4th week – 30.09.2019 – 06.10.2019
It’s been almost a month since the 2019-20 National League started… time is flying! And to say, in summer – when you eagerly await the first puck drop of the season – time passes so slowly. Anyway, during these first few weeks, teams are adjusting themselves but, little by little, by now the real values start to come to light. We mean, evaluations on teams and players become more and more reliable. Even though, as usual, the final judgment will come only next spring. Luckily though, there are still so many weeks of hockey to play… and also this last week gifted us with many emotions as usual.
Let’s see our Top & Flop of the week!
THE TEAM “ON FIRE”
What a nice Lugano! At least at times… the fact is that the Bianconeri, now coached by Sami Kapanen, earned more points (7) than any other team of the league thanks to two wins and a shootout loss. These results mean that Lugano earned at least a point in the last 7 games, which is great for this team that surely isn’t perfect yet… but that already proved capable of having a good season.
The results and the current table position say so. But, most and above all, the performances say so!
Lugano are able, at least at times, to play a very enjoyable, spectacular and solid hockey. Sami Kapanen (and Stefan Nyman) guys look almost “on fire” especially during the first part of the games.
Let’s take the derby played on Tuesday night for instance… Lugano got off to a great start, then were able not to panic when under pressure and finally handled the situation very well. Let’s take then the game played against the current league leaders Zürich on Friday night… Lugano got off to a very good start, then were able not to panic when under pressure, and finally made the difference at the key moments of the game.
Things turned out slightly different in Langnau on Saturday night though. After a great start, the Bianconeri struggled against Langnau who were desperately in need of points… Finally though, the point earned at the Ilfishalle is nothing to sneeze at.
If there is something Sami Kapanen’s guys still lack of it’s consistency. Especially over the arc of the 60 minutes of play. That’s understandable though, considering the clean break with the past when it comes to system of play… moreover, the physical condition will improve over time and that problem should be solved.
And then, the Bianconeri can seriously become an awesome team!
This last National League’s week hinted that the Bianconeri are serious and have a good future. It hinted that Lugano have room for improvement but also that Lugano have some real good will. And that who knows, Lugano might even have a memorable season.
We mean, what a nice Lugano!
Now, it’s way too early to draw any conclusion. But if it’s true that “well begun is half done”… this beginning says that this team is very – but very – much alive!
THE THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
Christian Wohlwend (Coach, HC Davos)
Davos played only two games this last week and won both of them. The Ibexes have been involved in two very different games… firstly they earned a 1-0 overtime win in Langnau and then a 6-5 win in Genève. We mean, the two games were as different as night and day.
At the Ilfis, Christian Wohlwend’s troops stood up – in terms of organization and discipline – to Langnau coached by Heinz Ehlers… that’s not nothing! At Les Vernets instead, the guys coached by the former Swiss U20 head coach put a very modern and fast hockey on display.
These results meant that Davos won the last three games narrow and that overall won 4 of their last 5 games. All of them away from home, waiting for the end of works at the Vaillant Arena.
What a great results, anyway. It’s a whole different story compared to last season. We’re pretty sure that Christian Wohlwend and his staff deserve big credit for this. Therefore, Christian in one of our three stars of the week!
Harri Pesonen (SCL Tigers)
Langnau had a week made of ups and downs in terms of results. Firstly they suffered two overtime defeats against Davos (1-0) and Bern (4-3) but then finally were able to earn a 4-3 comeback shootout win against Lugano.
Harri Pesonen stood out during the last two games of the week!
The 31 years old Finn is pure energy, he’s pure talent and class. Moreover, he’s a great leader! In Bern he scored twice during the third period and that ensured Langnau to earn at least a point. At the Ilfishalle against Lugano on the other hand, he stepped up to the plate… he made the difference at the key moments of the game and finally he was the only player able to score during the shootout series.
We recall again that, on the eve of last season, the fans in the Emmental didn’t open bottles of champagne when the club announced his arrival… yet, it took Harry no time to change the fans’ mind. And now, he’s a hero in Langnau!
Daniel Manzato (HC Ambrì-Piotta)
Ambrì-Piotta’s week wasn’t particularly good in terms of results. The Leventinesi in fact, suffered two defeats against Lugano and Lausanne and won only the game against Fribourg Gottéron. Also during the two games lost, however, Ambrì-Piotta – who underperformed only against Lugano – were in the game until the end and Daniel Manzato deserves big credit for that.
