Berlin Wins Game 3 In Wild Game To Avoid Elimination
Eisbaren Berlin 7-6 OT over Hamburg Freezers
Played in Hamburg
It was one of the wildest games you will ever see. A team at home up by 2 goals in the 3rd period. Multiple bad penalties. There was even 2 penalty shots! Then a goal with 30 seconds left on the clock to send the game to OT. Finally as if the hockey gods decided this series should go on, a tough as nails game winning goal to go along with a hat trick goal. Even though Hamburg had what looked like a sure fire victory with an insurmountable lead, Denis Pederson forced Hamburg and Berlin to play on for another day.
Hamburg opened the scoring and went up 2-0 early in the 1st period. The usual suspects Mikhail Kupchik, and Serge Aubin got the Freezers out to a quick start. Kupchik is starting to make a strong case for playoff MVP and now sits right upon the top of the scoring race with his fellow Freezer Paul Stacy. Things looked bleak for Berlin and Freezer fans started getting ready for what they felt was the inevitable.
When Kupchik scored, you could smell the bubbly being placed onto ice in the dressing room. Rob Zepp the Berlin goalie needed to be solid, and instead he was nowhere to be found early in the 1st period. After the second goal however, he began to sure up his net, and made some key saves including stopping Kupchik on a nasty wrister from above the left face-off circle.
In the second period Julian Tabot and Corey Quirk scored for Eisbaren, as did Denis Pederson to get Berlin back into the game. Berlin is the 2 time defending champion and they proved it will take quite a bit for them to relinquish their title. Fan chatter in the Hamburg Stands began to get loud with deafening silence as a sense of nervousness paralyzed the loyal Freezer fans.
In the 3rd period Duvie Westcott scored the 5th goal for Hamburg on a Power Play goal, and the Freezers once again reclaimed a 2 goal lead. At this point, Freezer fans again became loud believing the end was near. It was at this point the bottom fell out.
All playoffs long the Freezers have had a problem with defensive lapses and the trend continued. Instead of playing solid smart defense, they continued to take unnecessary risks. Defenseman Duvie Westcott thought he had an open Paul Stacy and tried to go cross ice to him. The puck was picked off and taken down the ice by Florian Busch and Westcott in a scramble to get back was called for tripping. Busch was awarded a penalty shot. In the play that was thought to be the end game for Berlin, Hamburg goalie John Curry stopped Busch on the penalty shot. Busch came back to his forehand, but Curry was there reaching out with his right pad to make the stop.
With 7 minutes left in the game something that may have never happened before in a DEL playoff game happened. A second penalty shot. In a case of deja vu, defenseman Charlie Cook lost control of the puck and Pederson sprang to a breakaway. He tried a wrister forehand and Curry made the save. However, Cook tried to get back and was called for interfering with Pederson’s breakaway. On the second try, Pederson beat Curry with a backhand and suddenly we had a tie game.
With less than 5 minutes left to go in the game the fireworks started going off. Serge Aubin took a slashing penalty, and Julian Talbot capitalized scoring his second goal of the game. The Freezer crowd went completely silent. Their chance to win and finally get the Berlin monkey, er, polar bear off their back had come and gone. Or so they thought.
With about 30 ticks left in the game, DEL’s leading scorer Paul Stacy did what he has done all season for Hamburg. He played the role of superman and saved the game. He took the puck from his own blue line and drove up the ice, wristing a beautiful goal that got past Zepp to tie the game. The roller coaster ride continued as the Hamburg fans once again sprung to their feet.
The winning goal came about 4 minutes into the overtime. Berlin surprised everyone by dominating the puck control and moving the puck deep. Colin Murphy gained control of the puck by Hamburg and tried to clear it but it was held in by Berlin #40 Darin Olver. Olver got the puck down low and was the puck was deflected. Curry fell back and tried to fall with his body on the puck but it slid past him. Denis Pederson recognized the puck was loose and tapped the puck into the net for the win. In what is sure to be a play talked about for a long time, Mikhail Kupchik nailed Pederson as he tapped the puck in and he fell hard to the ice and into the back boards. One has to wonder what the DEL will have to say about Kupchik’s actions as it was a borderline play and he may face a fine after the play is reviewed by league officials.
After the offensive explosion and lack of attentive detail to defense, one has to wonder what is exactly next. Will Berlin slow Kupchik by targeting him more? What about the bad Hamburg defense? Will they sure it up? Curry allowed 7 goals but he was not really a problem. He faced 2 penalty shots, and a lot of 3rd period Berlin puck control. The Freezers came off as a step slow. Hamburg will need to play a more physical game in game 4 and they will need to again show that they are not intimidated by playing on Berlin’s home ice as so many other teams have been this season. We could be very well setting up for a decisive game 5. No doubt Berlin is going to come out with everything they can for game 4.