EV ZUG – HC LUGANO 4-0
Zug against Lugano, on paper, was supposed to be the most balanced of the 2019 quarterfinals playoffs series. And instead, 4 games were enough for Zug to prevail and to make it to the semifinals. Deservedly so. It’s true that Lugano, for what we’ve seen during the last two games, would have deserved to play at least one more game. Overall, however, the Bulls were better.
THE TOP SCORER OF THE SERIES
5 points – Lino Martschini (3G, 2A)
THE STAR OF THE SERIES
Sven Leuenberger (EV Zug)
Zug delivered some excellent team performances and have got such a talented roster. We mean, we could just name one of the top class players and we wouldn’t be wrong… yet, we want to reward a player who is probably less “famous” right now but who was impressive. We’re talking about the 20 years old Sven Leuenberger who’s playing the first playoffs of his career. He tallied 4 points but, most and above all, he put an above average personality and self-confidence on display for a guy his age. This guys has got a hell of a future ahead!
THE SPECIAL MENTION
Dan Tangnes (Coach, EV Zugo)
Frankly speaking, how many of you really knew – if not by name – Dan Tangnes before this season? We think not many of you. Yet, it took no time to the 40 years old Norwegian coach to make a name for himself in Switzerland! Dan, together with his staff, looks able to turn the Bulls from “everlasting promise” into a “winning team”. Can he do it already this season? We’ll see… but the path taken is the good one.
THE THREE KEY FACTORS
Overall, Zug proved stronger over the four games. Also when under pressure, the Bulls were always able to stay close to Lugano and then gore them at the key moments. And win the games. We were expecting the Bianconeri to increase their level of play for the playoffs… one of the reasons why they weren’t able to turn things around, actually the main reason, is that Zug were better. Point.
Power-play & Penalty-killing
During power-play situations, Zug were always able to enter the offensive zone easily and were able to move the puck around very well. Oftentimes, moreover, they put the puck in the net. Quite the contrary of Lugano who, during power-play situations, just like throughout the Regular Season, darn struggled to be unpredictable and to score.
The handling of the “momentum”
We think it’s safe to say that during the first two games, regardless of the results, Zug outplayed Lugano. At the same time, we think it’s also safe to say that during the last two games the Bianconeri were able to stand up to Zug. Actually, at times, they were even better. We mean, Ireland’s troops were able to turn the momentum of the series on their side for a few moments. But the guys coached by Dan Tangnes were unimpressed and proved calmer and merciless when the momentum was on their side.
THE KEY MOMENT OF THE SERIES
Zug outplayed Lugano during game-1… yet, the Bianconeri went close to equalize during the last 10 minutes of play! We were therefore expecting Lugano to kick-start their playoffs during game-2 at home while Zug could have been more fearful. And instead, Dan Tangnes’ troops delivered an impressive performance in game-2 at the Cornèr Arena. They earned the clearest win in this series and that was such a huge confidence booster that allowed them to handle very well the complicated moments during game-3 and game-4.
Goals For & Goals Against
Zug scored 18 goals in 4 games. That’s good. Lugano instead conceded 18 goals in 4 games. That’s not good enough if you hope to win a playoffs series. If we have a look at the chart of the goals scored per 10’ fraction of time, you can see how Zug were able to make the difference between the second and third period. This, despite the fact that Lugano had a peak of goals scored during the early stages of the central period. As we wrote earlier, the Bulls were always able to react and bounce back when Lugano tried to stand up.
Shots & Shots Against
Zug shot more then Lugano. It’s interesting to note, however, that Lugano were able to shot more during the central periods of play. The reasons? Many and various. One of them is the fact that, as we said, the Bulls were able to make the difference at the key moments… that is, during the first and third period. Without forgetting the last overtime…
Scoring & Saving percentage
Zug had a great scoring percentage. Lugano for their side, who were the most accurate side during the Reglar Season, weren’t able to convert enough chances. Finally, Tobias Stephan won the “battle” against Elvis Merzlikins. Even though, it’s safe to say that none of the two goalies really made the difference during this series.
Power-play & Penalty-killing
As we had the chance to say already, Zug were much better when it comes to power-play opportunities and were more solid penalty killers. In this regard the Bulls were seriously much better than Lugano and this is something that makes the difference especially during the playoffs.
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
Zug deservedly made it to the semifinals. The Bulls proved a real Team, with a capital T, and were overall better than Lugano. Then again, it wasn’t a walk in the park… but Tangnes’ guys were able to make clear that were the better side during the first two games of the series. This was such a condifence booster that allowed them to handle very well Lugano’s reaction during game-3 and game-4.
It’s fair to say that Zug at this moment were too strong for Lugano that were not self-confident enough. Is there any regret? Well, more than a regret there is something that one can say with hindsight. What would have happened if Lugano had equalized during that last 10 minutes of game-1? Maybe everything would have changed. Maybe at that point the Bianconeri could have become that playoffs animals we all know. It didn’t happen though… and everything you say “with hindsight” is nothing but trivial. The matter of the fact is that Lugano are on holiday and Zug are not. And another matter of the fact is that when you concede 18 goals in 4 games during the playoffs… it’s impossible to go a long way.