SC BERN – Analysis of the 2018-19 season
Bern were the number one favourites to win the title and they won it. Put it like that, one can think that the 2018-19 season was only routine for the Mutzen. The truth is, however, that it’s always difficult to win. And paradoxically, it’s even more difficult to win when you’re the number one favourite.
That’s because, when you’re the favourite, any result that is not the title is judged as a failure. That’s because, when you’re the favourite, there are 11 other teams out there who are ready to kill you even if only to prove the predictions wrong.
And then, congratulations to Bern who were able to win a third title in four years!
What the Mutzen are doing is impressive. There are several NLA teams who want to win the title every year. But they all have ups and downs in terms of results. The Mutzen instead, have no ups and downs. They’re always up there. If we take the last 10 seasons into consideration, we discover that – if we exclude the 2013-14 season when Bern missed the playoffs – the Mutzen’s results are… one time eliminated at the quarterfinals stage, three times eliminated at the semifinals stage, and SIX times they reached the final! And five times they won the title.
These are remarkable figures!
Then sure, we cannot hide from you the fact that we weren’t the biggest fans of Bern’s system of play this season. With all due respect, we think that Kari Jalonen’s troops looked way too many times like a perfect machine… an emotionless perfect machine… but whoever wins is always right. And about the system of play, that’s only our humble personal opinion, after all.
At the same time, there is no denying that Kari Jalonen is a winner. A coach who knows what winning really means. A coach that, at the end of Game-5 of the final, finally became emotional and let himself go. We mean, he’s human now 🙂
THE REGULAR SEASON
Bern started their season with a 2-1 away overtime win earned in Zürich and finished it with a 4-2 away defeat suffered in Lugano. In between, however, the Bears were outstanding. They basically spent the whole season at the top two positions! Kari Jalonen’s troops never really had a really long winning run – maximum six consecutive wins – but at the same time they never lost more than two consecutive games. This is synonym with an impressive consistency.
SC Bern – Genève Servette HC 4-2
SC Bern – EHC Biel-Bienne 4-3
SC Bern – EV Zug 4-1
Firstly, a literally crazy quarterfinal series against Genève Servette. Then, a semifinal against Bienne that was some sort of a preview of the final. A series during which Bern were literally up against the wall on the eve of Game-6 played at the Tissot Arena. And finally, a “walk in the park” in the final against Zug… the final was intense and Zug sold their lives dearly, but the Mutzen were merciless. Overall, Kari Jalonen’s troops improved as the playoffs went on and finally deservedly won the title!
Let’s see few things that in our opinion worked well and few things that didn’t work at all.
Bern finished the Regular Season at the top of the table, then went all the way and won the third title in four years. As they say in Formula 1… win, pole position and fastest lap! Bern’s results were impressive. The Mutzen were the number one favourite for the title and won it. Pradoxically, that was the most difficult thing to do. It’s never easy to win, for anyone! We almost have the impression that way too many people consider this 2019 title as normal “routine”… but we think it’s totally wrong to see it like that!
During playoffs, Kari Jalonen’s guys put an above average character on display and the coach was proud of his players. Rightly so. The Mutzen were able to earn a couple of epics overtime wins against Genève Servette… once, even after 117 minutes and 43 seconds of play. They always got back up against Bienne, even when they were literally up against the wall. Finally, they reacted immediately after the defeat suffered in Game-1 against Zug in the final… they won Game-2 and therefore started their fantastic ride that led to the title. Well, when it comes to character, Bern were second to no one.
A wall in front of the net. A rock solid defense. Four quality offensive lines. On paper, Bern’s roster is the deepest of the National League. We don’t even need to name names… More or less, we all know the players of Bern. Each player was assigned a precise role and he did his job perfectly. The credit for this goes to the club, who’s working perfectly, think ahead and think big!
Bern spend money, right… but there is something you can’t buy at the market. It’s something that, however, makes the difference more than technical skills at the key moments of the season. We’re talking about winning mindset! The Mutzen have a remarkable winning mindset that allows them to get back up when they’re down… that allows them to scare the opponents already before a game starts.. an impressive winning mindset!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Let’s try to find something that didn’t work also when it comes to the Swiss Champions…
Frankly speaking, this is not something that didn’t work… but rather our personal opinion. This is a personal blog, after all. We never concealed the fact from you that we’re not the greatest admirers of Bern’s system of play. At times, we had the impression that the Mutzen were an emotionless perfect machine. We also think, however, that we are not the only one that feels that way. Suffice it to have a look at the attendances recorded at the PostFinance Arena. Then again, those are just minor details.
Especially during the Regular Season, Bern weren’t top of their class when it came to power-play. Their percentage of efficiency was even decent, yet oftentimes Jalonen’s troops struggled to move the puck around smoothly in the offensive zone during power-play situations. Things didn’t change much during the playoffs in this regard… even though, the great character and the players’ qualities allowed the Mutzen to be much more effective.
