With a sellout crowd of 4,695 spectators on hand, the Eisbären seemed on route to their sixth straight home win of the playoffs after goals by Steve Walker (power-play) and Kelly Fairchild. The Lions fought back hard in the second period and tied the score at 2-2 on goals from Francois Bouchard and Jesse Belanger (power-play). Berlin seemed to be in control again when Florian Keller hammered home a screened slap-shot on the man advantage to make it 3-2 with under six minutes to go in the middle frame. Goaltender Ian Gordon, who had 43 saves on the night, kept the Lions in the game. At 8:04 of the third, Lions defenseman Michael Bresagk beat Berlin's netminder with an unscreened shot from the center point to knot the score at 3-3. Oliver Jonas, who stopped 26 shots on the night, was in the spotlight again halfway through the first overtime period. Defenseman Paul Stanton took a shot from the right boards, the puck bounced off Jonas' chest and Reichel batted it home out of mid-air for the game-winning goal.Reichel: "Series far from over"
"It could have gone either way", Reichel said. "We worked hard tonight and were fortunate enough to come out with the win. It's good to have the chance to wrap it up at home. But this series is far from over."
The Frankfurt Lions, unbeaten at home in five playoff games, can clinch their first-ever DEL Championship with a home win Friday (7.30pm local, 1.30pm ET).
Berlin went 2-for-7 on the power-play while Frankfurt was 1-for-7. Jesse Belanger was the Lions' leading scorer with a goal and an assist.Hackert will miss Game 4 after game misconduct
The game started out with a controversial call by referee Gerhard Lichtnecker. Just three minutes into the tilt, Frankfurt's Michael Hackert was assessed a kneeing major plus game misconduct after a neutral zone collision with Kelly Fairchild. Berlin cashed in on the ensuing power-play. Steve Walker backhanded home the rebound of Keith Aldridge's point shot to put the "Polar Bears" ahead 1-0 at the 7:26-mark. Frankfurt had three power-play opportunities in the second half of the opening period, but couldn't get anything going. The Lions were outshot 13-5 in the first twenty minutes.
Berlin doubled its lead early on in the middle frame. The Eisbären were cycling down low. Mark Beaufait came up with the puck and found Kelly Fairchild wide-open near the opposing goal post. Fairchild tucked it home to make it 2-0 91 seconds into the second period. The Lions responded two minutes later. Mike Harder took the puck across the blue line, and made a hard stop at the left point. He unleashed a mighty blast that went off Jonas' pad and bounced in off Francois Bouchard, who was charging hard to the net, to cut the deficit to 2-1 at 3:05 of the second. Bouchard also assisted on the 2-2 equalizer. With Keith Aldridge in the sin bin for holding, Bouchard shot the puck from the center point. Jonas made a kick save with his right pad, but Jesse Belanger lifted the puck under the crossbar to tie the score at 8:47.
The momentum shifted again when Jason Young was assessed an elbowing minor and Florian Keller ripped a screened slapshot past Gordon from between the hashmarks to put the "Polar Bears" ahead 3-2 with 5:57 left in the middle frame. Berlin kept pressing early in the third. Ian Gordon robbed Denis Pederson on the breakaway after a neutral zone turnover by Peter Ratchuk eight minutes into the final stanza. Just seconds later, defender Michael Bresagk ripped a rising slapshot from the left point past Jonas, who had a good sight line to knot the score at 3-3 at 8:04 of the final stanza. Bresagk scores game-tying goal
With under seven minutes to go, Berlin's Florian Keller took the puck in the neutral zone, sped past three Lions skaters, but was denied 1-on-0 by Gordon. An obstruction minor on Dwayne Norris put Berlin on the power-play again with just over two minutes left in regulation. Frankfurt caught a huge break when Walker's deflection of a shot by Aldridge hit the post.
The Eisbären successfully killed off a penalty against Nils Antons at the start of the overtime period. Berlin took the initiative again while Frankfurt kept waiting patiently for its chance.
Halfway through the overtime period, the Lions dumped the puck into the zone. It went around the boards and was kept inside by Paul Stanton at the right boards. Stanton sent the puck at the net, it bounced off Oliver Jonas' chest and Martin Reichel batted it home out of mid-air for the game-winning goal.Gordon: "Keep the miracle going"
"We came in tonight and probably played our best game of the playoffs", said Lions goalie Ian Gordon. "I guess the key was just to build on what we accomplished in the second game. It's gonna be tough on Friday. The Eisbären are gonna come hard, they've got a great team. Hopefully we can keep this miracle going."Box score
Frankfurt 0 2 1 1 --4
Berlin 1 2 0 0 --3 OT
Berlin 7:26, Steve Walker 1 (power-play) (Keith Aldridge)
Berlin 1:31, Kelly Fairchild 1 (Mark Beaufait)
Frankfurt 3:05, Mike Harder 1 (David Gosselin)
Frankfurt 8:47, Jesse Belanger 1 (power-play) (Dwayne Norris, Francois Bouchard)
Berlin 14:03, Florian Keller 1 (power-play)
Frankfurt 8:04, Michael Bresagk 1 (Jesse Belanger)
Frankfurt 9:31, Martin Reichel 1 (Paul Stanton)
Shots on goal:
Frankfurt 5 11 8 6 --30
Berlin 13 12 18 3 --46
Power-play Conversions: Frankfurt - 1 of 7. Berlin - 2 of 7.
Goalies: Frankfurt, Ian Gordon (46 shots, 43 saves). Berlin, Oliver Jonas (30 shots, 26 saves).
Attendance: 4,695 (Wellblechpalast, Berlin)
Referees: Gerhard Lichtnecker (Lenggries). Linesmen: Gregor Brodnicki, Thomas Gemeinhardt