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Berlin one win away from semis
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März 22, 2005; 23:08
Berlin one win away from semis
Frankfurt, Cologne and Mannheim up 2-1 – Big win for Wolfsburg in relegation battle
Frank Johne

Mannheim's Jason Podollan had four points on the night
 
Mannheim's Jason Podollan had four points on the night

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Munich, Germany - The 2nd-seeded Berlin Eisbären are just one game away from their third straight trip to the DEL semifinals. Pierre Pagé's team edged the Augsburger Panther Tuesday night to take a commanding 3-0 lead in its best-of-seven first-round series. While Frankfurt and Mannheim recorded shutout wins to go up 2-1 in their respective series, the game between Cologne and Ingolstadt went to the extra session. Elsewhere, Wolfsburg lit up the scoreboard in Game 3 of the relegation series.
 

Sudden death: Alex Hicks' overtime goal lifted Cologne over Ingolstadt
Sudden death: Alex Hicks' OT goal lifted Cologne over Ingolstadt
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

Frankfurt wins at home, up 2-1 over Hamburg

Goalie Ian Gordon stopped 23 shots en route to his first playoff shutout as the top-seeded Frankfurt Lions crushed the 8th-seeded Hamburg Freezers 5-0 (2-0, 1-0, 2-0) in front of 6,900 at Frankfurt's Eissporthalle to take a 2-1 series lead. Power-play efficiency again turned out to be the key as the Lions went 4-for-12 while Hamburg went 0-for-6 on the night. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who was back in the Freezer net after a one-game injury absence, stopped 28 of the 33 shots he faced.

Early power-play goals by Peter Ratchuk (4:56) and DEL MVP Pat Lebeau (9:10) gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Doug Weight scored the only even-strength tally of the night, beating Giguere with a low shot from the high slot to make it 3-0 at the 9:02-mark of the second stanza.

Frankfurt added two more power-play goals in the waning minutes of the game. With Darren Van Impe serving a double minor for slashing and cross-checking and Clayton Young also out for cross-checking, the Lions scored twice on the two-man advantage in a span of 81 seconds: Goals by Marc Beaucage and Markus Jocher sealed the 5-0 victory.

Berlin leads Augsburg 3-0

Florian Keller's goal at 8:45 of the third period went down as the game-winning goal as the 2nd-seeded Berlin Eisbären edged the Augsburger Panther 2-1 (1-1, 0-0, 1-0) with a sellout crowd of 4,695 on hand at Berlin's Wellblechpalast. Keller tucked home the rebound after a shot from Florian Busch.

Oliver Jonas, who started between the pipes for Berlin in place of the injured Olaf Kölzig, recorded 22 saves on the night. Augsburg's J.F. Labbé turned aside 37 of the 39 shots he faced.

Stefan Ustorf put the "Polar Bears" on the scoreboard, 1-0, hammering a hard shot past Labbé 6:16 into the contest. Augsburg knotted the score at 1-1 late in the first, when Francois Fortier deflected in a power-play blast by Arvids Rekis.

Mannheim up 2-1 after shutout win at Nuremberg

The sixth-seeded Mannheim Adler have a 2-1 series lead over the third-seeded Nürnberg Ice Tigers after winning 4-0 (3-0, 0-0, 1-0) on the road. Jason Podollan led the way with two goals and two assists as Mannheim never looked back after jumping out to a 3-0 first-period lead. Cristobal Huet made 37 saves for his first DEL playoff shutout with 7,467 on hand at Arena Nürnberg.

Nuremberg's netminder Adam Svoboda was shaky, stopping only 18 of the 22 shots he faced. He was pulled after Mannheim's fourth goal and replaced by second-stringer Lukas Lang, son of former DEL goaltender Karel Lang, who recorded 5 saves.

Podollan whacked home a perfect feed by Eric Healey to open the scoring at 5:18 of the first. Devin Edgerton tallied on a short-handed breakaway with Andy Delmore to double the lead two-and-a-half minutes later. Nuremberg started pressing but a late-first period goal by Adler youngster Fabio Carciola which made it 3-0 turned out to be an early neckbreaker. Podollan sealed the win early in the third with his second tally of the night, beating Tigers goalie Adam Svoboda on the breakaway.

Said Podollan: "We got off to a great start tonight and it's tough for any team to come back from a deficit like this. I think we're a little bit of a dark horse after underachieving for most of the regular season."

Hicks OT goal gives Cologne 2-1 lead over Ingolstadt

Alex Hicks scored on the man advantage at 7:51 of the overtime period to give the 4th-seeded Kölner Haie a 3-2 (2-0, 0-2, 0-0, 1-0) home win over fifth-seeded ERC Ingolstadt. The Haie are up 2-1 in the series.

Ingolstadt, which rallied back from an early 2-0 deficit, wasted two power-play opportunities early in overtime. Cologne did better when Ingolstadt's Jakub Ficenec was sent to the sin bin with a minor plus 10-minute misconduct after a check to the head.

Backed by a crowd of 11,411 spectators at KölnArena, Cologne got off to a quick start. The Haie found themselves up 2-0 at the 4:46-mark after a goal from Andreas Loth, who was signed off waivers from Ingolstadt earlier this season, and a power-play tally from Hicks. They could not build on the early momentum though. Ingolstadt knotted the score on a pair of second-period power-play tallies from Andy McDonald and Ficenec.

Relegation: Wolfburg routs Kassel, takes 2-1 lead

Expansion team Grizzly Adams Wolsburg lit up the scoreboard in Game 3 of the "DEL Playdowns". as the Grizzlies thrashed the Kassel Huskies 7-0 (2-0, 3-0, 2-0) to go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven relegation series. Wolfsburg's Ty Conklin recorded 31 saves for his second postseason shutout in front of 2,427 at Wolfsburg's Eispalast. Wolfsburg outshot Kassel 52-31 over three periods.

Wolfburg went 5-for-11 on the man advantage. Xavier Delisle was the leading scorer with a goal and two assists, Lars Brüggemann netted a pair of goals. Dale Clarke, Todd Simon, Ivan Ciernik and Christoph Paepke also scored for Wolfsburg.
Frank Johne

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