2018-19 NATIONAL LEAGUE FINAL
SC Bern – EV Zug
On the eve of the playoffs, the most “logical” final seemed to be Bern against Zug. And in the end, Bears and Bulls will really face each other to establish who’s gonna be the 2019 Swiss Champions! The last time the two teams who finished the Regular Season 1st and 2nd placed faced each other in the final dates back to the 2012-13 season. It was Fribourg Gottéron vs Bern… This season instead, on the one hand there is still Bern, one of the most titled teams in Switzerland who, however, had to struggle to make it to the final. On the other hand then, there is Zug, who want to become Swiss Champions again after over 20 years. Who will win? We’ll find out in the near future… let’s follow this final all together!
SEASONAL HEAD TO HEAD
|23/02/19||EV Zug – SC Bern||4 : 2 (2 : 1) (2 : 1) (0 : 0)|
|12/01/19||SC Bern – EV Zug||0 : 3 (0 : 0) (0 : 1) (0 : 2)|
|23/11/18||EV Zug – SC Bern||3 : 4 (0 : 1) (1 : 1) (2 : 2)|
|12/10/18||SC Bern – EV Zug||3 : 0 (1 : 0) (0 : 0) (2 : 0)|
Bern won the first two games while Zug won the last two. All the games have been sort of balanced and quite exciting though. Anyway, starting from Thursday night, everything that happened until now will no longer matter that much!
TOP 3 SCORERS IN HEADS TO HEADS
6 points – Mark Arcobello (1G, 5A)
4 points – Andrew Ebbett (2G, 2A)
3 points – Thomas Ruefenacht (2G, 1A)
5 points – Lino Martschini (4G, 1A)
3 points – Carl Klingberg (0G, 3A)
2 points – Brian Flynn (2G, 0A)
Today we had a poll on our facebook page. We asked you which team would make it to the semifinals. Here are the numbers…
SC BERN (32%) vs EV ZUG (68%)
Well, most of you think that Zug will win the title for the first time after 1998. Will you be right?! Time will tell 🙂
THE ROAD TO THE FINAL…
SC Bern vs Genève Servette HC 4-2
SC Bern vs EHC Biel-Bienne 4-3
Bern proved to have some real character both against Genève Servette and Bienne. They made it to the final and this is the only thing that matters. Then again, when it comes to performances, the Bears have extensive room for improvement. This fact, however, could even be a plus… we mean, Bern can get even better!
Winning mindsed and experience
Regardless of the performances delivered, Bern are experienced and have an impressive winning mindset. You can’t buy these two factors at any market, you need to build them over time. And these two factors, oftentimes make the difference during playoffs. Even more so during the final.
Kari Jalonen’s roster is impressive in terms of names and in terms of depth. Not for nothing, Bern were among the main favourites to make it to the final and to win the title. On paper, the Bears are second to no one. They have all it takes, but all it takes, to win again the title after a year of “break”.
Bern’s power-play may not be the best one around when it comes to aesthetic… yet, during the playoffs against Genève and Bienne, the Bears made the difference during power-play situations. We mean, Kari Jalonen’s guys almost always find a way to put the puck in the net one way or another during power-play situations.
Zug have been playing 9 playoffs game so far. Bern for their part, have been playing 14 playoffs games, including some crazy endless ones against Genève Servette. Moreover, Zug are fresh as they played their last game last Thursday… Bern instead had to wait until Tuesday night to get rid of Bienne. Initially, the Bears could take advantage of the fact that they’re already in playoffs pace… on the long term, however, they might pay a high price because of tiredness.
Bern bring in enough emotions only intermittently… way too often, both against Genève Servette and Bienne, the Bears looked emotionless and seemed too caged into their system of play. Moreover, discipline is a good thing… but come on Bears, come out from your cave sometime!
Playoffs’ home record
Bern won only 3 of their 7 playoffs home games played against Genève Servette and Bienne. That’s not good enough. It’s true that the Bears made it to the final thanks to the home win earned against the Seeländers in game-7… but the PostFinance Arena must be a hellhole for the opponents just like it was during the Regular Season. Even because it won’t be easy to win on the road in Zug.
Tristan Scherwey is one of the few players who always brings in a lot of energy. Moreover, his attitude – sometimes he’s a bit of an agitator – can really make the difference during playoffs. Finally, he even tallied 6 points in 7 games in the semifinal against Bienne!
The future goalie of Zug is on fire! Leonardo Genoni is having some terrific playoffs and he is a crucial player for the Bears. Let us not forget, moreover, that he literally “stole” the crucial game-6 played in Bienne on Saturday night. Only great goalies can “steal” games. Leonardo is one of them.
Let’s not beat around the bush… we haven’t seen the best of Mark Arcobello in the playoffs so far. But he’s that kind of a player who’s always in the right place at the right time. He’s that kind of a player who can make the difference at the key moments. Like in a final, just to say…
WHY BERN WILL WIN THE TITLE
Because they’re the most experienced side. Bern’s winning mindset can seriously scare all the opponents. Moreover, Kari Jalonen’s troops spirits are soaring because of the way they made it to the final. They proved to have some real character both against Genève Servette and Bienne. Tiredness? Come on… you don’t feel tiredness during playoffs. The Bears will lift the trophy!
