The international break for the annual Deutschland Cup tournament in Munich clearly seems to have blessed German capital city club Eisbaeren Berlin, who have been literally besieged with crippling injuries all season long, with a certain amount of good fortune.
Eisbaeren Berlin abruptly halted a four-game losing streak — the longest of this domestic campaign — by collecting five out of a possible six points in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga this past weekend after upending the Hamburg Freezers 4-3 in a shootout and then shaving Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams by the miminum 1-0 scoreline. On Friday night, Czech Republic import Petr Pohl single-handedly hauled Berlin back onto level terms with Hamburg by scoring two goals before tallying the game-winner, himself, in the shootout competition. On Sunday afternoon, highly experienced Olympic veteran Antti Miettinen, the 34-year-old center who has skated in 539 National Hockey League games (97 go, 230 pts) and represented Finland at seven major international tournaments (51 ga, 9 go, 24 pts) in his career, scored on the breakaway just 25 seconds into Eisbaeren’s contest with visiting Wolfsburg while countryman Petri Vehanen, the 37-year-old netminder who has appeared for Suomi at annual IIHF World Championships four times in his career, held the fort by stopping all 27 shots faced.
Pohl, the oft-traveled right wing who was once the fifth round choice (# 133 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2004 NHL Draft, leads Eisbaeren Berlin in scoring this season with both 10 goals and 17 points in 17 D.E.L. games thus far. Including the early-season Champions Hockey League matches against European opposition, the speedy 28-year-old attacker has notched 14 goals and 23 points in 23 total games for Eisbaeren this term. Deservedly so, Pohl was called up by the senior national team of the Czech Republic for the very first time in his career this fall and has already made three appearances in the annual Euro Hockey Tour competition.
Eisbaeren Berlin center Antti Miettinen, the wiley veteran who scored 20 goals for the Minnesota Wild during the 2009/10 NHL season while earning a bronze medal with Finland at the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver along the way, slips the puck over the left shoulder of Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams goaltender Sebastian Vogl during the Deutsche Eishockey Liga match at the O2 World Arena in the capital city of Germany.
Canadian legionnaire Mark Bell, the 34-year-old left wing who is a veteran of 450 NHL games (87 go, 182 pts) but only recently returned to the Berlin line-up after missing nine games on account of injury, hit Miettinen with a long home run pass to help Eisbaeren get the early jump on Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams.
Florian Busch, the 29-year-old veteran left wing who skated for Germany at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, finally returned to action for Eisbaeren Berlin after missing 16 consecutive D.E.L. contests, in the comeback triumph over Hamburg. Still on the shelf, however, is captain Andre Rankel, the seasoned Germany national team player who is the second-leading scorer for Eisbaeren (14 ga, 8 go, 13 pts) in the domestic league this fall. Also still out injured are Canadian legionnaire Matt Foy, the 31-year-old right wing out of Merrimack College who skated in 56 NHL games for the Minnesota Wild, and left wing Laurin Braun, the diminutive (5’10″ 172 lbs) 23-year-old who had 10 goals and 20 points after skating in all 52 D.E.L. games for Berlin last season.
Meanwhile, Eisbaeren Berlin have made a transaction in order to cope with the long-term loss of Laurin’s older brother, Germany national team defenseman Constantin Braun. The capital city club have recalled Alex Trivellato, the youthful 21-year-old rearguard who spent all of last season with Berlin (51 ga, 3 go, 6 pts) before skating in six games for Italy at the 2014 IIHF World Championships. Trivellato, who did skate in four Champions Hockey League contests for Eisbaeren this term, has not yet appeared in the domestic top flight this season after being sent out on loan to Dresdener Eisloewen (16 ga, 2 go, 10 pts) of the German second division.