The Pinguine will face defending champion Kölner Haie, who swept Adler Mannheim in three games. The best-of-five series will face off at the KölnArena Friday night.
After losing 4-1 to the Eisbären in the series opener, Krefeld rebounded with three straight wins, outscoring the dominating team of the regular season 9-3 in those three contests.
"It's unbelievable", Pinguine head coach Butch Goring said. "We've been the underdog in each series. The key to this series was our road win in Berlin."
"I don't care about my goals", forward Patrik Augusta added. "Just look at the atmosphere here. That's what it's all about."Shuchuk’s early goal sets the tone
With 6,714 packing Krefeld’s Rheinlandhalle, the Pinguine drew first blood just 46 seconds into the tilt. After being set up by a smart pass from Sandy Moger along the boards, Gary Shuchuk beat Eisbären netminder Richard Shulmistra on the breakaway. Leading 1-0, the Pinguine kept the pace high, outshooting Berlin 19-5 in the opening period. Jürgen Ziesche blew a big opportunity when he got denied 1-on-0. The Eisbären had their biggest chance in the waning seconds of the period when Rob Shearer hit the outside of the net with Pinguine netminder Robert Müller already beaten.
Krefeld jumped out to a commanding 4-0 lead behind three unanswered second-period tallies. Off a John Gruden turnover, Christoph Brandner found Patrik Augusta right on the doorstep for the 2-0 lead only two minutes into the middle frame. With just under six minutes left in the period, Augusta added another score, knocking home the rebound of Mario Doyon’s one-timer on a 5-on-3 powerplay. Only 39 seconds later and still up by a man, Brander blasted the puck past Shulmistra from the left slot to make it 4-0. Empty tank: No third-period rally
Eisbären coach Pierre Page inserted backup netminder Oliver Jonas in relief, a move that obviously provided a little spark to his sputtering team. Less than two minutes before the second intermission, Yvon Corriveau cut the lead to 4-1 scoring on the rebound of defenseman Joel Dezainde’s blueline blast.
Although the Eisbären showed a little more effort in the final period, the team looked as if it had already given up. While Berlin’s tank was obviously empty, Krefeld did not do more than necessary to seal the biggest success in franchise history.