Last season Rapperswil were able to make life difficult for their opponents only on rare occasions. In fact, they were somehow the National League sacrificial lamb. Now, well, forget about that little lambkin because this season, Jeff Tomlinson’s troops are seriously a tough nut to crack!
They got off to a brilliant start of the season, and they earned results that even exceeded expectations. Then, they had some inevitable ups and downs. Overall though, we think that the former newly promoted side is very happy about how things are going this season.
So, let’s see what is already working and instead what, in our opinion, didn’t work.
10 home games, 6 wins. 1.60 points earned on average. Yep, Rapperswil – in relation to their seasonal target – have a very good home record! Lately, things have gotten little bit worse and Jeff Tomlinson’s troops won only 1 of their last 4 games played at the St. Galler Kantonalbank Arena. Overall, however, the home record is a strength for this team that won 5 of their first 6 home games of the season.
Rapperswil are quite effective during power-play opportunities, much more effective compared to last season. Their rate of effectiveness is 20.97% which is much better than the 15.88% of last season. Rappi aren’t always able to move the puck around smoothly, but one way or another they can put the puck in the net quite often and that’s all that matters. In this regard, the import players – who even scored more than 50% of the goals of the team! – are making the difference.
Four overtime wins… memorable comeback like the one against Bern and Bienne… a lot of goals scored during the last 10 minutes of play… all this is synonym with a good physical condition and, most and above all, with real character. Jeff Tomlinson’s troops are very committed, they never give up and that’s something the fans love!
The system of play
Let’s face is, oftentimes Rapperswil’s system of play is not very catchy. Nevertheless, it’s effective, very effective. In fact, Rappi can make their opponents underperform. We mean, their hockey might not be very attractive, but considering that the Lakers are – on paper – the weakest side of the league… well, that’s the only way to achieve results. And we all know that good results build up self-confidence, what is the key to have a good season.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Rapperswil have a very good home record but they also have a very poor away record. Rappi earned only 5 points in 9 away games, that’s not good enough. In fact, they have the worst away record of the National League. If they want to make the playoffs, the away record must improve as soon as possible.
Rapperswil got off to a brilliant start of the season in terms of solid defensive play. Then, however, things got worse. The Lakers in fact, have been conceding way too many goals lately and, most and above all, they’ve been conceding way too many clear scoring chances to their opponents. Let us not forget, moreover, that Melvin Nyffeler – after the brilliant performances delivered earlier this season – doesn’t seem to be at the top of his game right now. We mean, when it comes to defensive play, the team can improve.
Early stages of the games
Way too often, Rapperswil look inexplicably not focused during the early stages of the games. And way too often they’re forced to chase their opponents. This is a problem, it’s as simple as that. Because it leads to a waste of physical and mental energies. So many times, Rappi were able to comeback from desperate situations, but it’s crucial to do better during the early stages of the game.
Defensemen’s offensive play
The defensemen of Rapperswil scored only 13.3% of the total goals of the team. It’s true that Rappi don’t have many offensive defensemen, but it’s safe to expect some more goals from defensemen. In fact, only the defensemen of Zug and Ambrì-Piotta scored less goals than the ones of Rappi.
THE THREE STARS
We all knew that Dominik Egli has got talent. Not many, however, thought that he could suddenly blossom this season! In fact, Dominik Egli is the nicest surprise of the season, not only when it comes to Rapperswil but also when it comes to the whole National League. He’s not afraid of taking responsibilities, and this fact leads him to make some mistakes at times. Yet, he’s showing off a great personality and he’s already became a very coveted player.
All the imports of Rappi – perhaps except from Danny Kristo who’s not yet at the top of his game – are doing a great job. We want, however, to reward Casey Wellmann who scored at least 1 point in 9 of the 13 games he played. Casey can make the difference, especially when he’s lined up with Nico Dünner. Moreover, he’s lethal during power-play opportunities.
Daniel Vukovic is the perfect image of the determination and the commitment of Rapperswil. And, even if he has some ups and downs, he delivers excellent defensive performances. Daniel, moreover, is also the perfect image of how the club worked well in order to reinforce the team in terms of experience. The former Eagle never slacks off when it comes to block a shot or to take responsibility. Then again, if you’re looking for an offensive defenseman who’s able to gift the fans with moments of magic hockey, you better look elsewhere. But if you are looking for a rock-solid, very determined defensive defenseman, Daniel Vukovic is your guy!
THE SPECIAL MENTION
Roman Cervenka played only 6 games – during which he tallied 9 points! – and then unfortunately got injured. The few games he played, however, were enough for him to earn the nickname “Mr. Overtime” thanks to the fact that he scored three overtime goals in three consecutive games!
Goals For & Goals Against
Considering that teams have a different number of games played, we took into consideration the average of goals scored and goals conceded.
When it comes to Rapperswil, all the figures should be compared to the ones of last season and not only with the figures of the other teams of the National League. Therefore, we think it’s safe to say that Rappi are doing well in terms of goals scored and, partially, in terms of goals conceded.
Goals For & Goals Against each 10’
This chart shows you very well that Rapperswil darn struggle during the early stages of the games and concede way too many goals overall during the first two periods of play. At the same time, this chart shows that the Lakers improve a lot during the final thirds. On the one hand, it’s clear that the players show some real character and a good physical condition. On the other one, however, there is no denying that some better start would be helpful.
Shots & Shots Against
Considering that teams have a different number of games played, we took into consideration the average of shots and shots faced.
Rapperswil don’t shot a lot but meanwhile don’t have to face too many shots either. Overall, when it comes to shots on goal, we think it’s safe to say that Rappi are not dominated.
Let’s see now how dangerous their shots are.
Shots & Shots Against from the Slot – Percentage
Rapperswil take 43.1% of their shots from the slot, what is very encouraging and it’s a very good figure. On the other hand, it’s worrying that other teams can take so many shots from the slot when they face Rappi.
Scoring & Saving %
Rapperswil’s scoring percentage is decent, better than the one of last season which was 6.9%. Then again, there is room for improvement.
The saving percentage of the goalies instead is good enough but can also improve. One thing is sure though, as much as the saving percentage can improve, the goalies aren’t a problem for Rappi.
PP % – PK %
We had the chance to talk already about Rappi’s power-play efficiency earlier, which is good as evidenced by the fact that the success rate is above 20%. We didn’t talk, however, about the penalty killing… well, what can we say? No fireworks, but the 80.7 percentage figure suggests that the Lakers are good penalty killers.
Let’s see, who are the three best scorers to date.
Currently, Kevin Clark is the Top Scorer of the team. The latter might not always be at the top of his game, but he’s capable of scoring points and gifting the fans with some showstopper plays. Dominik Egli is second placed and we talked already about him. Same goes for Casey Wellman, mentioned before among the three stars.
8th – 12th place
Allright guys, there is no point in beating round the bush. It will be difficult for Rapperswil to make the playoffs. But it’s not impossible. Everything is possible in life and in ice hockey. Moreover, Rappi are seriously making their fans proud thanks to performances that are overall very solid.
It’s likely that the Lakers will have some ups and downs from now until the end of the regular season. But Rapperswil have a great “advantage” compared to their opponents: they aren’t under pressure. We mean, if Jeff Tomlinson’s troops are still in the running for a place in the top 8 during the latest stages of the regular season, the fact that they are not “forced” to make the playoffs can turn out to be a trump card.
We mean, Rappi must keep their feet on the ground and keep up the hard work. It may not be enough to make it to the post-season. Then again, why not to believe to achieve something great?
Good luck Rappi!