Munich, Germany - Daniel Kreutzer scored his second straight game-winner to lift the DEG Metro Stars to the DEL semifinals for the first time in a decade. Also on Sunday, the Hannover Scorpions forced a Game 7 against ERC Ingolstadt with a big home win. An era came to an end in Kassel as the Huskies, a DEL charter member in 1994 and finalist in 1997, will be relegated to Division 2 after their fourth relegation series loss to first-year team Duisburg Füchse.
Kreutzer went top-shelf on Roman Cechmanek from the slot at 3:16 of the final period and defenseman Alexander Sulzer added an empty-netter in the waning seconds as the 3rd-seeded DEG Metro Stars
beat the 6th-seeded Hamburg Freezers
4-2 on the road to win the series 4-2. Düsseldorf got off to a great start. Patrick Reimer deflected in a slapshot from Sulzer on the power-play and Chris Ferraro took advantage of a turnover from Hamburg's Jeff Ulmer to put the Metro Stars up 2-0 at the 5:08-mark. The Freezers managed to bounce back and knot the score at 2-2. Lukas Slavetinsky got them on the board with 5:15 left in the first and Jacek Plachta came up with the equalizer on the man advantage 40 seconds before the final intermission. The momentum turned again early in the third when Klaus Kathan forced a turnover inside the Freezer blue line and found Kreuter wide open in the slot.
The 7th-seeded Hannover Scorpions
evened the series with 2nd-seeded ERC Ingolstadt
for the third time. Trevor Kidd made a 31-save-effort as Hanover routed Ingolstadt 5-1 at home to force a Game 7 showdon in Ingolstadt on Tuesday. Steve Guolla converted a feed from 43-year-old Wally Schreiber to open the scoring at 14:07 of the first and the hosts never looked back. Second-period tallies from Shawn Heins, Sascha Goc (PP) and Robert Hock extended Hanover's lead to 4-0. A short-handed goal by Sean Tallaire put Ingolstadt on the scoreboard five minutes into the final period. Thomas Dolak capped the scoring at 5-1 with 1:29 left in regulation.
The 14th-ranked Duisburg Füchse
bounced back well from a late-season breakdown, winning the relegation series against the 13th-ranked Kassel Huskies
4-1. Robert Francz scored the game-winner as Duisburg erased a 3-2 deficit to win Game 5 by a score of 4-3. Füchse goalie Christian Rohde turned in another mind-boggling performance, turning aside 46 of the 49 shots he faced. It marked the third time that the 23-year-old recorded 40+ saves during this series.
First-year team Duisburg will stay for good as relegation is about to be dropped by the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) starting next season. Meanwhile, the Kassel Huskies, one of the league's 18 charter members in 1994 and DEL Finalist in 1997, will be relegated to Division-2. The club was on the verge of being relegated last summer, too, after falling to then-expansion Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg in the relegation series. But the Huskies were allowed to stay in the league when Wolfsburg's was kicked out of the league during the off-season.