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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Polar bears demonstrate their power again

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Although there is currently nothing more exciting in the German ice hockey league than a duel between the polar bears and the Wolfsburg grizzly bears, which the hosts won 3-1 (1-0, 2-0, 0-1) , of course the sport was also completely placed in the character of the Ukrainian war. A dove of peace was projected onto the ice in the Ostbahnhof arena.

In addition, “Land of Confusion” by the band Génesis sounded through the speakers, which took advantage of their two performances a week and a half ago in the same place to raise their voices against the Russian invasion with this anthem. The league also had records made that read “Drop pucks, not bombs” as a sign of anti-war protest. And last but not least, the Berliners wore t-shirts with the #StandWithUkraine print during the warm-up.

Given these circumstances, viewers found it a bit more difficult than usual at first to create a wonderful atmosphere. The Hartmut-Nickel curve reopened for the first time in about four months and a total of 8,500 visitors were admitted. But after two years of the pandemic, routines must return to their place.

The fans had a reason to celebrate in the eighth minute. Dominik Bokk, who happens to be a great reinforcement, staged an attack that could fit into any instructional video. First, a one-two with Jonas Müller, who played his 400th match, put the opposing defense in trouble. His pass then landed on Zach Boychuk, who used the clearance for the Berlin tour. Especially against opponents of this quality, an advantage is of considerable importance. So far, Wolfsburg have won all three games this season after extra time or penalties.

Södergran scores on his home debut

When Marcel Noebels, Mathias Niederberger and Mark Zengerle returned after a coronavirus infection, the Berliners did little against their worst rival. The guests came in more danger in the last second of the first half, when the puck landed on the polar bear’s goal post at the same time as the siren.

Serge Aubin’s men continued to dominate the game as the game went on, further showing how much progress the Polar Bears have made this season. Especially since three regular players had to go through with the injured Leo Pföderl, Giovanni Fiore and Nicholas Jensen. Even when they were outnumbered, which from then on had to be outnumbered more and more, the hosts could hardly be lured out of their basic order.

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On the contrary: five minutes before the end of the second half, the puck was again in the Wolfsburg goal. Simon Després shot, Grizzly goalkeeper Chet Pickard was caught off guard after Kevin Clark deflected. And just two minutes later, Johan Södergran, a newcomer to Berlin on loan, made it 3-0 on his home debut.

late goal

Unlike past matchups for these teams, the Grizzlies failed to stick any needles with their physical game that night, so there was an early sense that the Polar Bears were playing their first main-round game against this rival since the last season. able to win

As with the 4-0 victory in Mannheim a week ago, concerns are likely to grow among the competition about how polar bears can be stopped in this condition. Especially since Mathias Niederberger hardly realized that he had missed the last three games. The Berlin goalkeeper scuppered the few promising chances for the visitors with the calm that has characterized him throughout the season. Even an artistic defensive action in the purest baseball style was part of the portfolio of the parade against Wolfsburg. Tyler Gaudet’s late goal in the penultimate minute was tolerable given the overall performance.

And so, after the final siren, there were the scenes that were neglected at the end. The Eisbären pros skated with delight into the crowd and earned full credit for a flawless performance that was never in jeopardy.


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