Eisbären Berlin lose their first DEL final game

Advantage Bremerhaven: The final series for the championship of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) got off to a turbulent and high-class start. At the start on Wednesday, main round winners Fischtown Pinguins turned the game around against nine-time champion Eisbären Berlin 4:2 (2:2, 2:0, 0:0).

Three more victories are necessary for the first championship ever for coach Thomas Popiesch’s team. The best-of-seven series in Berlin continues on Friday (7:30 p.m./MagentaSport and DF1).

The whole of Bremerhaven was noticeably looking forward to the first DEL final in the club’s history. In the small, sold-out arena, which only had a capacity of 4,642 spectators, there was a festival atmosphere long before the first face-off, but it was quickly dampened. After just 43 seconds, Zach Boychuk shot the favorites from Berlin into the lead and five minutes later, national striker Leo Pförderl even scored to make it 2-0 (6th minute).

But the main round winner from Bremerhaven came back with well-known morale and even turned the game around. The Penguins equalized with a double strike in the first third. In the 1:2 by Lukas Kälble (12th), they benefited from a mistake by the best playoff goalkeeper to date, Jake Hildebrand, who was powerless to equalize after a fantastic goal from Ross Mauermann (13th). The German-American scored with an artificial shot when he pushed the puck around his legs with his stick and finished successfully.

“It was pretty chaotic for a playoff game. We have to play more disciplinedly at the back,” complained Kälble on the TV microphone during the first third break. “But when something like that happens, we keep playing our game. We’ve proven that all season.”

The defender should be right. In the middle section, the Penguins, who had long since been euphoric again by the audience, struck twice when Berlin actually played superiorly. The goal scorers Miha Verlic (30th) and Alexander Friesen (36th) benefited from brilliant assists from Ziga Jeglic and Mauermann. In the final period both teams continued to offer strong ice hockey. The game remained exciting and first-class, but both sides had unused opportunities for superiority.


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