Steve Walker scored his second straight short-handed game-winner as the Berlin Eisbären held on for a 3-2 (1-0, 2-1, 0-1) road win over the DEG Metro Stars. Berlin swept the first-round series to advance to the DEL Semifinals for the fifth time in the league's ten-year history. The loss marked the second straight first-round exit for the eight-seeded Metro Stars who were knocked out by Krefeld in five games last year.
With 5,789 in attendance at Düsseldorf's Brehmstrasse Arena, Berlin took an early 1-0 lead when Sven Felski scored at 8:27. Düsseldorf's Tommy Jakobsen tied the score on a two-man advantage early in the middle frame. But just two minutes later, the "Polar Bears" responded with a power-play goal of their own. With Jeff Tory in the sin bin for holding, Denis Pederson re-directed a shot from Keith Aldridge past Andrej Trefilov to put the Eisbären ahead 2-1 at the 4:57-mark. It got even worse for the Metro Stars. As on Sunday, Walker shocked Düsseldorf with a short-handed goal, doubling Berlin's lead to 3-1 at 6:33 of the second. Marcus Thuresson brought the Stars back within a goal at 7:05 of the third, but they were denied a comeback.
"Their forwards made the difference in this series", said DEG head coach Mike Komma. His team was outscored 15-8 in four games.Gordon: "Shutouts not important"
The fourth-seeded Kölner Haie just can't seem to find the back of the net anymore. Ian Gordon stopped 28 shots for his third straight shutout to backstop the Frankfurt Lions to a 3-0 (2-0, 0-0, 1-0) home win over Cologne. The fifth-seeded Lions lead the series 3-1 and can advance with a road win at KölnArena Friday.
"The shutouts are not that important to me," said Gordon. "The most important thing is that we win our games. The guys in front of me are playing so well physically, clearing all lanes. But we've still got a long way to go. You don't wanna underestimate a team that is coached by Hans Zach. They now how to hang in there."
After a slow start in front of 6,700 at Frankfurt's Eissporthalle, the Lions jumped out in front 2-0 on back-to-back goals within 52 seconds. David Sulkovsky opened the scoring with a wrap-around goal at 14:27. Then league MVP Pat Lebeau notched his second playoff goal, stuffing home the rebound after a backhand shot from Paul Stanton on the power-play with 4:41 to go in the first. Haie youngster Markus Kink received a checking from behind major and a game misconduct early in the third after an attack on Lions defender Dan Peters near the boards. While Peters left the game with a broken cheekbone, Frankfurt put the game out of reach on the ensuing power-play. Offensive defenseman Peter Ratchuk ripped a high slapshot past Chris Rogles' glove hand to cap the scoring at 3-0 with 14:57 left.
Peters is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Kink was handed an eight-game suspension by the DEL League Office.
"I don't care that we've gone about 200 minutes without scoring a goal", Haie coach Hans Zach said. "The key is that we continue to give Frankfurt a couple of quality scoring opportunities while they manage to shut us down. Dave McLlwain is off IR and will return for Game 5 on Friday. But that's not important. To win, we will need all the players to step up."Hamburg one win away from semis
The third-seeded Hamburg Freezers also need only one more win to advance. Hamburg erased an early 1-0 deficit and skated to a 4-1 (1-1, 2-0, 1-0) road win over the sixth-seeded Mannheim Adler. Dave Tomlinson and Andy Schneider each had two assists.
With 5,500 on hand at Friedrichspark Arena, Mannheim drew first blood just 3:22 into the contest when Andy Roach connected on a one-timer on the man advantage. But the momentum turned when Hamburg responded with a power-play goal of their own midway through the period. On a 5-on-3 advantage, Shane Peacock blasted a slap shot past Adler goalie Marc Seliger to tie the score at 1-1.
Back-to-back tallies at the start of the middle frame gave the Freezers a commanding 3-1 lead. On a short-handed odd-man-rush, Jacek Plachta took a drop pass from Dave Tomlinson, cut in on the net and beat Seliger with a low shot into the near side of the net. Just 49 ticks later, Steve Washburn – who just stepped out of the penalty box – took a high outlet pass from Tomlinson and scored on the breakaway to make it 3-1 4:39 into the second period. Hamburg added another tally with 5:14 left in regulation. Andy Schneider's pass sent Brad Purdie 1-on-0 on Seliger and he went top-shelf to cap the scoring at 4-1.Oswald strikes twice as Ingolstadt rallies – series knotted at 2-2
After being down 2-0, seventh-seeded ERC Ingolstadt has evened the series with the second-seeded Nürnberg Ice Tigers at two games apiece. Yet again, both teams engaged in a see-saw game that could not find a winner in four hard-fought periods. The first three shooters in the shootout for Ingolstadt scored while goalie Jimmy Waite stopped three of Nuremberg's four attempts to give ERC Ingolstadt a 4-3 (0-0, 2-1, 1-2, 0-0, 1-0) home win. Jakub Ficenec got credit for the game-winning goal in front of a sellout crowd of 4,681 at Saturn Arena.
After a scoreless first, Ingolstadt jumped out to a 2-0 lead around the seven-minute-mark of the second period when Ficenec and Günter Oswald scored only 59 seconds apart. Nuremberg fought back hard . Defenseman Stephane Julien connected on a slapshot to cut the lead in half at the second intermission. The Ice Tigers added a quick pair of goals early in the third. First, Waite mishandled a shot from Marek Posmyk. Then Greg Leeb notched his third goal of the series to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead at 3:26 of the third. Ingolstadt cashed in on the only power-play opportunity of the final stanza. Oswald ripped a hard shot past Frederic Chabot for his second goal of the night to tie the game at 3-3 with 13:10 left.
In the shootout, Glen Goodall, Jakub Ficenec and Sean Tallaire converted the first three penalty shots for Ingolstadt. Martin Jiranek notched the only goal for the Tigers.56-save shutout for Kauhanen - Freiburg needs three straight wins to avoid relegation
Matthias Lööf led the way with three assists as the Hannover Scorpions skated to a big road win in the relegation series. Andrej Teljukin, Björn Bombis, Zdenek Nedved and Patrik Augusta each tallied a goal as Hanover beat the Freiburg Wölfe 4-0 (1-0, 1-0, 2-0) in front of 4,372 at Franz-Siegel Arena to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven "DEL Playdowns". Scorps netminder Ilpo Kauhanen earned a spectacular 56-save shutout.