Ingolstadt gets controversial GWG, knocks off Nuremberg
ERC Ingolstadt rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to win four straight games and upset the higher seeded Nürnberg Ice Tigers, who suffered their fourth-straight first-round exit. Ingolstadt's 2-0 (0-0, 0-0, 2-0) victory was marred by a controversial game-winning goal. With the game still scoreless and just over four minutes to go in regulation, Doug Ast made a drop pass just inside the left point. Defenseman Phil von Stefenelli took the puck in stride, cycled around the Tigers net and tried to beat Alfie Michaud on a wrap-around shot. Michaud turned the puck away with his right pad, but it bounced to Tallaire who buried it from the left goal mouth. Trying to get across the crease, Michaud was interfered with by ERC forward Mike Stevens, who wrestled Nuremberg's goalie to the ground with his right arm – an obvious goaltender interference which was not called by referee Peter Chvatal though.
Ice Tigers head coach Greg Poss started Michaud in place of struggling first-stringer Frederic Chabot. Michaud returned the confidence with a good performance, stopping 25-shots.
With a capacity crowd of 4,681 on hand at Saturn Arena, the Nürnberg Ice Tigers were the more active team. Desperately needing a win to stay alive, they outshot Ingolstadt 38-27 over three periods, but failed to get the puck past Jimmy Waite, who crowned another terrific performance with his first DEL playoff shutout. Doug Ast sealed Ingolstadt's win with an empty-netter 37 seconds from the final buzzer.De Raaf's gamble backfires, Mannheim stopped by Hamburg
The Hamburg Freezers bounced back from Friday's OT loss, eliminating the Mannheim Adler with a 5-3 (3-1, 2-0, 0-2) road win before 5,500 at Friedrichspark Arena. Defenseman Shane Peacock led the way with three power-play goals and an assist.
Mannheim's rookie head coach Helmut de Raaf made a gamble that backfired. In order to comply with a DEL rule that requires teams to have at least four player under 23 years in the line-up, he scratched veteran netminder Richard Shulmistra and dressed 19-year-old Danny aus den Birken as backup goalie. Aus den Birken had to come in as an injury replacement for starter Marc Seliger late in the opening frame and allowed four goals on 10 shots in his first-ever DEL playoff appearance.
The game was tied at 1-1 late in the opening period after goals from Hamburg's Andy Schneider (power-play) and Robert Hocke. Adler defender Frankie Groleau checked Kent Fearns into starting goaltender Marc Seliger, who suffered a torn MCL in his knee. Aus den Birken got off to the worst possible start, coming in during a 5-on-3 power-play for the Freezers. Hamburg cashed in on the opportunity with back-to-back goals by Peacock. 92 seconds after blasting a one-timer from the high left slot past aus den Birken, he connected on a slapshot from the top of the right face-off circle to put the Freezers up 3-1 at the first intermission.
Hamburg put the game out of reach with a pair of goals midway through the middle frame. First, Dave Tomlinson tucked home the rebound after a shot from Jacek Plachta. Three minutes later, Peacock completed his hat trick with his third power-play goal of the night, giving the Freezers a 3-1 lead at the 12:06 mark of the second period.
Mannheim started a little third-period rally and cut the lead to 5-3 on goals from Rene Corbet and Jochen Molling, but it was too little too late. Ex-Hai Norris lifts Frankfurt over Cologne
Two days after being routed 6-2 at KölnArena, the Frankfurt Lions put on a rout of their own and clinched their first-round series with a 6-1 (1-0, 1-1, 4-0) Game 6 home win over the Kölner Haie. Dwayne Norris, who was released by the Haie last summer after a seven-year stint, scored two goals and an assist for the Lions.
With a sell-out crowd of 6,800 on hand at Frankfurt's Eissporthalle, the Lions opened the scoring on the two-man advantage. Norris made it 1-0, knocking a backhanded shot from the slot past Chris Rogles at 8:44. They doubled their lead to 2-0 midway through the second. Off a neutral zone turnover, Jason Young rushed down the left wing and fired a slapshot at the net. Rogles got a piece of it with his glove, but the puck hit the far post and was jammed home by Mike Harder.
With just under six minutes to go in the second, Cologne's Steve Palmer cut the lead in half on a 3-on-2 odd-man rush with Eduard Lewandowski and Jean-Yves Roy. It was also Roy who came close to tying the game a little later when his wrister from the left slot rang off the crossbar.
The Haie had their chances, but failed to get the puck past Lions goaltender Ian Gordon, who had 31 saves on the night. Norris' second goal midway through the final period proved to be the backbreaker. Young forced another neutral zone turnover and got denied on the breakaway, but Norris scored off the rebound to make it 3-1 with 11:52 left. David Gosselin extended Frankfurt's lead to 4-1 with a high wrist shot on a 2-on-2 rush on the power-play four minutes later. Goals from Jesse Belanger and David Sulkovsky completed the rout.