LAUSANNE HC – Analysis of the 2018-19 season
Lausanne want to become a big team and in this regard they’ve made a good step forward this season. The disappointment of the defeat suffered against Zug in the semifinal, must soon give way to the sense of accomplishment for what has been done this season.
A season during which Lausanne proved to have learned from the mistakes of the past – the club didn’t fire Ville Peltonen in autumn when results were poor – and a season during which Lausanne reached the semifinals stage for the first time in history!
That alone, would be enough to make the Lions Vaudois season excellent.
Then, however, we all have somehow a short memory… and so we tend to focus only on the playoffs that perhaps, despite the semifinal reached, could have been even better. Even if only in terms of performances that at times were almost emotionless. And even if only because it took 7 games to ged rid of Langnau at the quarterfinals stage.
And that is, however, right where the shoe pinches. It’s time in fact to talk about “winning mindset”. You can’t buy “winning mindset” at the market but you have to build it over the years… both on and off the ice. We mean, it’s not an accident that only 4 teams have been winning the title over the last 20 seasons.
Lausanne are building the winning mindset. Ambitions are there, players are there, there are the right persons in the right place… and the experienced of the last couple of seasons – quarterfinals in 2017, playout in 2018, semifinals in 2019 – will serve to build the winning mindset.
Winning mindset is that “factor” that allows to go that step further. That step further that can turn a positive season into a memorable one. Well, Lausanne is getting closer and closer to that!
THE REGULAR SEASON
A poor start – only 3 wins in the first 11 games – and maybe even the temptation to part ways with Ville Peltonen. Then, the great comeback – 9 wins in the following 10 games – and the feeling that everything was going just fine. Then, some long positive streak of results… and some negative ones…we mean, Lausanne’s Regular Season has been a real rollercoaster. A rollercoaster that nevertheless, also considering how balanced was the National League, allowed the Lions Vaudois to finish 3rd placed!
Lausanne HC – SCL Tigers 4-3
EV Zug – Lausanne HC 4-1
Paradoxically, and despite the historical semifinal, the feeling is that way too many people are disappointed. Lausanne haven’t been able to increase their level of play during playoffs and, most and above all, way too often they looked like performing impassive. What Ville Peltonen’s boys have done, was good enough to get rid of Langnau even though in 7 games. It wasn’t enough, however, to prevail against Zug.
Let’s see few things that in our opinion worked well and few things that didn’t work at all.
Lausanne got off to a very poor start of the season and then got back up. Then they went down again… and they got back up again. And so on almost for the whole season. The whole, without changing coach. We mean, in our opinion the Lions Vaudois proved to have some real character and they looked like a tight-knit group.
When Lausanne followed their system of play to the letter, they were able to psych the opponents out. On the good days in fact, the Lions Vaudois were rock solid in the neutral zone and in the defensive zone. Not for nothing, Ville Peltonen’s troops finished the Regular Season with the 4th best defensive record. Let us not forget, moreover, that the perfect positioning allowed the players to block countless shots.
If we exclude the early stages of the season, Lausanne were oftentimes unstoppable at the Malley 2.0. The Lions Vaudois had the 4th best home record of the league and with two more wins – maybe during the early stages… – they would have had the best home record! We mean, Malley 2.0 became some sort of good ally and the hope is that the new Arena next season will play the same role.
The season as a whole
Third placed at the end of the Regular Season… first historical semifinal reached… Lausanne’s season as a whole was excellent. The Lions Vaudois are ambitious and they’re not hiding it. They want to become a big club. Well, in this regard, it’s safe to say that this season made clear that they’re going in the right direction to success!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Lack of a plan-b
Oftentimes, we had the impression that Lausanne had no plan-b (when it comes to system of play) to use when things got rough. In other words, the players rarely went outside the box but almost always followed the system of play to the letter. This has been a limit, especially during playoffs. Moreover, we don’t like the “Finnish” style that much, we find it quite boring… then again, this is only our personal, therefore questionable, opinion.
Lack of consistency
Lausanne had way too many ups and downs. They had some very good runs and some very negative ones. As we already had the chance to say, the Lions Vaudois’ Regular Season was somehow like a rollercoaster.
The home record was positive while the away record was very negative. In fact, only Genève Servette, Lugano and Rapperswil earned less points away from home compared to Lausanne. Things improved during the last part of the Regular Season – when Lausanne won 5 of their last 6 away games – otherwise only Rapperswil would have had the worst away record.
