With the blood of his players on his face, master coach Serge Aubin hugged the outstanding striker Leo Pföderl for seconds.

The 30-year-old national striker again almost single-handedly ensured Eisbären Berlin’s fourth victory in the fifth playoff final of the German Ice Hockey League at the Fischtown Pinguins in Bremerhaven. With his third final goal (44th minute) and the eleventh points scorer in the series, the 2018 Olympic silver winner paved the way for the Eisbären to their tenth championship title. Manuel Wiederer (49th) made it 2-0 (0-0, 0-0, 2-0) against the Pinguins.

“I’m so proud of my players. I couldn’t be happier,” Aubin celebrated at MagnetaSport about his third masterpiece with the Berliners after 2021 and 2022. Although the Berliners, who are used to success, didn’t even make it into the playoffs last year, They stuck with the Canadian and were rewarded. “Here we are back again,” said Aubin, who could start a new era with the Polar Bears. The Berliners had already celebrated seven championships between 2005 and 2013 and are now once again the measure of all things in the DEL at the beginning of this decade.

Last game for Popiesch as Penguins coach?

But once again the surprise winner of the main round from Bremerhaven demanded everything from the Eisbären. “It was a tough fight today,” said Aubin, explaining a large blood stain on his face after hugging all his players. “Someone must have had some blood there,” said Aubin.

“Great respect for Bremerhaven. The atmosphere here is crazy,” said Eisbären defender Kai Wissmann. The Penguins were in the final series for the first time ever. The runner-up is the best result in the club’s history. For Thomas Popiesch it was probably the last game as Penguins coach. The East Berlin native is set to move to the Krefeld Pinguinen in the second division next season.

Under Popiesch, Bremerhaven had always made it into the playoffs since joining the DEL in 2016. This season the Pinguins were the surprise team ever in the DEL and finished first in the main round. For the first time in ten years, the first place in the preliminary round did not end up becoming German champion.

Goalkeepers once again stand out

Bremerhaven once again fought back with all its might and gave the polar bears a tough fight. Both teams had great chances until the final third, but once again the goalkeepers Kristers Gudlevskis (Bremerhaven) and Jake Hildebrand (Berlin) stood out. After all, Bremerhaven went a third of the final series without conceding a goal for the first time.

However, the 4,637 spectators in the sold-out ice arena had to wait for the first goal in the second round. Gudlevskis in particular was now under fire. The Latvian, who was voted the best goalkeeper in the regular season, was also lucky when he shot against the post from Berlin.

As in all finals so far, Berlin took the lead again this time. Pföderl’s third final goal broke the ice. Five minutes later, Wiederer scored and the goal also stood up to the referees’ video review. This leadership brought Berlin confidently and safely over time. After the game, Pförderl was voted the best player in the series.