The Madrid Royals and goalie Tomas Vokoun are putting up quite a fight in their Southern Conference playoff series with Bern. Down 3-0 after the first three games, the Royals won the next two, including Tuesday’s 3-2 win in Bern. The teams will pick up again and go to Spain tonight, where a Game 6 will played on Thursday. In the most recent game, Bern did themselves in while leading 2-0 in the second period. Ten seconds after Tobias Enstrom was called for interference, the two referees doing the game – Etienne Dulude of France and Thor Rundell of Norway – each called a penalty on Bern players. Johan Franzen got one for holding and Kimo Timonen was called for interference. The Bears successfully killed off the 1:50 two-man advantage, but with Timonen just into his penalty sentence, Jeff Carter ripped the puck between Mike Smith’s pads to make it a one-goal game. And that turn of events seemed to get the ball rolling the Royals’ way. Sergei Gonchar scored less than a minute later to set up a decisive third period. Bern played harder in that period, outshooting Madrid 16-8, but Vokoun held firm and young defenseman Erik Karlsson made a dazzling rush to score the game winner with 5 minutes to play. Andy McDonald, who has been Bern’s best player in the playoffs, scored his fifth playoff goal to start the scoring in the second period, and Mike Cammellari added his second about a minute and a half later to put Bern up 2-0. McDonald tweeked a knee or an ankle and may not be 100 percent for Game 6.
Prague 5, Bratislava 4 (OT)
The population of Prague-nville went up by one Tuesday, and loudly, as the Czech-based team went back out in front in the hard-fought Czechoslovakia series. With Bratislava getting the better of play and leading by a goal, Jason Pominville made a long pass to the far side of the Eagles net and hit a streaking Nicklas Kronwall for a goal to tie it with 1:32 to play and send the game into overtime. And with under 2 minutes to go in overtime period number 2, Pominville’s slapshot from the right side after entering the Bratislava zone whizzed past Craig Anderson and won the game for Sparta. Pominville was one of 6 players – 3 on each team – to record 3 points or more on Tuesday. Both teams also scored 3 powerplay goals. Bratislava seized command of the contest in the second period, thanks mainly to star center Jonathan Toews. In a span of a little more than 10 minutes, the former Chicago Black Hawk scored two goals and assisted on a tally by linemate Tyler Ennis. In all, Toews finished with 3 goals, 1 assist, 11 shots on goal 2 hits and 2 blocked shots. But he was also a minus 1 and was poor in the faceoff circle, winning just 17 of 42 draws, most of them to Bryan Little who replaced injured Ryan Getzlaf on Sparta’s top line. Little, Pominville and Zach Parise each finished with a goal and two assists. Game 5 featured lots of hitting. Big defensemen Tyler Myers of Bratislava and Eric Brewer of Prague had 9 and 7 hits respectively and veteran forward Jason Arnott was angry about something or someone, dishing out 7 hits in just 10 minutes of ice time. Bratislava observers have been crowded Twitter with sarcastic missing person reports for all-star defenseman Zdeno Chara. The league’s tallest player has barely been noticeable in the playoffs with just one assist and a minus 4 rating through 5 games.
Munich 5, Milan 3
The Munich Fox ended the Milan Guerriero season with a 5-3 win on German ice. Milan actually outshot Munich by 10 shots, 35-25, but Munich led after every period. Matt Cooke and Brian Bickell got Munich started off with the only goals of the first period, but goals by Brooks Orpik and Marc Letestu tied it a period later, until Joe Thornton scored his fourth playoff goal with 2 minutes to go. In the third period, the Foxes pulled away on goals by Joe Corvo and Patrik Elias. Jason Garrison scored the last goal of the game, but with only 10 seconds left. It didn’t dull the Munich fans’ ovation at all. Dion Phaneuf of Munich played a strong defensive game with 3 blocked shots and 8 hits in 22 minutes. Jonathan Quick made 32 saves to earn the win, while Milan went with Josh Harding over Antti Niemi, and Harding made 20 saves on 25 shots.