Munich, Germany - Defending champion Berlin Eisbären is just one win away from a third straight trip to the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Finals. Pierre Page's team beat the 7th-seeded Hannover Scorpions on the road Sunday to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five semifinal series. The other series is knotted at one game apiece as the 5th-seeded Kölner Haie came from behind to beat the 3rd-seeded DEG Metro Stars.
Youngster Jens Baxmann's first-career postseason goal went down as the game-winner as the Berlin Eisbären
held off the Hannover Scorpions
3-2. Just seconds after coming out of the penalty box, Baxmann beat Scorpions goalie Trevor Kidd on the breakaway, going high to the glove side at the 5:17-mark of the second period. Hanover kept coming, but failed to turn the game around.
Berlin's netminder Tomas Pöpperle made 28 saves on the night. Hanover's Kidd stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced. Eisbären defenseman Micki DuPont assisted on all three goals.
The Eisbären opened the scoring with 5:01 left in the opening frame. Denis Pederson blasted a one-timer from between the hashmarks past Kidd to make it 1-0. It was also Pederson who brought the Scorpions back into the game two minutes later, turning over the puck to Hanover's Todd Warriner near the blueline on a two-man advantage. Warriner streaked down the ice alone and beat Pöpperle with a knuckling shot to the glove side to knot the game at 1-1. Still on the power-play, Berlin regained a 2-1 lead when Steve Walker scored on the rebound of a shot by Micki DuPont with 1:57 to go in the first. The Scorpions managed to even the score again 75 seconds into the middle frame when defenseman Sascha Goc backhanded home a rebound.
In Cologne, the Kölner Haie
tied up their best-of-five semifinal series against the DEG Metro Stars
with a 5-3 home win at KölnArena. Veteran Dave McLlwain led the way with a goal and three assists. Young goalie Thomas Greiss backstopped the Haie with 29 saves. Düsseldorf's Andrei Trefilov turned aside19 shots.
McLlwain's power-play tally at 8:22 of the first gave Hans Zach's Haie a 1-0 lead. Düsseldorf evened the score a minute later with a controversial goal. The puck went in off the right skate of Chris Schmidt who made an apparent kicking motion. But the goal was upheld after video review. The Haie took the lead again 40 seconds into the middle frame on a power-play goal from Ivan Ciernik. The Metro Stars bounced back and got back-to-back power-play goals from Patrick Reimer and Tore Vikingstad within two-and-a-half minutes to go up 3-2 at the game's midway point. But out of the blue, Philipp Gogulla scored for Cologne to knot the score at 3-3 at the final intermission. The Haie got off to a better start into the final period. Düsseldorf's Mike Pellegrims was assessed a minor for delay of game only 5 seconds in and the Haie cashed in on the ensuing power-play when Alex Hicks found the back of the net to make it 4-3 at the 1:46-mark. The game went back and forth and the game remained close until Eduard Lewandowski scored into the empty net to seal the Haie win.