On Wednesday evening, shortly before 11 p.m., Manuel Wiederer’s feelings calmed down again. About 20 minutes after scoring the deciding goal to make 4:3 in extra time against Adler Mannheim, Eisbren fell on each other in professional relief, stood in front of the dressing room with his socks pulled up and his blue game. -off shirt and quite correctly said: “If I can remember correctly, this was my first overtime goal.” He once managed two hat-tricks in a row as a teenager in Canada, “but I think that was my most important goal ever”.
After a 1–0 lead in the semi-final play-off series, the Berliners agreed that they deserved to win the start given the better offensive tone throughout the duration of the game. However, it was a “relatively difficult game”, as coach Serge Aubin said. The guests had leveled the lead of 2:0 and 3:2, and also survived a five-minute deficit at the end of regular time. With this type of play, the pendulum can swing in the other direction as well.
In the end, the polar bears benefited from an often acclaimed depth in the squad. Players with common differences such as Leo Fodrel, Matt White or Marcel Nobles tried again and again to play the decider. Along with Giovanni Fiore, Yannick Veilleux, who had to head into the dressing room after a gang investigation, and Wiederer, strikers from three different groups scored. Also, Jonas Müller, who was not too dangerous in the main round, was successful in these play-offs for the third time.
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Particularly in Wiederer’s case, predictions made by his coach when the play-offs were still far away, have come true. “He will play a very important role for us in what will last a season long,” Aubin said after a training session at Welblechpalst in late autumn. “He doesn’t stand out because he’s not a classic scorer, but he does great things for us.”
The special eulogy on Wednesday evening also seemed like a similar thing. “You can tell that Manny loves the playoffs,” Aubin said. “His work ethic is exceptional.” Even before being crowned with the winning goal, the striker had made two assists. He crafted Veleux’s 3:2 with a pass smart enough that the Canadian could barely help but push the puck over the line.
The Bavarian also played a key role in ensuring that overtime did not result in a dangerous underman, which occurs immediately after five minutes of overtime were awarded. “Of course we wanted to score a goal, but if we don’t score we have to keep going.” It has always been said that it is important to accept every situation in the play-offs, no matter what the game is. The polar bears succeeded in these minutes, which was the basis of this success.
For Wiederer, the commitment in Berlin has paid off in full
Wiederer has shown time and again that he can be there at the right time., When they joined polar bears over the summer, they had to regain confidence in their bodies after a mixed bag of physical ailments hit North America. After being selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, he struggled exclusively in the AHL, but did not break through. So far, his involvement in Berlin has paid off in full for the player and the club.
Polar bears in Mannheim (7.30 p.m.) are challenging again on Friday. And because the pressure builds up in the event of a loss in a best-of-five series, the Eagles will probably take little physical advantage and try to force the polar bears to punish.
But in these situations, when there are no two men in the penalty box as on Wednesday, the Polar Bears have been strong and well-organized in the play-offs so far. Which also has a lot to do with Wiederer, who plays an important role as a man who plays a key role. Although he likes the role as a match winner even better, of course.
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