20th Week – 18.02.2019 – 24.02.2019
Let’s see our Top & Flop of the week!
THE TEAM OF THE WEEK
Fribourg Gottéron had their perfect weekend during which they defeated two of the most dangerous teams of the league and therefore earned 6 points in two games. The whole, when there are only 4 games left to the end of the Regular Season. We mean, as they say in French… “ça fait du bien!”.
The Dragons were rock solid in defense and extremely committed this weekend. The two performances delivered against Ambrì-Piotta and Langnau, however, differed a bit from one another.
Against the Leventinesi, Gottéron played an excellent game. After the first 5 minutes of the game that were pretty much balanced, it’s safe to say that Mark French’s troops were the better side by far and have outplayed their opponents for the remaining 55 minutes. Against the Tigers instead, Gottéron delivered a performance made of a lot of energy, dedication to the cause and ability to make the difference at the key moment. There are those saying that Fribourg won in Langnau only thanks to Reto Berra… yep guys, but what about the tactically almost perfect defensive performance?! And let us not forget that you certainly can’t blame a team for having an effective goalie… that’s actually an asset.
Let’s face it, many thought a couple of weeks ago that Fribourg Gottéron were in free fall. Wrong! Mark French’s guys claws are showing just at the most important moment of the Regular Season. They won their last 3 games consecutively and overall won 6 of their last 8. That’s not nothing. Indeed, those are some fantastic results! In fact, the Dragons are the 3rd best team of the NLA in the last 10 games behind Lausanne and Bern.
Then again, it’s not the time for flights of fancy. There is still relatively a long way to go to make the playoffs and many teams are so close to each other. Yet the commitment, the solidity and the dedication to the cause put on display this weekend – and in the recent past – bode very well for the future.
Fribourg Gottéron have all it takes to make the playoffs. Moreover, they have room for improvement… see the power-play and the import players contribution in terms of points for instance. If Mark French can square the circle – even though it’s not obvious – not only can the Dragons make the playoffs… but they can also aspire to improve the results achieved last season.
Considering how things were going in December… this is impressive. And it’s a sign of real character and hard work to turn things around.
Keep it up, Gottéron!
OUR THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
Perttu Lindgren (HC Davos)
Several weeks ago we were saying that in our opinion Davos were improving but improvements were too slow. Well, the Ibexes’ improvements were impressive this last difficult week during which they had to face the current league leaders Bern twice and Zürich who are coached by their former coach Arno Del Curto.
Two wins and a defeat. Most and above all, however, an impressive fighting and team spirit for 180 minutes!
Fighting and team spirit alone are not enough though, and that is where individual performances come in. Just like the few delivered by Perttu Lindgren who was literally… on fire! The Finnish forward can finally play with continuity and can therefore show off all his talent. This last week he made it 7 times into the scoresheet in 3 games – 4 goals – and played a leading role in the offensive zone.
We mean, considering the recent performances – both individual and team ones – … perhaps this last part of the season looks much less scary for Davos.
Welcome back, in every way, Perttu!
Gregory Hofmann (HC Lugano)
Lugano earned 6 points in three games this last week. Overall, we’re talking about 5 wins in the last 7 games. That’s a form that can help you to make the playoffs. No ifs, no buts.
The performances, however, are still not convincing on a regular basis. If there is someone, however, who’s so darn consistent in terms of performances… it’s Gregory Hofmann. Who, uncaring of those who thought he would relax and think about next season that he will play in Zug, he’s continuing to impress and to drive the opponents nuts.
At times his individualism and his eagerness to overdo lead him to make unavoidable errors. At times, there is the impression that he’s faster than the puck. Gregory, however, is putting an impressive commitment on display… moreover, he’s able to put that puck in the net very often or he makes his teammates put it in the net.
We don’t like these transfers announced far in advance. One thing is sure though: not only is Gregory Hofmann proving to be among the most devastating forwards of the league… but he’s also proving to be, most and above all, a great professional.
Well done, Greg. Chapeau!
Robbie Earl (EHC Biel-Bienne)
Bienne had overall a very good weekend. Firstly they earned a 4-3 shootouts home win against Langnau – therefore ending a very dangerous 3-games losing streak even though the performance was not top notch – and then delivered a very good performance in Ambrì where won 3-1.
Right the game in Ambrì was the only one Robbie Earl played.
At the Valascia, the Seeländers were extremely clever and resourceful almost just like last autumn. What Bienne have been lacking of recently though, was a bit of that “extra something” in terms of energy… well, Robbie Earl – among others – put a great energy into the game in Ambrì! The 33 years old American – future Tiger – performance was excellent in our opinion. Both in terms of energy and in terms of hard work also in the defensive zone.
We reward him because of his performance. We reward him, also, because he’s got a huge impact on the team.
One thing is sure: Robbie Earl can be a great trump card for Bienne during this last part of the season and also – hopefully – during the upcoming playoffs!
THE SPECIAL MENTION FOR… GREAT PLEASURE
Carl Klingberg (EV Zug)
Back in early December in Langnau, Carl Klingberg got badly injured. We mean guys, we had cold sweats because of that accident… luckily enough, however, it was nothing too serious. To the point that already this week Carl was back in action!
But not only that… especially on Saturday night against Bern – during a game in which he earned 2 assists – he proved already to be in great shape! You know… for all of us hockey passionate it’s a great pleasure to see Carl Klingberg back on ice…
Keep it up, Carl!
THE SPECIAL MENTION FOR… PLAYOFFS ANIMAL
Thomas Ruefenacht (SC Bern)
Bern are currently league leaders. They win countless games even when the performances aren’t top notch.
We mean, apart from everything, there is extensive room for improvement in view of the forthcoming playoffs.
Room for improvement that Thomas Ruefenacht has been putting on display lately! Thomas had a difficult first part of the season but with the playoffs approaching he’s back showing all that grit, determination and hunger that makes him….
A famished playoffs animal!
Sacha Tosques (HC Ambrì-Piotta)
A bit out of nowhere… on Tuesday night in Zug, Sacha Tosques made his NLA debut with Ambrì-Piotta after he had spent the whole season in the NLB playing for the Ticino Rockets.
Sacha is a talented 24 years old defenseman who’s still working part-time for an insurance company.
Therefore, he crowned his dream on Tuesday night at the Bossard Arena. Moreover, since he was almost by accident on ice during a power-play situation (as he said in an interview at the RSI), he even made it to the scoresheet when Elias Bianchi scored assisted by him!
We mean, considering also that Ambrì-Piotta won that game, it was a dream soiree for Sacha Tosques. Hopefully, many more will come.
Keep it up, Sacha!
SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers
We’re so sorry… we know that talking about Rapperswil as a disappointment is like shooting a fish in the barrel. However, for the umpteenth time, the willing Lakers are our disappointment of the week.
Recently we have emphasised many times their improvements. Certainly we don’t want go back on our word. We’re still certain, in fact, that Jeff Tomlinson’s troops improved a lot and not only because of the decent results but mostly because of their performances.
This last week, however, in our opinion Rapperswil took a step back and considering also Davos’ growth this is a problem.
Both at home against Genève Servette and then in Lugano, the Lakers darn struggled even though their opponents were just about decent. In fact, it looked like to watch the Rapperswil of the beginning of the season.
The hope is, especially in terms of performances, that this week was only a one-off. Because for what we’ve seen lately – both when it comes to Rapperswil and Davos – it looks like there is still a lot of work to be done in order to avoid the extremely dangerous League Qualification series.
Come on… up and at them Rappi!