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Berlin secures top seed again
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März 17, 2006; 00:19
Berlin secures top seed again
Krefeld secures final berth - McLlwain, Vikingstad share scoring crown - Kassel, Duisburg in relegation battle
Frank Johne

 
Cologne's Dave McLlwain secured his share of the DEL scoring crown with 14 goals and 50 assists

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Munich, Germany - After sitting on top of the league for months, ERC Ingolstadt struggled down the stretch and lost the top seed in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) playoffs to defending champion Berlin Eisbären. On the final day of the regular season, the DEG Metro Stars sneaked into third place. Meanwhile, 2004 DEL champion Frankfurt Lions and last-year's runner-up, four-time DEL champ Mannheim Adler, both missed the playoffs. Like last year, the Kassel Huskies are headed to the relegation series. The will face the Duisburg Füchse, who dropped to last overall after a good start into their first-ever DEL season.
 

Scoring-machine: Tore Vikingstad of the Metro Stars has tallied 64 points (23 G, 41 A)
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

The Krefeld Pinguine are one of the hottest teams heading into the postseason. Krefeld won four straight games to wrap up the eighth and final seed with a 28-24 record). Alexander Selivanov, the team's leading scorer with 59 points, scored a pair of goals and an assist as the Penguins routed Duisburg 5.1, gearing up for a first-round playoff encounter with the Berlin Eisbären. Selivanov leads the league in goal-scoring with 30 tallies.

Thanks to its strong finish, Krefeld finished way ahead of 9th-place Frankfurt (23-29) and highly-touted Mannheim (also 23-29), which finished 10th, missing the postseason for the first-time ever since the playoffs were introduced in Germany in 1981 (back in the Bundesliga days - the DEL was launched in 1994).

ERC Ingolstadt, which had won only one game and dropped three straight since the Olympic break, finished the season on a good note. Doug Ast, 7th in the DEL in scoring with 52 points, scored with 1:52 to go as Ingolstadt came from behind to beat Frankfurt on the road 2-1. Ast also assisted on Cameron Mann's game-tying goal.

Ingolstadt finished with a 33-19 record, three wins ahead of the DEG Metro Stars (30-22). Daniel Kreutzer, once again the DEL's best German-born scorer (6th overall with 52 pts), recorded two helpers as Düsseldorf stunned Berlin on the road, 3-1. The 3rd-seeded Metro Stars will meet the Hamburg Freezers in the first round of the playoffs,, who ranked 6th in the final standings ar 29-23 after a horrible start into the 2005-06 campaign.

Meanwhile, 2nd-seeded Ingolstadt will face the 7th-seeded Hannover Scorpions (28-24), who had a five-game win streak snapped by the Kölner Haie. Led by three-point performances from Alex Hicks (2G, 1A) and Jason Adduono (3A), the Haie thrashed the Scorpions 4-1 at home. Haie veteran Dave McLlwain scored a powerplay goal early on. He will share the DEL scoring crown with Norwegian center Tore Vikingstad of the DEG Metro Stars, who also tallied 64 points this season.

The Nürnberg Ice Tigers, who were idle this Sunday, wrapped up the 4th seed and home-ice advantage in their first-round encounter with the 5th-seeded Kölner Haie. Despite of a 28-24 overall record, Nuremberg finished ahead of Cologne (30-22) because of a higher number of regulation ties.

Michael Wolf, the DEL rookie of the year, and Mats Trygg both notched two goals and an assist as the Iserlohn Roosters defeated the Augsburger Panther in a see-saw game, 6-5 after penalty shootout. The season is over for both teams, with Iserlohn (21-31) and Augsburg (20-32) finishing 11th and 12th, respectively.

It will be deja-vu for the Kassel Huskies (20-32) who ended up in the best-of-seven relegation series for the second year in a row. Kassel was supposed to be relegated to Division-2 after losing last year's series in seven games to Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg, but was welcomed back into the league when Wolfsburg had its franchise revoked in an off-season DEL owners meeting.

Kassel will meet the Duisburg Füchse, who plummeted to the bottom of the DEL table after losing 12 of their final 14 games, being outscored 62-28.
Frank Johne

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