Polar bears, eagles and grizzlies before reaching the semi-finals

Last year’s finalists Eisbären Berlin and Grizzlys Wolfsburg can already make the semi-finals in the playoffs of the German Ice Hockey League perfect on Thursday.

Are about to reach the semi-finals: Eisbären Berlin.  (Image: dpa) Photo: Andreas Gora/dpa

Are about to reach the semi-finals: Eisbären Berlin. (Image: dpa)
(Photo: Andreas Gora/dpa)

Cologne – The Eisbären Berlin, the Grizzlys Wolfsburg and the Adler Mannheim are separated by a win from the semi-finals in the playoffs of the German Ice Hockey League.

Defending champion Berlin celebrated a clear 5:1 (2:1, 2:0, 1:0) at the Kölner Haien on Tuesday evening. Last year’s finalist Wolfsburg clearly won 6: 2 (1: 1, 3: 0, 2: 1) in Bremerhaven without the badly injured captain Sebastian Furchner. Mannheim only defeated the Straubing Tigers 2:1 (0:0, 1:1, 0:0, 1:0) after extra time.

Berlin, Wolfsburg and Mannheim each achieved the second of three necessary wins to progress. On Thursday, the clubs can make the quick end of the series perfect in the quarter-finals. In the quarter-final series between EHC Red Bull Munich and Düsseldorfer EG, on the other hand, the score is 1-1 after two games. Co-favorite Munich had to admit defeat away 2:3 (0:0, 1:3, 1:0).

Top favorite Berlin got off to a perfect start in front of 14,642 spectators in Cologne. After 33 seconds, national player Leo Pföderl presented in his 500th DEL game. Teammate Jonas Müller was twice successful (19th/44th), Dominik Bokk (26th) and Matthew White (40th) also ensured the deserved success. The season could be over on Thursday for the Haie, who finished the main round in tenth place and had been considered a relegation candidate in the meantime, and coach Uwe Krupp. Unlike the 1:2 at the start of the quarter-finals, the game clearly went in favor of the Berliners.

Mannheim and Straubing delivered another hard-fought encounter. In front of 10,255 spectators, national striker Nicolas Krämmer was the match winner in extra time (68th minute) – his goal only counted after video evidence. “I was pretty sure it was a goal,” said Krämmer at MagentaSport.

In Düsseldorf, the second in the main round, Munich, disappointed and was defeated by the heavily weakened DEG. “Our team spirit is just great,” said goalkeeper Mirko Pantkowski at MagentaSport. Captain Alex Barta scored twice (23rd/39th), top scorer Daniel Fischbuch gave two assists and increased his playoff points to ten. The Rhinelanders, who are still missing the two top defenders injured in Kyle Cumiskey and Marco Nowak, fought for another quarter-final home game on Holy Saturday. “DEG plays with a lot of passion and a lot of heart,” praised Munich’s Frank Mauer.

Wolfsburg didn’t give Bremerhaven a chance again – even without captain Sebastian Furchner, who crashed into the rink on Sunday to make it 5-0. The 39-year-old will also not play in the third quarter-final game. “It’s too early to tell if he’ll be in the playoffs again. I assume that he won’t be able to return until the end of next week at the earliest,” said team doctor Axel Gänsslen of the German Press Agency: “His entire spine hurts, but fortunately no fractures or bleeding were discovered in the computer tomography.”

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