6th week – 14.10.2019 – 20.10.2019
Only six teams out of twelve played two games this week because of the Champions Hockey League and the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup. Therefore, this will be a sort of non-exhaustive “top & flop”… anyway, our choice for the team on fire of the week fell on one of the two teams that played and won both games played during the last seven days. Well, without further ado…
Let’s see our Top & Flop of the week!
THE TEAM “ON FIRE”
The ZSC Lions won two games out of two this last week. Firstly they earned a 5-4 crazy overtime win against Langnau at the Hallenstadion and then earned a convincing 4-2 win against Fribourg Gottéron on the road.
The latest results allowed the Lions to be currently at the top of the National League table. Deservedly so!
There is no denying that the lions of the Limmat have an impressive potential on paper. And there is also no denying that compared to last season they’ improved a lot. Then again, we think it’s also safe to say that not everything is working perfectly yet… especially in terms of consistency over-the-arc of the 60 minutes and in terms of distractions in the defensive zone. Having said that, however, in our opinion the ZSC Lions are currently the most exciting side of the league!
Rikard Grönborg’s guys are playing a very enjoyable, modern and fast hockey. They’re showing some real character that, oftentimes, allows them to make the difference as the games go on and at the key moments of the games. Last but not least, they seem to be in an excellent physical condition. All these factors, among other things, are helping a lot when it comes to build self-confidence. We mean, the players are seriously giving their fans some reason to be proud of!
This last week, moreover, the ZSC Lions proved capable of winning games in different ways.
Firstly they darn struggled against a lively Langnau on Tuesday night. We mean, it’s likely that last season Zürich would have lost a game like the one of Tuesday night. Then, on Friday night they went to win in Fribourg in style. They outplayed the hosts during the first part of the game and then – thanks to the self-confidence – they didn’t panic when the Dragons made it a brand new game at about half of the central period. And to finish them off, they got off to a brillant start of the last third.
Let us not forget, morever, that the new additions are already making the difference, and that several top class players – just like Bodenmann, Noreau, Hollenstein and Pius Suter just to name few… – look literally reborn compared to 12 months ago.
What about coach Rikard Grönborg finally? We had doubs about him on the eve of this season, even if only because he hadn’t been coaching a club team since 2005… and instead, we think that him – together with his staff – underlie the rebirth of the Lions.
A rebirth that allows them to be at the top of the table. And in the future who knows… there is still a very long way to go, but one thing is sure right now: the ZSC Lions are on fire, they play in our opinion the best hockey in the National League and… they are roaring.
Keep it up!
THE THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
Jeff Tomlinson (Coach, SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers)
Rapperswil are by now only the former Cinderella of the league and never cease to amaze. This last week firstly they delivered a very good performance against Lugano that, however, wasn’t enough in order to avoid a painful “last gasp” overtime home defeat. Then, they went to win against Zug on the road like it hadn’t happen in 10 years.
Guys, if there is someone saying that Rapperswil are playing an attractive hockey… well, they’re evading the truth. Yet, it’s safe to say that Rappi play a solid hockey, that they can counterattack very fast and that they make the opponents struggle to play well.
For example, it would be unthinkable for Rappi – also in light of what happened last season – to outplay Zug at the Bossard Arena. But if we look at the team’s characterisitcs, we think that the Lakers are doing a terrific job. Surely Jeff Tomlinson deserves big credit for that. Perhaps his guys don’t play “champagne hockey”, but the coach is proving very smart and is making his team a tough nut to crack.
In fact, all the players of Rapperswil give their contribution based on their skills. Therefore, symbolically, we reward the coach!
Alessio Bertaggia (HC Lugano)
When it comes to players who bring in a lot of energy to the games… well, Alessio Bertaggia is second to no one. But really, to no one. Alessio always gives 200% and is one of that kind of a player who really plays for the name written in front of the jersey.
All this made him a guy very appreciated by the club, that just extended his contract, and by the fans. It’s likely that Alessio Bertaggia will never finish the season as the leading scorer of the team… but he’s one of those guys that every team needs in order to have success.
