While Berlin (103 points), the Kölner Haie (93), Düsseldorfer EG Metro Stars (89), Adler Mannheim (87) and Nürnberg Ice Tigers (83) have already secured playoff berths, four teams are still battling for the final three spots: the Krefeld Pinguine (75), Kassel Huskies (75), Hamburg Freezers (72) and Iserlohn Roosters (69).
The Berlin Eisbären are only one win away from earning the top seed for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Despite being outshot 38-19, the Eisbären edged the Krefeld Pinguine on the road 3-1 (1-1, 1-0, 1-0). Krefeld took the early lead on a powerplay tally by Mario Doyon, but Berlin rallied back with three unanswered goals. Defensemen Brad Bergen and Rob Leask both scored powerplay goals before Dave Roberts’s goal with 36 left in regulation put the game away.
The fourth-place Mannheim Adler were shut out for the third straight time, losing 1-0 (0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0) at home after penalty shootout to the thriving Iserlohn Roosters (69). Scott King scored the game-winning attempt, Roosters netminder Jimmy Waite recorded his fifth shutout of the season.
Hoping to pass the Adler and secure home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs, Nuremberg failed to take advantage of Mannheim’s struggles. The Nürnberg Ice Tigers suffered their fourth straight home loss against thriving ERC Ingolstadt (59 points). Set up by a long pass from defenseman Christian Schönmoser, Vitalij Aab put Nuremberg ahead on a breakaway 8:21 into the first period. Ingolstadt responded just 23 seconds later when Sam Groleau one-timed Jason Young’s feed from behind the net past Tigers goalie Frederic Chabot. Nürnberg re-claimed the lead on the man advantage midway through the second period when hot Dave Tomlinson deflected a shot from Kevin Dahl past Ingolstadt’s Mike Bales. But Ingolstadt tied the game at 2-2 later in the period when Jean-Francois Jomphe rifled home a wrister from between the hashmarks after a give-and-go with Jason Young. After a scoreless third, Young scored the game-winning conversion in the shootout to give Ingolstadt two important points in the battle against relegation. Frankfurt facing relegation series
Thanks to the better goal differential, Ingolstadt moved into 12th place in the standings, while the winless Frankfurt Lions (59 points) slipped to 13th, which would make them play the last-place Schwenningen Wild Wings in the so-called “Playdown Series” if the season ended today. The loser of this best-of-seven series will be relegated to Division-2.
Despite a first-period powerplay goal from Pat LeBeau, Frankfurt got thrashed on the road by the streaking Hannover Scorpions 4-1 (0-1, 3-0, 1-0), who extended their current win streak to four straight games.. Second-period goals from Torbjörn Johansson (powerplay), Wally Schreiber and Fredrik Öberg put Hannover in control. Öberg’s second goal of the night put the game away midway through the third.
Like Hannover (65 points), the Augsburger Panther (64) are only one win away from arithmetically ending the relegation jinx. Maxim Galanov scored the game-winning conversion as the Panther skated to their fifth straight win, downing the last-place Schwenninger Wild Wings 3-2 (1-1, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0) after shootout. Dead last in the standings (33), Schwenningen has now lost 15 straight games. A powerplay tally by Shawn Carter put Augsburg ahead just 1:42 into the tilt. Schwenningen turned the momentum on goals from Francois Fortier and Christian Kohmann, but Ronny Arendt’s goal 1:53 into the final frame sent the contest to the shootout decision.Hamburg and Kassel split back-to-back games
7th-place Kassel (75) and 8th-place Hamburg (72) failed to gain ground on each other, splitting a series of back-to-back games. On Tuesday night, the Hamburg Freezers skated to their highest home win of the season. Mike Stevens and Bobby House both tallied a pair of goals as Hamburg thrashed the Kassel Huskies 6-1 (3-1, 2-0, 1-0). The Freezers got off to a fast start and had a 2-0 lead just seven minutes in after strikes from Stevens and Ted Drury. Jan Lipiansky put Kassel on the scoreboard midway through the opening frame, but a late first-period tally from House re-installed Hamburg’s two-goal lead. Stevens’s second of the night and a tally from Johan Witehall put the game away in the second period, House’s second goal capped the scoring at 6-1 with just over a minute to go in the game. The win temporarily moved Hamburg into seventh place in the standings while Kassel dropped to eight. However the Huskies retaliated Thursday night with a 4-1 (2-1, 0-0, 2-0) home win. Just three minutes in, Henrik Wahlberg put the poised Huskies on the scoreboard. Hamburg’s Jason Miller tied the game at 1-1 four minutes later. But Zdenek Nedved re-installed Kassel’s lead just half a minute after the equalizer after a nice solo effort from Brent Peterson – a goal that set the tone for the rest of the night. It took till the final period until the Huskies managed to put the game out of reach on a powerplay goal from Pat Mikesch. Sven Valenti capped the scoring at 4-1 with six minutes left in regulation.