THE ROAD TO THE FINAL…
EV Zug vs HC Lugano 4-0
EV Zug vs Lausanne HC 4-1
Zug got rid of Lugano and Lausanne with reasonable ease. Both Bianconeri and Lions Vaudois could do nothing to stop the Bulls coached by Dan Tangnes. For what we’ve seen so far in the playoffs, the Bulls are the ones who play the best hockey.
System of play
Zug have been impressive during playoffs so far. The Bulls put the greatest hockey on display, in every way. Dan Tangnes’ troops are rock solid in defense, they’re highly organized and also unpredictable in the offensive zone. We mean, they gave Lugano and Lausanne huns hell…
Both against Lausanne and Lugano, Zug were relentless during power-play situations. The Bulls are able to enter the offensive zone easily, they move the puck around very well and are accurate when they shot.
Enthusiasm and self-confidence
There is enthusiasm in Zug and the team is self-confident… there is the feeling that this can finally be THE season that puts to an end a 20 years wait to become Swiss Champions. Moreover, the team probably feels an extreme craving for revenge after the 2017 final lost right against Bern. Enthusiasm and self-confidence are two the factors that can do wonders during a playoffs final!
Lack of experience
During playoffs, and even more so during a final, experience and winning mindset play a crucial role. And let’s face it, in this regard Zug are less experienced than Bern. It’s certainly no accident that only 4 teams won the title in the last 20 seasons. And it’s certainly no accident that Zug are not among these 4 teams… the Bulls, way too often went only so close and yet so far from winning a title.
Lack of pace
Zug played last game one week ago and this can be a problem. Initially, it’s likely that Bern will be more in playoffs mode… and Zug’s lack of pace could become an advantage for the Bears. The thing is, that if Bern can have the momentum on their side, it’s gonna be difficult for the Bulls to chase them.
Zug are assessed way too many penalties… some unnecessary ones. Bern are good during power-play situations, therefore the Bulls must avoid meaningless fouls. The Bulls have been assessed 48 minor penalties in 9 games… by way of comparison, Bern have been assessed only 37 in 13 games.
Garrett Roe is having some terrific playoffs. In our humble opinion, and for what we’ve seen so far, he’s the 2019 playoffs MVP. The American forward is a scoring machine and brings in a lot of energy. He’s an impressive player!
Each team who wants to win the title, must have a great goalie in a good shape. Frankly speaking, we’ve seen the best of Tobias Stephan only at times during the playoffs so far… but he improved during the last games against Lausanne and this is something that bodes well. Because Tobias will play a crucial role for Zug.
Oftentimes, during a final there can be “unexpected” heroes… if we have to name an unexpected heroe, we bet on Sven Leuenberger. The 20 years old forward of the Bulls is playing the first playoffs of his career and he’s doing great. He could already help the club to write history!
WHY ZUG WILL WIN THE TITLE
Because it’s time… Zug are ready to win after an over 20 years wait. Moreover, in our opinion, the Swiss Cup win was a godsend in order to build a winning mindset. Dan Tangnes’ is turning out to be an exceptional coach and, even though he’s relatively unexperienced, he can help Zug become Swiss Champions for the first time after 1998. Yes, Zug will be the Swiss Champions of 2019!
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Let’s have a look now at some head to head stats related to the four games of the season when the two teams faced each other.
GOALS FOR & GOALS AGAINST
Zug scored one goal more than Bern during the Regular Season head to head. It’s interesting to note, moreover, that the Bulls scored most of their goals during the 2nd and 3rd periods of play. The Bears for their part, had a peak of goals scored during the early stages and the latest stages of the games.
SHOTS & SHOTS AGAINST
Overall, Zug shot slightly more than Bern. What’s interesting, however, is to have a look at the chart of the shots distribution per period of play… As a trend, Zug shot much more during the first half of the games while Bern shot much more as the games went on.
SCORING & SAVING PERCENTAGE
The Bulls had a slightly higher scoring percentage compared to Bern. When it comes to saving percentages instead, both goalies delivered good performances.
POWER-PLAY & PENALTY-KILLING
Both Bern and Zug proved excellent during power-play situations during the playoffs. During the Regular Season’s head to head instead, the Bulls were much more effective than the Bears. This could turn out to be a key factor.
READY… STEADY… GO!
Well, we are ready. What about you guys?! Bern and Zug will gift us hockey passionate with some exciting period. The players will do nothing else than playing hockey, training, eating and sleeping! The time has come for that series everyone wants to play… the FINAL! Maybe, frankly speaking, it would be better if the final started on Saturday… but it doesn’t really matter. Everything’s ready. On the one hand, the experienced Bern. On the other one Zug, the best team we’ve seen in the playoffs this season. Bears vs Bulls… who will win the title?
Good luck, Bears and Bulls!