The Grizzlys Wolfsburg have reached the play-off semi-finals for the championship in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL). Coach Mike Stewart’s team beat the Straubing Tigers 3-1 (0-1, 2-0, 1-0) in the decisive last game of the series.
Laurin Braun, Darren Archibald and Luis Schinko made the Lower Saxony team cheer on Wednesday evening. The 1:0 of Straubing’s Travis St. Denis hadn’t thrown them off track. But the effort will be followed in two days by what is probably the greatest possible challenge: As in 2022, Wolfsburg will meet EHC Munich again in the semi-final series. Last year, when the game was still best-of-five, the North Germans suffered a clear 3-0 defeat. The championship then went to the Eisbären Berlin. This time, however, a different team will win the trophy – the capital club missed out on the play-offs.
Munich is the clear favorite – as the dominator of the main round and after the 4-2 win in the quarter-finals against the Fischtown Pinguins. In the other semi-final, ERC Ingolstadt (4:1 against Düsseldorfer EG) and Adler Mannheim (4:2 against Kölner Haie) face off. In the first semi-final duels, Munich (7 p.m.) and Ingolstadt (7.30 p.m.), second in the main round, have home rights on Friday. Wolfsburg’s first home game is on April 2 (1:15 p.m.).
Grizzlies in the semifinals for the tenth time
Wolfsburg’s hope of doing better this time against Munich is likely to be the narrow quarter-final success. Because even though they led 2-1 against Straubing after the third game and had won two away games, they were soon on the verge of being eliminated. Straubing won game five 5-0 – and only needed one win. But the Grizzlies showed impressive morale. First they defied a 1:2 and 2:3 deficit in the last home game, saved themselves in overtime and then equalized with a goal from Spencer Machacek in the series to 3:3.
Shorthand: Straubing Tigers – Grizzlies Wolfsburg 1: 3 (1: 0, 0: 2, 0: 1)
Tore: 1-0 St Denis (11:47), 1-1 Brown (28:22), 1-2 Archibald (34:46), 1-3 Schinko (49:28).
penalty minutes: Straubing 0 – Wolfsburg 6.
Play-off result: 3:4
Now the next test followed and the grizzlies passed this one too. Not least thanks to national goalkeeper Dustin Strahlmeier, who secured the fourth win in the best-of-seven series with several brilliant saves. As a permanent guest, they bought the ticket for the semi-finals for the DEL championship for the tenth time. The club of club icon Charly Fliegauf was in the final four times (2011, 2016, 2017, 2021), but he has never won the title. But maybe there will be another title 14 years after the cup triumph.
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NDR 2 Sports | 03/29/2023 | 11:03 p.m