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Berlin headed for DEL Finals again
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April 10, 2005; 19:49
Berlin headed for DEL Finals again
Frankfurt Lions force Game 5 showdown
Frank Johne

David Sulkovsky's OT goal kept Frankfurt alive
 
David Sulkovsky's OT goal kept Frankfurt alive

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Munich, Germany - Pierre Pagé's Berlin Eisbären are headed for their second straight appearance in the DEL Finals after finishing off ERC Ingolstadt in four games. Berlin won on the road Sunday to clinch the series. The other best-of-five semifinal series is headed for a dramatic showdown in Frankfurt Tuesday night. Defending champion Frankfurt Lions beat the Mannheim Adler in overtime to even the series after a 2-0 deficit and force Game 5.
 

Berlin's Erik Cole looked sharp in his return from a 6-game suspension
Berlin's Erik Cole looked sharp in his return from a 6-game suspension
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

Beaufait, Cole big in series-clinching win

The 2nd-seeded Berlin Eisbären scored a pair of goals to go up 3-1 in the final two minutes of the second period and never looked back in a 4-2 (1-0, 2-1, 1-1) series-clinching road win over ERC Ingolstadt. Mark Beaufait led the way with a pair of goals and an assist. Eric Cole, back from a six-game suspension, also tallied two goals, including an empty netter 21 seconds before the final buzzer.

Berlin dominated the early going and took a 1-0 lead when Cole, left all alone in the slot, beat Jimmy Waite with a low shot at the 13:52-mark. Helped by a slashing major plus game misconduct against Eisbären defender Micki DuPont, Ingolstadt got back into the game. They tied the game on the ensuing five-minute power-play. With Doug Ast providing a screen in front of the Eisbären net, defenseman Jakub Ficenec blasted a trademark slapshot from center point high over Oliver Jonas' glove hand to knot the score at 1-1 34 seconds into the middle frame.

ERC Ingolstadt never seemed to find a rhythm offensively. Defensively, they caught a couple of breaks. On the power-play, a shot from Berlin's Steve Walker bounced off the inside of the left goal post. After a neutral zone turnover by Craig Ferguson, Denis Pederson had Jimmy Waite beaten 1-on-0 but his shot missed the wide-open net wide right.

With under four minutes to go in the second period, Ingolstadt's captain Glen Goodall put Berlin back on the power-play with a dumb slashing penalty after a neutral zone face-off. The "Polar Bears", who went 2-for-3 on the power-play on the night, cashed in on the opportunity. With a collision in front of him, Waite found himself out of position when a hard shot by Florian Keller ricocheted off the backboards and right to Beaufait who sent the puck into the wide-open net to give Berlin a 2-1 lead with 1:53 left in the stanza. Things got even worse for Ingolstadt. Blueliner Jakub Ficenec tried to send the puck at the net after an offensive-zone face-off win. Beaufait intercepted the pass between the hashmarks and played a quick outlet pass to Sven Felski who beat Waite on the breakaway to make it 3-1 40 seconds before the second intermission.

Ingolstadt couldn't mount a third-period comeback. They simply couldn't create any penetration. A goal by Marco Sturm with 3:48 remaining would be as close as they would get. Brad Burym centered the puck from behind the net and it somehow bounced off Sturm and into the net to cut the Eisbären lead to 3-2. Ingolstadt's last hope was dashed when Ficenec turned the puck over at his own blueline and Cole scored into the empty-net to seal the 4-2 win with 21 seconds to go.

Lions force Game 5

David Sulkovsky scored on the power-play 7:29 into overtime to lift the top-seeded Frankfurt Lions to a 2-1 (0-0, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0) Game 4 road win over the 6th-seeded Mannheim Adler. With the best-of-five series tied at two games apiece, Tuesday's showdown in Frankfurt will determine Berlin's opponent in the DEL Finals.

Sulkovsky's goal came after a controversial delay-of-game penalty to Adler defender Andy Delmore, who had cleared the puck over the side boards. It was Mannheim's second penalty of the overtime period. The Adler had successfully killed off a charging penalty to John Tripp in the opening minutes of the extra stanza.

Frankfurt, which had gone 0-for-5 on the power-play to this point, would not miss another chance. Pat Lebeau drew the attention of two Adler players near the backboards. He managed to dug out the puck and passed it to Sulkovsky, who drove unabated to the net and squeezed the puck between Cristobal Huet's right pad and the goal post for the game-winner.

After two scoreless periods, the Lions drew first blood with 10:34 left in the third when Peter Ratchuk scored after a nice solo effort, rushing into the offensive zone and beating Huet high on the glove side with a bad-angle wrister from the left faceoff circle. Mannheim tied the game, 1-1, with 5:55 to go when Devin Edgerton finished off a nice tic-tac-toe play with René Corbet and Jochen Hecht.
Frank Johne

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