Briere & Giroux Shine – But Sharks Spoil Polar Bears’ Party


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Koelner Haie defenseman TORSTEN ANKERT (81), the 25-year-old rearguard closing in on his 300th career regular season contest in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, looks to effectively clear the puck just ahead of Eisbaeren Berlin’s brand new Canadian legionnaire DANNY BRIERE (84), the 35-year-old veteran who has already skated 813 games (280 go, 643 pts) in the National Hockey League, during the drama-filled, back-and-forth D.E.L. contest at the sold-out O2 World Arena in the capital city of Germany.
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After literally trading goals for two and a half periods, the table-toppers settled the issue once and for all with a pair of lightning strikes just 28 seconds apart as visting KOELNER HAIE held off two-time defending champion EISBAEREN BERLIN 6-5 in an action-packed Deutsche Eishockey Liga contest that conicided with the successful German debut of two locked-out National Hockey League stars from the Philadelphia Flyers.

In light of the new firepower that joined the team earlier this week, American trainer DON JACKSON elected to gamble in Friday’s match with the current league leaders. Eisbaeren Berlin, in fact, fielded just four natural defensemen in the meeting with the visiting Koelner Haie led by former Germany national team trainer UWE KRUPP. Following the D.E.L. match, then, the BERLINER MORGENPOST declared with a headline, “The Eisbaeren Need A Star In The Defense.”

Whether or not that happens for the capital city club remains to be seen …

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Eisbaeren Berlin’s Canadian legionnaire MARK KATIC (71), the diminutive defenseman who was taken in the third round (# 62 overall) of the 2007 National Hockey League Draft and later skated 11 NHL (0 go, 1 pt) games for the New York Islanders during the 2010/11 season, celebrates his first-ever goal in the German top flight with exiled Philadelphia Flyes star CLAUDE GIROUX (28) during the memorable D.E.L. contest at the O2 World Arena Berlin.
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Eisbaeren Berlin began well enough when star Canadian legionnaire CLAUDE GIROUX, the third-highest scorer in all the 30-team National Hockey League for the Philadelphia Flyers last season, passed the puck to young Canadian legionnaire MARK KATIC in the offensive zone. The 23-year-old blueliner, who excelled in the European Trophy tournament and led the capital city club with 12 points (three goals) but has struggled somewhat since the start of the domestic campaign, then worked an attractive give-and-go with the other new arrival from the NHL, the experienced Canadian international DANNY BRIERE. And, thus, Katic was finally able to net his first career goal in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga and provide Eisbaeren a 1-0 just six minutes into the very high-profile contest at the O2 World Arena Berlin.

As would be a common theme throughout most of the evening, however, the advantage would not last long. In this case, visiting Koelner Haie would retaliate just one minute and seven seconds later through seasoned Canadian legionnaire CHARLIE STEPHENS. The 31-year-old center, who originally signed with EG Duesseldorf in the summer of 2006, would add three assists later to finish with four points and upstage the two Philadelphia Flyers star players on their debut for Eisbaeren Berlin.

This clash of champions past and present would remain scoreless for almost thirty minutes thereafter, although both sides were, indeed, creating enough chances along the way.

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Koelner Haie’s Canadian legionnaire center CHARLIE STEPHENS was originally selected in the second round (# 31 overall) of the 1999 National Hockey League Draft by the Washington Capitals and, two years later, was taken in the sixth round (# 196 overall) by the Colorado Avalanche at the 2001 National Hockey League Draft. The native of London, Ontario, would ultimately appear in eight NHL games (0 go, 2 as) for the Colorado Avalanche but moved to Germany after totaling 23 goals and 67 points for the Binghamton Senators in the American Hockey League during the 2005/06 season. Stephens then transferred to Koelner Haie in the summer of 2011 after spending three campaigns with the Krefeld Pinguine.
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Eisbaeren Berlin were struck by misfortune with three and a half minutes remaining in the middle period. A clearing attempt by former Germany national team winger FLORIAN BUSCH riccocheted off the skate Germany national defender FRANK HOERDLER and right into the back of Berlin’s wide open net. Koelner Haie’s Canadian legionnaire NATHAN ROBINSON, the experienced D.E.L. veteran who previously won two titles with Eisbaeren Berlin in 2008 and 2009, was formally given credit for the fortuitous goal against his former employers.