Playoffs’ home record
Bern had the best home record of the league at the end of the Regular Season and won the title at the PostFinance Arena… during playoffs, however, the truth is that the Mutzen won “only” 5 of their 10 home games. Frankly speaking, Bern could have won the title even in an easier way if only they had had a better home record during playoffs. Then once again, also those are just minor details.
THE 3 STARS OF THE SEASON
Leonardo Genoni won his fifth title, the second one with Bern. Even only this says it all. Leonardo is an impressive goalie… perhaps he’s not always at the top of his game during the Regular Season, but then when playoffs start he turns into a wall in front of the net. His calmness and quality give the whole team huge self-confidence. He’s a goalie who can seriously help the team win a title. He’s top class!
It’s likely that the fans of 11 teams of out 12 “hate” Tristan Scherwey… that’s because people fear him a lot. Tristan brings in a lot of energy, especially during playoffs. Moreover, he’s got talent too and he’s able to make it into the scoresheet at the key moments of the season. Tristan is very precious for Bern – forward-looking club – and Bern extended his contract until the end of the 2026-27 season!
At times, Mark Arcobello may seem rather “apathetic”. But the truth is that he always does the right thing, both in the offensive zone and in the defensive zone. Moreover, Mark is always in the right place at the right time. He tallies an impressive amount of points and he’s that kind of a player every coach wants to have on his team.
André Heim, former Captain of Bern’s U17 and U20, played his first full National League season. He improved game to game and finally played a key role during the playoffs! This guy is only 20 years old and has a brillant career ahead of him… not for nothing, Bern have him under contract until the end of the 2020-21 season. This is what you call foresight!
THE SPECIAL MENTION
All the others
Gaëtan Haas… pure class, a player who definitively entered the top class players dimension. Simon Moser… a real Captian, a fantastic player who’s been playing steadily at the top of his game since years. Yannik Burren… a young guy who improves each passing minute and whom we personally like a lot. Daniele Grassi… a little bit off his game during the Regular Season but then outstanding during playoffs when he played a key role until he got injured. Ramon Untersander… unlucky, he missed basically the whole Regular Season but he came back in style for the playoffs during which he played a key role. And we could continue. Each single player of Bern deserves a special mention! Kari Jalonen too, of course!
THE SEASON IN NUMBERS – THE STATS
GOALS FOR & GOALS AGAINST
Bern had the 4th offensive record and the best defensive record – only team with less than 100 goals conceded – during the Regular Season. During playoffs then, the ratio “Goals For and Goals Against” worsened a little. It’s interesting, however, to have a look at the goals’ distribution chart… the Bears tended to “destroy” their opponents during the first two periods of play. Then though, they even had a peak of goals scored during the last 10 minutes of play. The latter factor is symptom with real character and excellent physical condition.
SHOTS & SHOTS AGAINST
Bern had an excellent ratio “Shots For – Shots Against” during the Regular Season but then the same ratio was negative during playoffs. It’s interesting to note that the Bears tended to shot more during central periods. Moreover, it’s also interesting to note that during playoffs Bern faced a lot of shots during the first and third period.
SCORING & SAVING PERCENTAGE
When it comes to scoring percentage, it was excellent during the Regular Season and only decent during playoff. It’s important to stess, however, that the Mutzen during the final – namely, when it counted the most – they recorded an impressive 10.3%… when it comes to saving percentage instead, it was outstanding to say the least both during the Regular Season and the playoffs. In this regard, we’d like to stress that also the back up goalie Pascal Caminada deserves credit. Pascal in fact, never disappointed when Kari Jalonen played him.
POWER-PLAY & PENALTY-KILLING
If we look at the power-play’s efficiency percentages… well, they’re that bad. However, Bern were way too predictable and not spectacular during power-play situations. That’s strange, considering the players at Jalonen’s disposal. Then again, when it counted the most – during the final – the Bears were very effective. Kari Jalonen’s troops, moreover, were good penalty killers during the Regular Season and not very effective during the post season.
Bern’s Corsi Index during the Regular Season was very high but then dropped below 50% during playoffs. We think it’s safe to say that during the post season the Mutzen played very smart, regardless of what the Corsi Index figure says.
Bern are Swiss Champions again after a year of break. They won three of the last four titles… these are some crazy figures!
And, starting from September, another fantastic ride will start.
Bern always play to win and oftentimes win. Next season the Bears will have to do without Leonardo Genoni though, who’s transferring to Zug… Niklas Schlegel, former Zürich, will replace him. Will Niklas follow up on Leonardo Genoni and Marco Bührer’s great performances? This is arguably the biggest unknown in view of next season.
But once again… those are just minor details.
Bern have a solid structure. The club will continue to do a strong job like it’s been doing over the years. The players have a winning mindset that, alone, scares the opponents. We mean, the Mutzen will be among the main favourites again!
Right now, however, it’s time to celebrate. A lot! The title was deserved in every way and, as we said previously and as per the title… if we are to paraphrase Formula 1… Win, pole position and fastest lap!
Enjoy your holiday, Mutzen. And congrats, Schweizer Meister 2019!