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We’re almost there… there are about 10 Regular Season games left to play and this week there is the last (very short!) international break. We think it’s the perfect time to have one quick look at the 12 National League teams and try to figure out which are their strengths and weaknesses. Try to figure out what are the chances to make the playoffs and which are the players who will play a key role from now until the end of the season.

SC Bern

Bern are the current league leaders. Nothing new. Since years by now – with few very exceptions – the Mutzen have been in the upper part of the table and oftentimes have been the league leaders. No more, no less.

Right… no more, no less. So all this to say that, regardless of everything, for what we’ve seen so far it’s not gonna be like a walk in the park for Bern to win the title after a year of break.

Sure, the Mutzen are the favourites. This because they are rock solid most of the times and because it’s so darn difficult to play against them. But… will this be enough, starting from March, when a “new” – and different – season, will begin?!

Mabye, maybe not. Only time will tell.

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THE STRENGTHS

The team is rock solid

It’s so darn difficult to play against Bern. The Mutzen’s defensive system is almost perfect and leads the opponents to be frustrated and nervous. And then, even when the defense makes a mistake… Leonardo Genoni and Pascal Caminada save the day.

Penalty-killing

Bern are very disciplined and are rarely shorthanded compared to other teams. When they are shorthanded, however, it’s not that big of a deal… the Mutzen are rock solid and are excellent penalty killers. Not for nothing, they have the best PK efficiency of the league (87.6%).

The results

Winners are always right. Point. And Bern win… win a lot! One way or another, thanks to good or poor performances, the Mutzen are almost always able to take home the three points. This is not an accident but the fruit of the hard work done on and off the ice.

The winning mindset

Bern have an impressive winning mindset that has been built over the years. This allows them to win and to be consistent. The players are extremely self-confident and not much gets them down… in fact, the Mutzen never lost more than 2 consecutive games this season. It’s not an accident.

Home record

Go and earn a win in Bern if you’re any good… Bern have the best home record in the NLA. They played 20 games at the PostFinance Arena and lost only 5, including one overtime defeat and a shootouts defeat. Let us not forget, moreover, that Bern haven’t conceded any goal at home in 9 games out of 20… and only once conceded more than 3 goals. These figures are impressive!

WEAKNESSES

There is no plan b

Sorry guys but, here we go again… in our opinion, there is no plan b. Bern’s system of play is almost perfect but the Mutzen’s hockey is at times boring and looks emotionless. We mean, Bern look like a perfect machine. A machine that, however, isn’t able to change things around when there are problems. In this regard, we thought that the arrivals of Matthias Bieber, Gregory Sciaroni and Daniele Grassi would help. The truth is, however, that we still don’t see a plan b when it comes to the system of play… this can cost a lot during playoffs.

Power-play

Bern have the 5th power-play efficiency of the NLA (18.6%)… put it like that, it doesn’t look bad. In fact, however, the Mutzen have extensive room for improvement when it comes to power-play situations. Recently the situation has improved a little… but it must improve more.

Focus

Sometimes Bern, perhaps because of the huge self-confidence, are not focused enough. Especially away from home. It looks like the players at times struggle to give their best and struggle to get their game on.

CHANCES TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS

100%

Bern aren’t green yet when you have a look at the “txt” but they’re by now certain to make the playoffs and to finish the Regular Season first or second placed. This last month before the playoffs will be used mostly to charge mentally!

THE TOP SCORER

Mark Arcobello – 38 points (18G, 20A)

KEY PLAYERS

Leonardo Genoni

Leonardo “the wall” Genoni is one of the best goalies in the NLA. He’s able to instil a lot of self-confidence to his teammates thanks to his saves and his mental strengths. In fact, oftentimes Leonardo is like a wall in front of the net.

Mark Arcobello

Regardless of the level of his performances, Mark Arcobello is always in the right place at the right time. He’s a crucial player for Bern, he scores a lot and he’s a great assist man too. He would be a key player for each NLA team.

Thomas Ruefenacht

With all due respect, Thomas Ruefenacht is not having the best season of his career. Right now, however, the playoffs are approaching and we’re pretty sure that he can smell them… Bern desperately need his grit and emotions. He can become a key player from now until the end of the season.

WEATHER FORECAST FOR BERN

Clear, daily sunny

In terms of results, the sun is always shining in Bern. Yet, it’s like in Tessin… after a while, you get bored of sunshine and you want some rain. The Mutzen are almost a perfect machine, for better and for worse. For better, because they have all it takes to go all the way and win the title. For worse, because at times the Mutzen look emotionless… and emotions are very important during playoffs.

Good luck for the last part of the season!

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