Robinson, who has totaled two goals and eight points in 10 D.E.L. games for Koelner Haie since transferring from Austrian club EC Vienna Capitals in the summer, has been one of several off-season signings who have helped Krupp’s surprise club this term; Koelner Haie finished ninth in the D.E.L. regular season standings a year ago but have rocketed to the top of the German table this term.

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Koelner Haie right wing NATHAN ROBINSON, the 30-year-old native of Scarborough, Ontario, who skated in seven NHL games (0 go, 0 pts) for the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins before originally signing to play for would-be D.E.L. champion Adler Mannheim in the summer of 2006, receives congratulations from fellow Canadian legionnaire CHRIS SIMARD (39) after being credited with a gift goal during the heavyweight clash with two-time defending Deutsche Eishockey Liga champion Eisbaeren Berlin at the soldout O2 World Arena Berlin.
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It would be the home side’s turn to respond quickly, however. Little winger LAURIN BRAUN was on hand at the side of the net to fire home a rebound and equalize for Eisbaeren Berlin with his second goal is as many D.E.L. matches. Koelner Haie’s lead had lasted a scant 47 seconds and Braun’s strike ensured that the two teams would adjourn for the final intermission all square at two goals apiece.

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Koelner Haie goaltender DANNY AUS DEN BIRKEN (33) is powerless to prevent in-form Eisbaeren Berlin right wing LAURIN BRAUN from netting his first goal in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga contest at the soldout O2 World Arena in Berlin; the 21-year-old Braun, who scored 10 goals in 68 games all competitions for the capital city club a year ago, already has registered five goals in only fifteen games (both European Trophy and D.E.L.) to start this season.
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After scoring a combined four goals in the first forty minutes of play, the two opponents then treated the sellout crowd of 14,200 spectators on hand to an offensive explosion that featured no fewer than seven pucks bulging the back of the net at the ice hockey rink near the Ostbahnhof in Germany’s capital city.

In the end, the decision by the Eisbaeren trainer to suit up only four defensemen could very well be interpreted to have backfired on Berlin; of the four goals Koelner Haie scored while Eisbaeren Berlin were operating at full strength, twice Jackson’s troops were caught with four forwards on the ice all at the same time.

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Koelner Haie captain JOHN TRIPP (21), who was originally taken in the third round (# 77 overall) of the 1995 National Hockey League Draft by the Colorado Avalanche and later skated 43 NHL games (2 go, 9 pts) for the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers, celebrates his first goal of the high-profile contest against two-time defending D.E.L. champion Eisbaeren Berlin at the soldout O2 World Arena with highly-experienced former NHL defenseman DANIEL TJARNQVIST (34), the 36-year-old, off-season signing from Elitserien outfit IF Djurgarden Stockholm who earned an Olympic gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Winter Games hosted by Turin, Italy.
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Koelner Haie’s aging captain JOHN TRIPP sent the visitors in front again after an outstanding individual effort for the visitors five minutes into the third period. The 35-year-old native of Kingston, Ontario, who has represented Germany at six major international tournaments (39 ga, 6 go, 10 pts) since his debut for Deutschland at the 2007 IIHF World Championships, beat Eisbaeren Berlin’s imported American defenseman JIMMY SHARROW along the boards and then walked right out in front. Tripp’s initial shot was saved by Eisbaeren Berlin’s native Canadian-turned-Germany national team goaltender ROB ZEPP but the well-traveled NHL veteran was able to notch his third goal of this D.E.L. campaign on the rebound.

Yet once more, though, the team that had just conceded a goal struck back very quickly to level the contest. Much attention prior to the match had been focused on Eisbaeren Berlin’s two new NHL stars and Giroux justified that hype somewhat exactly one minute and two seconds after Tripp’s crowd-quieting tally. The incoming star Canadian legionnaire reigninted the audience by receiving a sharp cross-ice pass from his Flyers buddy Briere and netting his very first German goal on his D.E.L. debut with a deadly accurate wrist shot from the top of the the faceoff circle to the right of helpless Koelner Haie goaltender DANNY AUS DEN BIRKEN.