The 35 years old goalie was at the top of his game against Lugano and prevented the “cousins” from sealing the three points early. Then, he wasn’t very busy during the first part of the game against Gottéron… but finally made several saves in the end that allowed him to earn a well-deserved shutout. Finally, in Lausanne, he was once again at the top of his game and made some brillant saves.
We mean, soon Benjamin Conz will return… meanwhile though, Daniel Manzato’s performances allow Luca Cereda to sleep soundly. In the future this season then, the Leventinesi will be able to rely on two excellent goalies!
THE SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR…
That’s enough… Taylor Chorney (HC Lugano)
Lugano are doing well and many players’ individual performances are good. The goalie Sandro Zurkirchen is improving game by game. Many players who underperformed last season look reborn. And then there is Taylor Chorney…
The latter is still criticized by many fans and we seriously don’t understand why.
The 32 years old defenseman’s performances aren’t surely totally error-free (who doesn’t make mistakes though, seriously?!), but they are great overall. Moreover, his consistency over the 60 minutes of play is impressive.
Keep it up, Taylor!
A precious gem… Livio Langenegger (EV Zug)
On the eve of this season we tried to find out a “potential surprise” for each one of the 12 National League clubs… when it was time for Zug, we said that the potential surprise would be “one of the guys coming from the EVZ Academy”.
And a young man already impressed us, we’re talking about Livio Langenegger. The latter made his NL debut on Tuesday night when the Bulls hosted Genève Servette. Dan Tangnes gave him confidence and gave him more than 12 minutes of TOI… and Livio responded very well!
He didn’t score points, but actually a goal would have been the right reward for that terrific performance.
Livio then played less on Saturday night against Bienne. Yet, we’ll see more of him in the days to come. Because he’s a real precious gem! Will other precious gem coming from the EVZ Academy show off themselves later this season? We wouldn’t be surprised about that.
When you say “show the face”… Christian Dubé (SD, HC Fribourg Gottéron)
After a long agony, and after the defeat suffered on Friday night against Ambrì-Piotta, Fribourg Gottéron – who were just too ugly to be true – decided that Mark French wasn’t the right man in the right place anymore.
It’s always painful when a coach is fired, but it’s likely that in this case there was no other option to save the season. Because the Dragons are ambitious and, on paper, they have the potential to do well. At least on the short term.
Oftentimes, the SD is held responsible when the results are negative. And at times, there are people saying that SD don’t “show their face” enough. Well, Christian Dubé instead, seriously showed his face. On Saturday night, he was on the bench as the assistant of Pavel Rosa to coach the team that – thanks to a good performance – earned a 4-1 against Rapperswil!
The incarnation of spirit of sacrifice… Daniel Vukovic (SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers)
Daniel Vukovic is one of the reasons why Rappi, despite the last defeat suffered in Fribourg, got off to a great start of the season. Daniel, as largely predictable, is doing very well. He’s rock solid and brought experience in the roster at Jeff Tomlinson’s disposal.
It’s quite rare that the former Genève Servette defenseman makes it into the scoresheet. Instead, it’s not unusual to see him fight hard and to take one for the team. Even when it comes to block shots.
In fact this last week, he blocked 12 shots in two games. We mean, when you say “the incarnation of spirit of sacrifice”…
GENÈVE SERVETTE HC
When it comes to performances, it was difficult to name a disappointment this time. When it comes to results instead, there is no denying that the Eagles are coming off a negative week during which they lost three games out of three.
Firstly, there was no deal to make for Patrick Emond’s troops in Zug where they suffered a 5-1 defeat. Then, they delivered arguably the most “offensive minded” performance of the season in Rapperswil… but they lost 2-0. Finally, they put their usual “team spirit” on display against Davos, but that wasn’t enough to avoid a “crazy” 6-5 home defeat.
Now, Genève Servette are coming off 4 consecutive defeats that followed the 5-games winning run. That means that the Eagles moved from the top of the table to the current third place but with more games played compared to most of the other teams.
We mean, do you think that the Eagles great start of the season was only a flash in the pan? We don’t think so. Perhaps Genève Servette are not a team who can fight for the first position… but for sure they have all it takes to make the playoffs.
This last week, however, everything went south while previously everything went right. It’s as simple as that. Let us not forget, moreover – we think about Saturday’s home game against Davos – that the schedule isn’t helping. Suffice it to say that the Eagles played on Friday night in Rapperswil and then the following night they hosted Davos, Davos who’d played their last game on Tuesday…
Anyway, now it’s time to fly again in terms of results. Up next for Genève Servette: Langnau at home on Friday night and Bienne away on Saturday night.
Up and at them, Eagles!