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Krefeld Penguins stumble
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März 11, 2005; 22:44
Krefeld Penguins stumble
Panthers and Freezers now on inside track to final two DEL playoff berths – Kassel first team head to relegation series
Frank Johne

 
"Chief" Peacock's game-winning penalty shot has the Hamburg Freezers thinking playoffs again

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Munich, Germany - Augsburg remains the team of the moment in the German Elite League DEL. The Panthers skated to their fifth straight victory Friday and have a chance to get into the postseason on their own by beating the Iserlohn Roosters Sunday in the regular season finale. Augsburg (73 points) made a leap from ninth to seventh place, passing both the Hamburg Freezers and Krefeld Pinguine, who find themselves in must-win-situations to earn playoff berths. Hamburg ended its five-game slump with a shootout win over the Kölner Haie and can also wrap up a postseason berth The Krefeld Pinguine, who were holding the inside track to the playoffs coming into Friday's action, looked awfully sluggish and had their impressive five-game win streak snapped by the DEG Metro Stars. At 71 points, Krefeld now needs a win at Wolfsburg and help to sneak into the playoffs. While the last-place Kassel Huskies are officially headed to the relegation series, Wolfsburg and Hanover are still hopeful to avoid the best-of-seven do-or-die battle.
 

Playoff bound: Rick Girard had a pair of goals to lift Augsburg over Mannheim
Playoff bound: Rick Girard had a pair of goals to lift Augsburg over Mannheim
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

With one more game to go in the regular season, the Berlin Eisbären find themselves on top of the DEL standings and hope to wrap up their third straight top seed with a win over the DEG Metro Stars Sunday. Denis Pederson's goal, which made it 5-3 51 seconds into the final stanza, went down as the game-winner as Berlin came out on top of a see-saw game against ERC Ingolstadt, winning 5-4 (2-1, 2-2, 1-1) at home.

Rick Girard led the way with a pair of goals as the Augsburger Panther came from behind to beat the Mannheim Adler on the road, 4-1 (0-1, 3-0, 1-0). The Adler drew first blood when Steve Kelly found Christoph Ullmann wide-open on the doorstep after a fine solo effort to make it 1-0 at 5:34 of the first. Augsburg turned the momentum in the second period, benefiting from an early power-play opportunity. With Mannheim's Chris Joseph in the sin bin for holding, Francois Methot knocked a rebound past Cristobal Huet to tie the score, 1-1, 1:27 into the middle frame. The Panthers kept pressing and took a 2-1 lead when Girard scored from the slot after a nice pass by John Miner at the 5:31-mark. Girard's second goal of the night doubled Augsburg's lead to 3-1 on the man advantage with 7:14 to go in the second. Just seconds before, Mannheim's John Tripp had been ejected after a vicious crosscheck against Panthers forward Duanne Moeser. Shawn Carter sealed the 4-1 win with a short-handed empty netter in the waning seconds of the game.

The playoff hopes of the Krefeld Pinguine took a serious blow as the team failed to capitalize on an early lead against the DEG Metro Stars, losing at home 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 1-0) after a lacklustre performance. Steve Brulé put the Penguins ahead 1-0, beating DEG netminder Andrei Trefilov with a bad-angle shot on the power-play at 8:03 of the opening period. Düsseldorf tied the score at 1-1 early in the second period when a blast from Alexander Sulzer ricocheted off the backboards and Klaus Kathan made a nifty one-handed move around diving netminder Robert Müller to poke the puck into the net. Düsseldorf kept pressing, but scoring chances from Kathan and Jeff Tory were denied by the goal post. The Metro Stars eventually caught a lucky break when a centering attempt by Kathan got deflected in off the skate of Krefeld's defender Paul Dyck to give Düsseldorf a 2-1 lead with 8:14 remaining in the game. Backed by the goaltending of Trefilov, who had 30 saves on the night, and active defense, the Metro Stars protected the close lead.

"It's very disappointing", said Penguins goalie Robert Müller. "With our win streak and a point-cushion over the other playoff contenders, we obviously felt way too sure. I have to admit that I expected Augsburg to lose at Mannheim. Now we're in the underdog role and I hope we can sneak into the postseason Sunday."

Defenseman Shane Peacock notched the winning score as the Hamburg Freezers ended their five-game losing streak with a 2-1 (0-0, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0) home win over the Kölner Haie after penalty shootout, giving interim head coach Mike Schmidt his first win after starting out with back-to-back losses. Jacek Plachta gave the Freezers a 1-0 lead at the 13:11-mark of the middle frame. Cologne tied the score, 1-1, on a late second-period power-play goal by Jean-Yves Roy.

The Nürnberg Ice Tigers have wrapped up home ice advantage for the first round of the DEL playoffs despite a lifeless performance against Grizzly Adams
Wolfsburg
, who recorded three valuable points in the battle against relegation, routing the Tigers 6-1 (3-0, 0-0, 3-1) on the road. Ivan Ciernik led the way with a pair of goals. Sebastian Osterloh, Rainer Suchan, Artjom Kostyrev and Richard Pavlikovsky also scored for the Grizzlies, goalie Ty Conklin recorded 30 saves on the night. Petr Fical tallied the only goal for Nuremberg.

Jason Cipolla tallied two goals and Rich Parent made 37 saves as the Hannover Scorpions jumped out to a 4-0 second-period lead and held off a late rally by the Frankfurt Lions to prevail 4-3 (0-0, 4-0, 0-3) at home. A shorthander by Cipolla opened the scoring at 7:16 of the middle frame. Four minutes later, Andreas Morczinietz doubled the lead to 2-0 on a two-man advantage with Lions forwards Christian Kohmann and Jason Young in the sin bin. Still on the power-play, Cipolla notched his second goal of the night to make it 3-0. Defenseman Paul Mara added an even strength tally to extend Hanover's lead to 4-0 at 14:12 of the second. The Lions came out buzzing and had the Scorpions on their heels after back-to-back tallies by defensemen Peter Ratchuk and Francois Bouchard early in the third. Backed by Parent's stellar goaltending, Hanover managed to hold off Frankfurt's comeback. The Scorps allowed only one more goal, a power-play score by Bouchard with 3:19 to go.

The Kassel Huskies squandered an early 2-0 lead but bounced back to win 3-2 (2-1, 0-0, 0-1, 1-0) after penalty shootout against the Iserlohn Roosters on the road.
Frank Johne

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