in the times of the Regionalliga, there were often gripping and scoring duels between the two teams – and also a championship final, which went to Herford. That was a few years ago, but the fascination of this encounter has remained. Nevertheless, it takes place every season under new conditions: both teams have new players in their ranks, both clubs a new head coach in the player gang. The curtain rises on the next chapter in their shared history.
“We have to push our limits in every game to be successful,” said Rockets head coach Jeffrey van Iersel. After the known departures in the summer, there are currently also the failures of veterans such as captain Daniel Ketter and striker Kevin Lavallee (use questionable). Van Iersel has no choice but to improvise anew every weekend and make the best of the situation.
The Dutchman has been doing this with an impressive success rate so far, because all the games against the teams from the bottom of the table that had to be won on paper were won – most recently with a spectacular 7-5 comeback win against Rostock. The fact that you lose games like against the Hanoverian teams Indians and Scorpions, against Tilburg or Leipzig, you simply have to accept with the different potentials of the teams in the league.
And in Herford, too, it will be extremely difficult, even if the Icedragons, like the Rockets, cannot muster the best squad at the moment – there are also failures in Herford. “99 percent will not be enough there against a very strong attacking team,” says van Iersel. “We have to stick to our plan and again show such a great character as we did last weekend.” The Rockets in Krefeld and against Rostock took full six points.
That it will be easy for the Rockets on Sunday at Heckenweg sounds provocative, but it is due to the starting position: The Saale Bulls are not leaders of the Oberliga Nord for nothing. And even if captain Kai Schmitz had to end his active career for health reasons and the Rockets fans will unfortunately no longer see him on the ice, this team is packed with a lot of quality.
“So far, Halle has improved and developed from game to game,” says the Rockets trainer. “Of course we’ll try to find a way to win this game. If we get our emotions and character combined with hard work, then we can certainly make life difficult for Halle. But for that, everything really has to fit together on this day. Above all, we have to avoid the slight mistakes that a team like Halle will immediately exploit. “