The DEL semifinals will kick off Friday with defending champion and top-seed Frankfurt Lions hosting the 6th-seeded Mannheim Adler and the 2nd-seeded Berlin Eisbären hosting 5th-seeded ERC Ingolstadt. Both series will be best of five.
Martin Jiranek led the way with a pair of goals as fifth-seeded ERC Ingolstadt
completed its upset of the fourth-seeded Kölner Haie
with a 5-2 (2-2, 0-0, 3-0) road win in Game 7. After two even periods, Ingolstadt took over in the third. Cameron Mann took a neutral zone pass from Craig Ferguson and ripped a heavy slapshot from just inside the blueline over Rogles' stickside shoulder to give Ingolstadt a 3-2 lead just 38 seconds into the third. Ingolstadt thereafter executed its neutral zone trap to perfection. Craig Ferguson put the game out of reach at 4-2 with under a minute to go, beating Rogles high to the stickside with a wrister on a 2-on-2 rush. An empty-netter from Doug Ast capped the scoring at 5-2 with 28 seconds to go.
Holding a 3-2 lead, Ingolstadt failed to put the game out of reach on a 3:39-minute powerplay midway through the final stanza, including a 21-second two-man advantage. They even caught a lucky break when goalie Jimmy Waite robbed Haie forward Marquis Mathieu 1-on-0. However Cologne could not find a way to overcome Ingolstadt's neutral zone trap and get back into the game.
Jean-Yves Roy put the Haie on the board seven minutes into the tilt. Dave McLlwain dumped the puck into the Ingolstadt zone. ERC goalie Waite got knocked over by Alex Hicks while attempting to play the puck just outside his crease and Roy scored into the wide-open net to give Cologne a 1-0 lead. Martin Jiranek evened the score at 1-1 at the 14-minute mark with his first goal in 19 games. He took the puck in the left corner of the offensive zone, shook off McLlwain while cutting toward the net and beat Rogles with a screened backhander from the slot. The Haie regained the lead, 2-1, when McLlwain re-directed Mirko Lüdemann's blast from center point past ERC goalie Chris Rogles with under four minutes to go in the opening frame. Ingolstadt responded in the final minute of the period. Andy McDonald's forechecking forced a turnover behind the Haie net. Jiranek received the puck near the right boards and took a couple of steps toward center ice before firing a mighty slapshot over Rogles' glovehand for the 2-2 equalizer.Wolfsburg wins relegation series
Ivan Ciernik scored two goals and an assist as 13th-seeded expansion team Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg
held on for a 3-2 (1-1, 2-0, 0-1) Game 7 home win over the 14th-seeded Kassel Huskies
to win the best-of-seven DEL relegation series 4-3.
While the comeback from a 3-2 series deficit gives Wolfsburg the right to stay in the German Elite League DEL for another year, Kassel will be relegated to Division-2 after 11 years in the top division.
The game was tied at 1-1 after the first twenty minutes as Wolfsburg's Ciernik and Kassel's Brian Swanson traded goals. The Grizzlies then jumped out to a 3-1 lead on second-period tallies from Ladislav Karabin and Ciernik. Peter Abstreiter brought Kassel back within a goal, 3-2, early in the third, but Wolfsburg managed to protect its lead behind the goaltending of Ty Conklin.