Hamburg Freezers Win DEL 2013 Cup! Defeat Berlin For 1st Cup Title, Stacy is the MVP
Hamburg Freezers 5-2 Victory over Eisbaren Berlin
Played in Berlin
Celebration time Hamburg fans! Your team has waited over a decade since coming into the DEL in 2002 to win its first DEL Cup. That time has come. Police in riot gear were out in the streets on Hamburg in full force at time of writing this as fans were gathering jubilantly and ready for an all night party in the city center.
From the beginning of this game there was little doubt. Hamburg jumped on the board early in the 1st and maintained solid defense the whole way. The game was chippy from the outset and Hamburg played one of the top defensive games all playoff season long. Brett Engelhardt opened the scoring with about 5 minutes left in the 1st period, beating 2 Berlin Defenders and scoring on slap shot from the right face off circle. Other than that there was nothing but defensive minded play and hard hitting. Charlie Cook for Hamburg and Constantin Braun for Berlin seemed to take pleasure in hammering any and all opposing players.
In the 2nd period, Playoff MVP Paul Stacy scored with a wrister from the top of the slot. A goal he has scored repeatedly all season was duplicated seemly effortlessly here. John Sim answered a few minutes later after a giveaway by Hamburg defenseman Peter Traverse to temporarily keep Berlin in the game. He tried to clear the puck and it bounced off the shin of Julian Talbot to Denis Pederson, who then passed it to an all alone John Sim. Sim backhanded it in for the easy goal. At this point Berlin was back in the game down 2-1. It was as close as Berlin would be in this game.
Charlie Cook scored from the point with about 6 minutes left in the second period for Hamburg, and then the bottom fell out for Berlin. Denis Pederson, who had been the best player on the ice for Berlin took a silly hooking call. It was unnecessary at mid ice after a face-0ff. Who else but Mikhail Kupchik made Berlin pay. Kupchik took the puck off the stick of Robin Regehr and raced up ice, out maneuvering the Berlin penalty kill beating Rob Zepp who had no chance on the play. Up 4-1 in the second period, you could feel the life sucked out of the Berlin 02 World Arena.
Putting the game away for good would be Paul Stacy. Stacy beat Zepp with a wrister early in the 3rd period and their was no doubt at this point. The ice had tilted completely in favor of Hamburg. The smell of the DEL Cup was in the air.
A scary moment occurred in the 3rd period when Darin Olver was destroyed on the boards courtesy of Brandon Reid. This occurred when Olver was chasing the puck down in the Hamburg zone. He had his head down and Reid nailed him. Olver was absolutely flattened and forced to leave the game with an upper body injury. He would not return.
To add insult to injury Stacy took a penalty for cross checking behind his net, after he laid out Florian Busch. As if that was not enough, Mikail Kupchik then up ended #7 Frank Hordler. At this point Hamburg had decided to completely physically dominate. The game seemed like it was going to disintegrate into a wrestling match, and Berlin was consistently on the losing end. One has to imagine that Eisbaren will remember this and next year these two teams will have quite a battle.
In the end you could see that the 2 time defending champion Berlin was no match for the Hamburg team. The Freezers came in with a reputation for being all offense with little worry of playing D, but against Berlin they really put together a championship mix of hard hitting D and smart offensive play.
After games end the 2 teams shook hands at center ice as tradition calls for. Paul Stacy had a league leading 60 goals in the regular season and had 15 more goals in the post season. 3 of those were game winners. That was more than enough to be named the DEL Playoff MVP.
After the game in the dressing room, Stacy spoke with reporters and had this to say, “Since my career started I have consistently been told I have all the ability in the world, but a lack of focus or will to play to that full potential. This season I took it very seriously to play to my ability as I realized it may be my last chance to show my talents, and more importantly to be on a winning team. All the credit in the world has to go to my teammates who I have fully bonded with, and the city of Hamburg who has fully bonded with me. Thank you so much!”
Hamburg players passed champagne bubbly around and drank out of the DEL Cup. They even joked with Kupchik who is barely of age by pouring his drink over his head. Kupchik seemed to take it in stride and had a Christmas Morning smile that would not go away. Berlin officials were seen with wall to wall smiles as well, and the team was scheduled to have a flight back to Hamburg in the morning. We imagine it will be quite a pleasant flight.
After the game Berlin player Barry Tallackson tipped his hat to the Freezers saying, “They out played us and were the best team all year. While I am very disappointed, I know we were worthy competitors and I can’t wait to get back here next year.”
Maybe the person with the biggest smile was Hamburg’s John Curry, the goalie who was much maligned earlier in the playoffs. He said this, “No matter what and no matter what anyone says… we are the DEL Champions of 2013!” Agreed John, you and your team are the champs. Enjoy it.