Final series in the DEL: awake polar bears, tired penguins

A bit of slapstick was the order of the day at the Eisbären Berlin on Tuesday. The mood was relaxed after the relaxed 4:1 in the fourth final game against the Fischtown Pinguins from Bremerhaven. The three-time goalscorer Ty Ronning even said, probably a little euphorically, that there was only one game left for his team. When asked, the Canadian quickly rowed back. “So there’s only one more game we have to win” – in order to become champions, because in the final series against the North Germans, which is played according to the “best of seven” format, the Berliners now have the first match point away on Friday.

When Leo Pföderl was asked whether, after Ronning’s gala performance in the front row, it would be difficult for the injured Marcel Noebels to regain his usual place from Ronning, who had moved up for him, after his recovery, Pföderl burst out laughing. No question, the Polar Bears already know who their leader is on the ice in terms of play.

Shortly before Pföderl’s laughing attack, Nobels marched surprisingly briskly towards the exit of the arena in Friedrichshain with a “Hello” on his lips. There are two possibilities: Either his damaged knee, which has already forced him to take a two-game break, isn’t doing so badly, or Noebels fled from questions about his health.

The fact is that the polar bears are so widely replaced that they can compensate for the loss of individuals. Players like Ronning or Pföderl (already 14 points in the play-offs) can then turn it up even more and not only that: Ronning in the first line of attack and as a goalscorer in the power play (two of his three goals came in the power play) is also one move that cannot be calculated by the opponent. That was already the case in game three when he scored for the Eisbären in a 2-1 win in Bremerhaven on Sunday. The Berliners had the opportunity to surprise their opponents in the eighth game of the season against Bremerhaven. The first in the main round cannot do something like that because their staffing levels are too thin. That’s the difference in a good final series.

It’s not surprising that the series would take this course

What was astonishing, however, was that coach Thomas Popiesch, who did not rely so much on German players during his time in Bremerhaven, gave his strong defender Lukas Kälble, who will be in Mannheim next season, the most of all his players on the ice (over 24 minutes of play). Small miracles still happen, even in Bremerhaven. But probably not on the playing field.

The penguins looked burnt out in the final third on Tuesday, which the polar bears then won quite easily 3-0. With more or less 15 field players, Popiesch tried to defeat his opponent from Berlin in the second third. In the end, something like that doesn’t go well if you only score one goal and the opponent powers through with four lines of attack.

It’s certainly not surprising that the series would take this course. What is astonishing, however, is that you always have the feeling that the polar bears don’t even have to fully exploit their potential in order to prevail. It’s been like this throughout the play-offs. In the final game they also took a short break in the second third.


Master title The Eisbären have won since 2005, and on Friday it could be the tenth.

It is perhaps also the case that the path to the Eisbären’s tenth championship title this season was clear from the start. They have the best team and were favorites for the title despite a messed up preseason. And when the presumed greats from Munich, Mannheim and Cologne then bowled themselves out of the competition more on their own than due to the influence of their opponents, the Eisbären impressed with their determined consistency.

The only absurd thing is that the Berliners will possibly celebrate the title on Friday in beautiful Bremerhaven because the Fischtown Pinguins, as the first in the main round, have home advantage in game five. The Eisbären spoiled first place on the last matchday – with a home defeat against Bremerhaven. It doesn’t matter at all now, the penguins will deserve to be runners-up in the end and the title will go to Berlin.

By Editor

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