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Eisbären one win away from DEL Finals
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März 28, 2004; 16:46
Eisbären one win away from DEL Finals
Norris leads way as Lions even series against Freezers
Frank Johne

Former Orlando Solar Bear Mark Beaufait
Mark Beaufait led the "Polar Bears" over Ingolstadt again

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Munich, Germany - Dwayne Norris led the way with a pair of goals as the Frankfurt Lions tied their DEL semifinal series against the Hamburg Freezers at 1-1 with a 4-1 home victory Sunday night. Meanwhile, the top-seeded Berlin Eisbären are only one win away from the finals. Mark Beaufait had a goal and an assist as they skated to a 4-1 road win over ERC Ingolstadt, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

Dwayne Norris
Dwayne Norris scored a pair of goals to lift the Lions over the Freezers
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

Berlin takes 2-0 series lead over Ingolstadt, needs one more win to advance

The top-seeded Berlin Eisbären kept their unbeaten streak in the 2004 DEL playoffs alive. Pierre Pagé's team overpowered 7th-seeded ERC Ingolstadt 4-1 (1-0, 2-1, 1-0) in front of a sell-out crowd of 4,681 at Ingolstadt's Saturn Arena. The "Polar Bears" now have a 2-0 stranglehold on the best-of-five series and are only one win away from their second-ever appearance in the DEL Finals.

Berlin clearly dominated the game, outshooting Ingolstadt 34-15. After falling behind early on, Ingolstadt found some hope when Glen Goodall tied the game at 1-1 in the second period. The Eisbären responded with back-to-back goals to go up 3-1 and never looked back. Berlin's goaltender Rich Parent, who made his first start of the series, had 14 saves. Ingolstadt's Jimmy Waite turned aside 30 of the 34 shots he faced.

"I'm rotating goalies in the playoffs for the first time in 32 years", said Eisbären head coach Pierre Page. "We have two good goalies (Parent and Oliver Jonas), so I got to play 'em both."

Ingolstadt caught a break when David Roberts' missed the wide-open net with a backhanded shot from the slot early on. But the offensive-minded Eisbären kept coming and took a 1-0 lead just minutes later when Kelly Fairchild dumped puck at the net, Ingolstadt couldn't clear the puck and Beaufait tucked it across the goal line at the 7:32-mark.

An apparent power-play goal by the Eisbären late in the opening period was disallowed after video review showed that Denis Pederson had kicked the puck into the net with his skate.

ERC Ingolstadt got off to a good start into the middle frame. Ken Sutton forced a turnover by Pederson inside the Eisbären blueline and poked the puck to Goodall, who beat Parent 1-on-0 with a nice forehand to backhand move to tie the score at 1-1 at 4:55 of the second.

Berlin responded right away. Defenseman Darry Shannon one-timed a feed by Beaufait past Waite from the left slot to put the "Polar Bears" up 2-1 at the 6:14-mark. The Eisbären then went on the power-play when Yves Racine was called for high-sticking. Just seconds after Ingolstadt's Craig Ferguson missed the net on a shorthanded odd-man rush with Justin Harney, David Roberts ripped a screened slapshot from the right point past Waite to make it 3-1 (8:19). Berlin put the game away early in the final frame. Off neutral zone turnover, Pederson skated across the blueline and blasted a slapshot over Waite's glove hand to give Berlin a 4-1 lead at 3:30 of the third.

Ingolstadt not only lost the game. Veteran defenseman Ken Sutton will miss Tuesday's Game 3 in Berlin. He was assessed a spearing major plus game misconduct after a third-period foul against Eisbären youngster Florian Busch.

Frankfurt and Hamburg knotted at 1-1

The 5th-seeded Frankfurt Lions also skated to a 4-1 (1-0, 2-1, 1-0) win Sunday, evening their best-of-five semifinal series against the Hamburg Freezers at 1-1. Frankfurt's Ian Gordon had 27 saves on the night. Hamburg's Boris Rousson turned aside 32 of the 36 shots he saw.

With a capacity crowd of 7,000 on hand at Frankfurt's Eissporthalle, Hamburg failed to convert on a four-minute power-play opportunity early on. After killing off Jason Young's double minor, the Frankfurt Lions got a power-play opportunity of their own. With Jacek Plachta (tripping) and Paul Manning (high sticking) in the sin bin, Dwayne Norris tucked home the rebound after a point blast by Peter Ratchuk to put the Lions up 1-0 at 5:30 of the opening period.

The game went back and forth. Hamburg's Plachta was denied by the goalpost early on in the middle frame. But the Freezers found the back of the net a little later when Dave Tomlinson intercepted a pass from Ratchuk and beat Ian Gordon on a short-handed breakaway, evening the score at 1-1 at 8:12 of the second period.

The momentum was about to shift when Young reclaimed the lead for the Lions. He sped down the right wing and beat Boris Rousson to give Frankfurt a 2-1 lead on a great solo effort at the 13:24-mark. Less than four minutes later, David Sulkovsky scored on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush with Michael Hackert to double the Lions' lead to 3-1 with 2:54 left in the middle stanza.

Hamburg was not able to put together a third-period rally. Norris capped the scoring at 4-1 with his second tally of the night 4:33 before the final horn.
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