After each game, until when at least 4 teams are playing, we propose you our “Top & Flop” special version for the playoffs.
Our “Team on Fire”, our “Three Stars”, our “Special Mentions”, our “Surprises” and our “Disappointment”. As it is always the case, among the three stars we won’t include only the players who performed the best… but those that in our opinion, one way or another, have made their mark,
THE TEAM “ON FIRE”
Persistence pays off… there is no better way to describe Ambrì-Piotta’s first playoffs win after 4’753 days!
That’s the time that has passed from that 5-4 away win earned in Lugano back on March 11th, 2006, to the 2-1 home win earned last night against Bienne. A win, the latter, that can be the beginning of a comeback but that anyway is a deserved icing on the cake for this memorable season.
We were saying though, persistence pays off. Hard work too. Luca Cereda has been tiredlessly repeating it since when was appointed the new Ambrì-Piotta coach… and for the umpteenth time, never truer words have been spoken.
Let’s take game-4 won against Bienne… The Levetinesi delivered an excellent team performance. Just like they did during the previous two games of the series, after all. The difference this time is that, other than “heart” and “system of play”, Cereda’s guys were able – perhaps also thanks to the teachings of the previous games of the series – to prove merciless and able to make the difference at the key moments!
We mean, it’s gonna be tough to turn this series around. But the players once again found the way to make their supporters proud! They proved excellent fast learners!
And now let’s move on to game-5. With the knowledge to be able to make something big. With the knowledge to be able to give the fans something to dream about. With the knowledge, most and above all, that hard work and persistence pay off… and even if the Leventinesi don’t reap any fruits more this season, everything that has been sowed so far will be reaped in the next future.
Because, regardless of everything, Ambrì-Piotta who are made from heart, hard work and commitment, have finally a future!
OUR THREE STARS OF GAME-4
Dan Tangnes (Coach, EV Zug)
Zug won after 95 exhausting minutes in Lugano and therefore made it to the semifinals. Deservedly so!
The Bulls were the better side in every way. Point. They delivered several excellent team performances and always found the way – one way or another – to injure and gore Lugano also when they were in trouble.
We mean, Zug are not only talented on paper… but are a real Team, with a Capital T. Therefore, symbolically, we think it’s fair to reward the architect of this “crature”. Coach Dan Tangnes!
This Zug look very different compared to the one of the past… and we’re pretty sure that the big job done by the coach and his staff have had a huge impact in this change that can really turn the Bulls from “everlasting promise” into “winners”!
Jonas Junland (Lausanne HC)
Lausanne won 2-1 game-4 in Langnau and are now very close to the semifinals which would be a historical achievement. The Lions Vaudois’ performance at the Ilfishalle was impressive in terms of smartness, solidity, calm and ability to “claw” the opponents at the key moments!
The Tigers turned out to be once again a tough nut to crack but… the hungry Lions roared and bite a third piece…
Among the pride of hungry Lions, there is Jonas Junland. He came back recently after injury and is growing each passing game. He’s a real pillar of the defense! His performances are seriously top notch… moreover, he can always do the right thing at the right time. Especially when it comes to counterattack and to move the puck around in the offensive zone.
Lausanne have got talent coming out of their ears. Jonas too!
Daniele Grassi (SC Berna)
Bern are level again in the series against Genève Servette thanks to the 2-1 win earned at les Vernets. The performance however, except from the central period, was not outstanding and spectacular. In fact this team, that is rock solid, doesn’t look in the playoffs mode just yet…
There is someone who’s in playoffs mode though. We’re talking about Daniele Grassi! In Genève he scored the very important first goal of the night… most and above all then, he brought in a lot ofintensity and the right dose of physical play!
In fact all his line – the one of Grassi, Heim and Brügger – was among the most positive things of the night for the Mutzen. Mutzen that nevertheless still look a bit holed up in their den… and then, a player like Daniele Grassi who’s at times underestimated, can show the way to the teammates in terms of attitude!
THE SPECIAL MENTION FOR… REFS!
Mark Lemelin & Alex Dipietro
Thursday, March 14th, 2019… Mark Lemelin and Alex Dipietro were the refs of the epic battle Bern vs Genève Servette that lasted 95 minutes and 49 seconds. Then, on Saturday 16th, 2019… Mark Lemelin and Alex Dipietro were the refs of the epic battle Lugano vs Zug that lasted 95 minutes and 33 seconds.
In other words, these two gentlemen were on ice 191 minutes and 12 seconds in a matter of two days. So much for Henrik Tömmernes record 🙂
Frankly speaking, we think that Mark and Alex today don’t even want to hear the word “ice hockey”… regardless of their performances though, they were heroic!
Sandro Zurkirchen (Lausanne HC)
Sandro Zurkirchen is an excellent goalie and therefore it’s not a surprise to see him perform well. Rather, the surprise is that he was allegedly supposed to be Lukas Boltshauser back up. Then, however – also because at some point the former Kloten got injured – he seized the moment and right now during the playoffs is Ville Peltonen’s first choice!
Also during game-4 in Langnau, Sandro was extremely effective. In fact, his performance was brillant!
Nope, Lugano are not the disappointment because of their performance delivered against Zug on game-4. In fact, it’s fair to say that the Bianconeri put their season to an end fighting and trying to come back in this series…
Then again, the matter of the fact is that Lugano are the first team who can go on holiday. Point. And another fact is that the Bianconeri hadn’t been losing 4-0 a playoffs series since the 2010 quarterfinals when they were defeated 4-0 by Bern.
Lugano therefore finished in the worst possible way their season that probably never really started. We were and still are convinced that the Bianconeri are playoffs animals… We were and still are convinced that they could have done much better against Zug. We were and still are convinced that, despite all the troubles, this team could have gone a long way.
Then sure, to face Zug that turned out to be very strong it’s something you have no impact on. And maybe, the Bulls’ strength is the only real reason for this early finish of the season… but this cruel and terrible playoffs will come in hand next season, when there will be a lot of will to get back to the top!
Enjoy these early (and unwelcomed) holidays, Lugano!