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Haie up 2-0, all other series tied
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März 18, 2006; 15:06
Haie up 2-0, all other series tied
Duisburg wins relegation series opener
Frank Johne

Canadian Brad Schlegel of the Cologne Sharks
 
Defenseman Brad Schlegel scored twice for Cologne

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Munich, Germany - Two games into the first round of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) playoffs, Hans Zach's Kölner Haie are the only undefeated team. Young goalie Thomas Greiss made 30 saves for his first career postseason shutout as the Haie skated to a 4-0 home win over the 4th-seeded Nürnberg Ice Tigers Friday night. All the other three lower seeds also recorded home victories on Friday to even up their respective series at 1-1. In the relegation series opener, first-year team Duisburg Füchse stunned the Kassel Huskies on the road.
 

Captain Steve Walker of the Berlin Polar Bears
Eisbären captain Steve Walker recorded three points in Krefeld
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

After winning Wednesday's series opener 4-3 on the road on a late power-play goal by Lasse Kopitz, the Kölner Haie looked even stronger at home, crushing the Nürnberg Ice Tigers 4-0 (1-0, 2-0, 1-0) in front of nearly 13,000 at KölnArena to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Althoug Nuremberg outshot Cologne in the opening period, it was the Haie that broke the deadlock with a powerplay tally from defenseman Brad Schlegel at 12:54. Schlegel added another tally midway through the second. Just one second after a penalty to Nuremberg's Robert Döme had expired, Alex Hicks found Schlegel between the hashmarks and he rifled a one-timer past Ice Tigers goalie Jean-Francois Labbé. Cologne's second power-play tally of the night put the game out of reach with 1:56 to go in the middle frame when blueliner Stephane Julien one-timed home a screened shot from center point. Mike Souza rounded out the scoring in the third, beating Nuremberg's backup goalie Lukas Lang on a low turnaround shot from the right slot.

Led by two goals by Rob Guillet, the 8th-seeded Krefeld Pinguine had stunned the top-seeded Berlin Eisbären 4-2 on Wednesday. But the Polar Bears responded with a road win of their own Friday to even the series at one game apiece. Steve Walker had 2 goals and an assist and young goalie Thomas Pöpperle made 27 saves as Berlin skated to a 6-1 (2-0, 1-0, 3-1) win. However the game was not as lop-sided as the score may indicate. Krefeld even outshout Berlin 28-26, but Pöpperle's goaltending and special teams made the difference. While Krefeld went 0-for-10 on the man advantage, Berlin scored two of its six goals on the powerplay. Derrick Walser beat Krefeld's Robert Nüller after a fine solo effort to open the scoring at 12:39 of the first. Berlin doubled its lead to 2-0 late in the first when Krefeld's Andy Hedlund deflected a shot from Sven Felski into his own net. Krefeld bounced back in the middle frame, but the Penguins could not solve Pöpperle. Team-leading scorer Alex Selivanov appeared to have snapped Krefeld's scoring drought with five minutes to go in the second, but his goal was taken off the boards due to goal crease interference. Things got even worse for the home team as Walker made it 3-0 on the powerplay just seconds before the second intermission. Ted Drury cut the lead to 3-1 early on in the third, but back-to-back tallies by Micki DuPont and Walker put the game out of reach midway through the period. A powerplay goal from Andre Rankel capped the scoring at 6-1 with 75 seconds to go.

Craig Johnson, who had lifted the third-seeded DEG Metro Stars to a 4-3 overtime win Wednesday, was held scoreless Friday as the 6th-seeded Hamburg Freezers knotted the series at 1-1. Alexander Barta and Benoit Gratton each had a goal and Roman Chechmanek made a 26-save-effort to lead the Freezers to a 4-2 (3-0, 1-1, 0-1) home win at ColorLine Arena. Due to a flood of penalties against the Stars, Hamburg opened the scoring with back-to-back tallies on 5-on-3 powerplays by Gratton and Niklas Hede, respectively. Marc Beaucage added another powerplay goal to give Hamburg a 3-0 lead after twenty minutes. A powerplay tally by Düsseldorf's Alexander Sulzer cut the lead to 3-1 halfway through the middle frame, but Hamburg regained a three-goal lead when Barta scored the Freezers' fourth powerplay goal of the night with 5:28 left in the second. Andy Schneider got Düsseldorf back within two with 3:21 left in regulation - too little, too late.

Game two between 2nd-seeded ERC Ingolstadt and the 7th-seeded Hannover Scorpions was as close as the first meeting between the two teams. While Ingolstadt had held on for a 3-2 win at home Wednesday, the Scorpions responded with a 2-1 (2-0, 0-0, 0-1) home win of their own Friday, tying the series at 1-1. Hanover took a 2-0 lead on first-period scores by Brad Tapper and Steve Guola and never looked back. A third-period powerplay tally by Jakub Ficenec was all Scorpions goalie Trevor Kidd allowed. The former NHLer posted 30 saves. His counterpart Jimmy Waite also made a 30-save effort.

Christian Rohde made 41 saves and Michael Henrich scored a pair of goals as the 14th-ranked Duisburg Füchse stunned the 13th-ranked Kassel Huskies 6-3 (2-1, 3-2, 1-0), winning Game 1 of the best-of-seven relegation series on the road.
Frank Johne

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