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Relegation race tightening up
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Januar 13, 2004; 03:05
Relegation race tightening up
Hanover’s streak continues
Frank Johne

Ingolstadt's Sam Groleau notched a pair of points
Ingolstadt's Sam Groleau notched a pair of points

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Munich, Germany - With 14 games to go in the regular season, the race against relegation is tightening up in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Riding on a win streak, the Hannover Scorpions have turned the fight against a spot in the “playdown series” into a three-way battle with defending champion Krefeld Pinguine and the Iserlohn Roosters.

Veteran Len Soccio and the Hannover Scorpions finally sem to have found their rhythm
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

The three teams are separated by only two points. Hanover has 39 while Krefeld and Iserlohn are tied at 41 points. The Freiburger Wölfe (17), who are dead last in the standings, trailing the 13th-place Scorpions by 22 points, already seem to have “earned” their spot in the seven-game series between the two last-place teams at the end of the regular season.

The slumping Krefeld Pinguine suffered their fifth loss in the last six games. Sven Felski scored the only goal of the game as the Berlin Eisbären blanked the Penguins 1-0 (1-0, 0-0, 0-0) at Krefeld’s Rheinlandhalle. Felski beat Robert Müller after a nice solo effort with 3:21 to go in the opening frame to extend his scoring streak to six games. Rich Parent turned aside 38 shots en route to his first shutout of the season.

Matthias Lööf’s power-play goal at 3:02 of the final period proved to be enough as the red-hot Hannover Scorpions held on for a 3-2 (1-1, 1-0, 1-1) win over the DEG Metro Stars at Hanover’s Preussag Arena. Marcus Thuresson scored on the man advantage to give Düsseldorf an early lead. But Hanover rallied and jumped out to a 3-1 lead on goals from Len Soccio, Lorenz Funk and Lööf. Pat Mikesch brought the Stars within one with less than 12 minutes left in regulation, but behind Ilpo Kauhanen’s solid goaltending, who stopped 23 shots, including 10 in the third, the Scorps protected the one-goal lead.

Jesse Belanger scored a goal and two assists as the Frankfurt Lions held on to first place with a 5-3 (2-1, 1-0, 2-2) home victory over the Augsburger Panther. Francois Fortier gave the Panthers an early lead, but Frankfurt bounced back well. Michael Hackert hit the woodwork and tucked home his own rebound to give the Lions a 4-1 lead 29 seconds into the final stanza. Augsburg fought back and cut the lead to 4-3 when Xavier Delisle (power-play) and Ronnie Arendt tallied just 16 seconds apart. The Lions regained a two-goal lead when Jason Young took a pass from Dwayne Norris and beat Magnus Eriksson with 6:17 left. Frankfurt killed off a 45-second two-man advantage late in the game and held on for the win.

ERC Ingolstadt bounced back from Friday’s loss at Düsseldorf and reclaimed eighth-place with a 2-1 (1-0, 1-0, 0-1) home win over the Kassel Huskies. Thomas Schinko and Sam Groleau each scored a goal and an assist for Ingolstadt. Groleau got Ingolstadt on the scoreboard just 3:36 into the contest. Schinko doubled the lead at the 10:55-mark of the second period, re-directing a shot from Groleau past Kassel’s Joaquin Gage. Kassel’s Paul Brousseau found the back of the net early in the third, but Ingolstadt withstood the Huskies’ comeback attempt.

After being sidelined by a groin injury for three weeks, Boris Rousson turned in a 42-save-effort for his league-leading seventh shutout as the Hamburg Freezers held off the Iserlohn Roosters on the road, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0, 0-0). Mid-season signing Robert Francz scored both goals for the Freezers. Defenseman Kent Fearns recorded a pair of assists.

Eduard Lewandowski and Tino Boos each tallied a goal and an assist as the Kölner Haie cruised to a 6-3 (2-1, 4-2, 0-0) win over the Freiburg Wölfe at KölnArena, extending Freiburg’s road winless streak to 17 games.

Just a second from the final buzzer, Mannheim’s Devin Edgerton drilled a screened shot past Alfie Michaud’s glove hand to send the contest between the Mannheim Adler and Nürnberg Ice Tigers into the shootout. Thomas Greilinger scored the game-winning goal as Nuremberg prevailed 2-1 (0-0, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0) to snap a two-game losing streak. .After 56 rather mediocre minutes, Craig Leeb broke the deadlock, knocking a behind-the-net feed from Greilinger past Adler goalie Marc Seliger.
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