Munich, Germany - Defending DEL champion Eisbären Berlin and the Düsseldorfer EG Metro Stars won the opening games of their respective semifinal series Thursday. Steve Walker scored 39 seconds into overtime as Berlin came back from a two-goal deficit against the Hannover Scorpions. In Düsseldorf, Peter Ferraro's goal at 9:30 of the middle frame went down as the game-winner as the Metro Stars held on for a 3-2 home win over the Kölner Haie.
Coming off Tuesday's emotional Game 7 win over Ingolstadt, the 7th-seeded Hannover Scorpions
dominated the early going at Berlin's Wellblechpalast. Fatigue became a factor as the game wore along, though, and the top-seeded Berlin Eisbären
, who had a week's rest, managed to erase a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime where Steve Walker send a knuckling wrister past Trevor Kidd's glove hand just 39 seconds in to give Berlin a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Berlin's Czech netminder Tomas Pöpperle, who recorded 21 saves on the night, was not on top of his game early on. Hanover jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the opening period as Marty Murray and Patrik Augusta tallied back-to-back just 27 seconds apart. Murray beat Pöpperle high to the stick side with a one-timer from the left point. Then Patrik Augusta re-directed a pass from Patrick Köppchen from the left boards over Pöpperle's glove to double the lead to 2-0. With only 24 seconds left in the first, a short-handed goal by Mark Beaufait put the Eisbären on the scoreboard. He beat Scorpions goalie Kidd with a low wrist shot on a shorthanded 3-on-2 rush after a nice give-and-go with defenseman Micki DuPont. Hanover regained a two-goal lead when Robert Hock beat Pöpperle with a wrap-around on the power-play at the 8:29-mark of the second. The Scorpions then failed to extend their lead on a two-man advantage. At the other end of the ice, Berlin seized a power-play opportunity to get within a goal. With under five minutes left in the second, Deron Quint re-directed a pass from Walker under the crossbar to make it 3-2. At 10:00 of the third, Eisbären defenseman Frank Hördler connected on a slapshot to send the game into overtime.
The 3rd-seeded DEG Metro Stars
are also up 1-0 in their semifinal series against arch-rival Kölner Haie
. The long rest after their first-round sweep of Nuremberg did not seem to favour the Haie. Düsseldor jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 win at Brehmstrasse Arena. Klaus Kathan opened the scoring at the 8:32-mark, beating Haie goaltender Thomas Greiss after a pass from Thomas Jörg. The Metro Stars patiently waited for opportunities to open up. Craig Johnson (at 1:31 of the second) and Peter Ferraro (at 9:31) both scored on counterattacks to give Düsseldorf a 3-0 lead. Ferraro sped down the left wing and beat Greiss with a high wrister to the glove side. The Haie responded late in the period, cutting the lead to 3-2 within a span of 44 seconds. Alex Hicks found the back of the net on the power-play and Jan Alinc beat DEG goalie Andrej Trefilov on a penalty shot. Thanks to Trefilov's goaltending, the Stars held off Cologne's third period charge.