Champions fight when backed up against a wall…
Veteran Canadian international forward and Stanley Cup winner JEFF FRIESEN found the back of the net for EISBAEREN BERLIN to snap a 3-3 tie with 4:06 remaining in regulation to give the defending Deutsche Eishockey Liga titlists the result they desperately needed to stay alive in the quarterfinal playoff tie with the AUGSBURG PANTHERS.
Facing classic ‘do-or-die’ circumstances for Game Four at the Curt Frenzel Stadion in Bavaria, Berlin outshot Augsburg 20-13 and built a 3-1 lead thru the first forty minutes of play.
36-year-old German international STEFAN USTORF, who had two seasons for the Cincinnati Cyclones in the old International Hockey League at the turn of the millenium, led the Eisbaeren charge with his first two goals of this playoff campaign.
German Olympic forward SVEN FELSKI, with an assist from Ustdorf, also added his first post-season goal for Berlin.
However, as if Augsburg suddenly remembered it could win the series with a victory on home ice, the Panthers clawed back into the match in the final period.
Defenseman CHRISTIAN CHARTIER, the former Toronto Maple Leafs farmhand, concluded a Panthers comeback with a pair of goals; the second such from the former seventh round pick of the Edmonton Oilers (1999, # 199 overall) coming eight and a half minutes into the third on the power play.
And so it was left to Friesen to put things right for Eisbaeren Berlin, who have captured the DEL championship four of the last five seasons in Germany.
Friesen earned his Stanley Cup ring with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. The 33-year-old also won two international titles each for Canada at both the junior and senior level. Friesen earned gold medals at both the 1994 and 1995 IIHF World Junior Championships as well as the 1997 and 2004 IIHF World Championships.
American defenseman MARVIN DEGON (University of Massachusetts-Amherst), who spent two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Hartford Wolf Pack and Hamilton Bulldogs before joining the Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams the summer of 2008, added the empty net goal for Eisbaeren Berlin in the last minute.