Emotions and physical play
In our opinion, way too often Lausanne didn’t bring in enough emotions and physical play. We’re not saying that Ville Peltonen’s guys should have turned into a gang of flesh-hungry cannibals… but a bit more of physical play wouldn’t have hurt. We mean, at times physical and tough play – albeit fair – can allow to turn the momentum in your favour when things are rough, especially during playoffs. Discipline is a good and honourable thing… but too much is just too much.
THE 3 STARS OF THE SEASON
Dustin Jeffrey is among the best players of the league and has been delivering excellent performances throughout the whole season. Moreover, he was even unlucky… Dustin in fact, got injured twice. One time during the Regular Season, when understandably Lausanne did all they could to have him back as soon as possible. A second time then, he got injured right on the eve of the semifinal and Lausanne darn missed him. But Dustin Jeffrey’s season has been a great one!
Let us not beat around the bush… Christoph Bertschy wasn’t shining at the beginning of the season. Then, however, after an adjustment period, he improved game to game and became one of Lausanne’s pillars! His speed and his committment have been crucial for the Lions Vaudois in the offensive zone. Moreover, he tallied 33 points in 50 games. We just can’t wait to see him next season!
Even Lukas Frick’s performances were not top notch at the beginning of the season… then, maybe also because of Jonas Junland’s injury, Lukas Frick improved a lot as he got more time on ice. Starting from January in fact, he’s been literally on fire! Oftentimes, he was the perfect image of Lausanne’s defensive soundness. Finally, he had some great playoffs too!
Not many of us knew Tyler Moy before he had joined Lausanne back in November… yet, it took nothing to realize who he is! Tyler turned out to be a real shooting machine who can score regularly. As the season went on, his performances were not as good as at the beginning but this is understandable considering that this guy is only 23. Also in his case, we just can’t wait to see him next season!
THE SPECIAL MENTION
The club is ambitious and built a good roster that allowed to complete, in terms of results, the best season in history. Moreover, maybe also mindful of last season, the board didn’t fire Ville Peltonen after that the team had got off to a poor start of the season. And now, the new Arena is on the way… we mean, in Lausanne they’re doing a strong job!
THE SEASON IN NUMBERS – THE STATS
GOALS FOR & GOALS AGAINST
Lausanne had the 5th offensive record and the 3rd defensive record of the league… Numerically, Lausanne were good even if the figured then got worse during playoffs. To note, however, that both during the Regular Season and the playoffs, Lausanne tended to concede a lot of goals during the last 10 minutes of play. Tiredness? Coincidence? Lack of focus?
SHOTS & SHOTS AGAINST
Overall, Lausanne shot less compared to their opponents both during the Regular Season and the playoffs. Curiously enough, both during the Regular Season and the Post Season, the Lions Vaudois tended to shoot more during central periods.
SCORING & SAVING PERCENTAGE
Lausanne had a decent scoring percentage both during the Regular Season and the Playoffs. Even though the percentage got slightly worse during the post-season. The overall saving percentage of the goalies instead, was excellent during the Regular Season and only decent during playoffs.
POWER-PLAY & PENALTY-KILLING
Overall, Lausanne were quite effective during power-play situations, at least until the semifinal against Zug… on the other hand, the Lions Vaudois were only about average penalty killers.
Both during the Regular Season and the playoffs, Lausanne’s puck possession in percentage was lower than the one of the opponents.
All of us who have a short memory remember that Lausanne struggled to get rid of Langnau at the quarterfinals stage and had no chance to win against Zug. We also remember that especially against Zug, Lausanne didn’t bring in enough emotions.
But that’s not the right way to analyze and judge a season. A season needs to be analyzed in its entirety and in this regard, we think it’s safe to say that the Lions Vaudois had an excellent one!
That was a step forward to become a big team for real.
You can’t have everything at once. And we think that the statement made by Ville Peltonen at “24 Heures” after the last game in Zug – “we weren’t ready yet” – is the perfect one. We’re pretty sure that also the club is aware that there is still a long way to go in order to win a title… but you need to start somewhere, and this last season was certainly a great foundation stone.
Starting from next season then, Lausanne can play in a brand new Arena and this will boost furthermore the enthusiasm of the club who, when it comes to support, can count on a loud and large fanbase that is second to no one.
Right now it’s time for the well-deserved rest. The Lions Vaudois may have not always been able to show their claws – especially during playoffs – but surely gifted their fans with a season that somehow was memorable. A season made of ups and downs, right… but a season that must serve to build a great future!
Enjoy your holidays, Lions Vaudois!