Having said that, Alessio Bertaggia brought in a lot of energy also this last week. Moreover, in Bern – right on the day of the announcement of his contract extension – he even scored two goals. Including the second one, a fantastic coast-to-coast, that was pure beauty!
We’re always convinced that the Lugano’s forward can score approximately 15 goals per season. Oftentimes, however, it looks like he runs out of energy at the moment of shooting. Oftentimes but not this season, as we all could see also in Bern where he played a crucial role for the team.
Mattias Tedenby (HC Davos)
Davos are a nice surprise. On Tuesday night in Fribourg they didn’t shine, right… and suffered a 4-2 defeat. But on Friday night against Bienne, on the occasion of the home debut this season, they delivered a great performance and earned a well-deserved 5-2 win against the league leaders Bienne.
The Ibexes now coached by Christian Wohlwend are pure energy. The players are extremely committed and gift their fans with a modern, fast and spectacular hockey.
So… energy, modern hockey, speed… all this applies also to Mattias Tedenby!
The Swedish forward, new import of Davos, is doing great and he is one of that kind of a player whose plays are, at times, literally showstopper.
On Tuesday night in Fribourg he did quite ok and he scored a goal. On Friday night against Bienne then, he drove the Seeländers nuts and scored another goal. We mean, frankly speaking, right now Mattias Tedenby is the perfect image of Davos… a team that wants to continue to impress!
THE SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR…
The points were only the icing on the cake… Daniel Winnik (Genève Servette HC)
Genève Servette earned a 2-1 home win against Lausanne on Friday night. Patrick Emond’s troops put an out of the ordinary team spirit on display for the umpteenth time this season! Without forgetting that Robert Mayer delivered a fantastic performance and only Christoph Bertschy at the last gasp prevented him from earning what would have been a well-deserved shutout.
Then, there was Daniel Winnik… who scored 1 goal and 1 assist. Yet, the points were “only” the icing on the cake. Because, other than the points scored, Daniel Winnik delivered an outstanding performance to say the least!
The curious case of… Noël Bader (SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers)
Noël Bader was between the pipes on Friday night in Zug as he replaced Melvin Nyffeler. Nothing extraordinary, considering that he’s the back up goalie of Rapperswil.
Noël Bader delivered an excellent performance and played a key role for the wins of the Lakers. Again, nothing extraordinary. The 23 years old goalie is talented and even represented Switzerland up to the U18 level, after all.
Noël Bader is a product of Zug, where he stayed from 2012 until 2018 playing for the U17, the U20 and for the EVZ Academy. Again, nothing extraordinary. Nowadays, players change teams very often.
Then again… during the last two seasons, Noël Bader, other than being the back up goalie of Rapperswil, even played 6 games – including 2 this season – on loan at the EVZ Academy.
We mean… the curious case of Noël Bader 🙂
Bern played only one National League game this last week and lost it against Lugano. The worst thing is, however, that the Bears probably delivered one of their worst performances of the recent years. Surely the worst one of this season.
Now, credit is where credit is due. That is, Lugano delivered an excellent performance that prevented Kari Jalonen’s guys from playing some good hockey.
But, having said that, it was there for everyone to see that Bern never reacted if not during the third period when the fans were already disappointed. That reaction during the last third was probably the sense of pride of the Swiss Champions… yet, there is no denying that currently the Bears darn struggle to be effective and far from being at the top of their game.
We never like to exaggerate… you know that. But we think it’s safe to say that, in terms of performances, Bern hit a new low. And that’s probably the “best” thing… right, because when you hit a new low, you can just improve. And when it comes to Bern, the best team since years, it’s likely that sooner or later – the fans hope sooner… – things will improve and will get much better.
At that point, the opponents should start to be scared. Because it’s true that right now the Bear is wounded… but we all now that a wounded Bear can be very dangerous. So, who knows, it’s possible that as the season goes on, this negative spell will help the team to become more determined and hungrier than ever.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see them turn from flop to top… up and at them, Bears!