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“DER NHL-TOPSTAR HAT SEIN ERSTES TOR IN DEUTSCHLAND GESCHOSSEN” — Germany national team defenseman FRANK HOERDLER (7) taps newly-arrived Canadian legionnaire DANNY BRIERE on the head as Germany Olympic forwards T.J. MULOCK (15) and ANDRE RANKEL join in the celebration of a first goal for Eisbaeren Berlin in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga by incoming Canadian legionnaire CLAUDE GIROUX (28) at the O2 World Arena Berlin.
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The NHL veterans Stephens and Tripp were both involved for Koelner Haie as the see-saw affair continued nearing the halfway point of the final period. Off-season signing ANDREAS HOLMQVIST, the 31-year-old defenseman who was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round (# 61 overall) of the 2001 National Hockey League Draft, ended up with the puck between the faceoff circles and rifled a slapshot past Zepp to score his third goal of this young D.E.L. season. Holmqvist, who won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 IIHF World Championships and arrived in the summer after transferring from IF Djurgarden Stockholm, is tied for third with 10 points for Koelner Haie this term.

But, a little more than a minute and a half later the in-form, little winger Braun would reset the scoreboard at the O2 World Arena to 4-4 with his second goal in the contest with Koelner Haie. Eisbaeren Berlin’s Canadian legionnaire MATT FOY, the NHL veteran signed this summer who had scored two goals in his last two D.E.L. games heading into the clash with Koelner Haie, set the play up and earned his second assist on the match in the process. Braun neatly whacked a floating puck out of the air past aus den Birken to score his third goal in his last two games for the capital city club.

Finally, Stephens and Tripp combined to provide Koelner Haie with a lead which would not be relinquished and, ultimiately, stole the spotlight from Eisbaeren Berlin’s two far more accomplished NHL stars.

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Koelner Haie captain and Germany national team veteran JOHN TRIPP (21), who has been skating in the D.E.L. since first signing for Adler Mannheim in the summer of 2004 and has also worn the sweaters of ERC Ingolstadt, Hamburg Freezers and Hannover Scorpions in his career, is surrounded at the side of the net after scoring his second goal of the back-and-forth Deutsche Eishockey Liga contest against two-time defending champion Eisbaeren at the soldout O2 World Arena Berlin.
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Four-point hero Stephens burst into the Eisbaeren zone down the left wing and backhanded a pass in front for Tripp to simply redirect past Zepp at the 12:13 mark of the third period. And only 28 seconds later, Germany national team winger PHILIP GOGULLA, the 25-year-old, one-time second round pick (# 48 overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2005 NHL Draft who has already represented Deutschland at six major international tournaments (39 ga, 4 go, 22 pts), struck again for Koelner Haie. After rushing the puck into the zone and dropping the disc for the trailing Swedish defenseman Holmqvsit, an unmarked Gogulla at the side of the net skillfully one-timed a sharp, cross-ice pass from the summer signing to score his fourth goal of this D.E.L. campaign and give visiting Koelner Haie an insurmountable 6-4 lead.

This time, there would be no way back for Eisbaeren Berlin.

Canadian legionnaire JULIAN TALBOT did pull one back for the capital city club which allowed both Briere and Giroux to record a third point on the scoresheet in their D.E.L. debut for Eisbaeren Berlin but that was mere academics. Krupp’s charges had pulled off a spectacular triumph on the road in a very high profile match as Koelner Haie extended their lead at the head of the German top flight to a five-point margin after Friday night’s round of game. Meanwhile, Jackson’s troops must regroup yet again this season …

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Eisbaeren Berlin’s superstar Canadian legionnaire CLAUDE GIROUX (28) battles for a loose puck in front of the net with Koelner Haie defenseman MORITZ MUELLER (91), the 25-year-old rearguard who appeared in all six games for Germany at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland, during the exciting Deutsche Eishockey Liga contest watched by a sellout crowd of 14,200 spectators at the O2 World Arena Berlin.
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Those interested in viewing the highlights of this exciting and memorable D.E.L. contest might wish to visit the official website of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, itself … http://www.del.org

One can easily find the “HIGHLLIGHT VIDEOS” section on the right hand side of the home page.

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