Oftentimes, when you win a title, the following season is very complicated. Even if only because you have everything to lose. In fact, any result that’s not the win of the title means that you’ve done worse compared to the previous season.
In Bern, however, they should be used to such situations. Yet… Yet, this season got off to the worst possible start. The Bears seem to be in hibernation and darn struggle to wake up. Only at times Kari Jalonen’s troops have been giving signs of life and that’s not enough.
So, let’s see what is already working and instead what, in our opinion, didn’t work.
Oftentimes, Bern underperform. It’s as simple as that. However, scoring goals is not a problem for the Bears. Mind you, we’re not saying that Bern are a lethal scoring machine, but – also thanks to the talent – they’re nevertheless able to score enough goals. We mean, Kari Jalonen’s troops have many problems but surely scoring goals is not one of them.
The team of Bern totally lacks consistency. However, few times, the Bears showed glimpses of being back to their best. Let’s take that last game before the international break against Zug for instance, the Bears were impressive during the first period of play. Let’s take also the games played against Bienne, that were decent. We mean, even if only at times, Jalonen’s guys showed to have some potential.
The Champions Hockey League
Perhaps many people don’t care about the Champions Hockey League. It’s a pity, because we think it’s a fantastic competition. And a competition in which Bern showed the best of themselves! The Bears were able to make it to the Round of 16, despite the fact, that they were drawn in a very tough group. And in fact, we think that Kari Jalonen’s troops delivered their four best performances of the season against Kärpät Oulu and Skelleftea AIK.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
The defensive play is the main problem of Bern. What?! Yep, you got that right. The defensive play is the main problem of Bern. That’s something new, considering that the Bears’ trademark was always the one to be rock-solid. The truth is, however, that currently it’s way too easy for the teams to create clear scoring chances when they play against Kari Jalonen’s troops.
You can’t say that Kari Jalonen’s guys aren’t committed. It would be unfair and ungenerous. Yet, let’s face it, oftentimes Bern seem lethargic, almost emotionless. In recent years, the Bears have been rarely gifting their fans with “champagne hockey”, but they’ve been always solid and determined. There. This season, they’re not even solid and determined.
The PostFinance Arena has always been a fortress where opposition teams have been concerned. This season instead, the Bears darn struggle to do well in front of their fans. Suffice it to say that they won only 5 of the 10 games played at home, including the last two after overtime and shootout. In fact, Bern haven’t earned a “3 points” win at the PostFinance Arena since almost 2 months, and more precisely since September 17th when they won 4-1 against Ambrì-Piotta.
Lack of consistency
At times the Bears look about to get out of the hibernation mode and deliver decent performances, even if only for some part of a game. Then, however, they darn struggle to confirm the progresses in the following game. We mean, Bern darn lack consistency.
THE THREE STARS
Ramon Untersander is perhaps one of the only bright spots this season. Even if only because, in terms of statistics, he’s back at the top of his game. Ramon helped Bern win the title last season but missed basically the whole regular season because of injury. His comeback is good news for all the Swiss hockey passionate.
Guys, Mark Arcobello is the player always in the right place at the right time. He had a period of distraction after that his transfer to Lugano in view of next season had become official, but then he came back to score points consistently. We mean, regardless of the level of the performances, Mark Arcobello continues to do what he can do best: to score and make his teammates score.
Niklas Schlegel is our third star. It’s true that the former ZSC Lions goaltender can improve a lot. But it’s also safe to say that he is not the problem of the Bears. So far, his performances have been oftentimes solid. Replacing Leonardo Genoni was a difficult task, and we’re not even so sure that Bern would have won many more games with Leonardo between the pipes.
THE SPECIAL MENTION
Initially, Inti Pestoni struggles but then finally improved his level of play and it seemed like he was about to blossom for real. At his best moment, however, he got injured and we think that his “story” of this season, is the perfect image of the year the Bears are having.
Statistics are taken from nlicedata.com / leading-sport.com
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.
Bern have no problem when it comes to scoring goals but concede way too many of them. The Bears got their fans used to the fact, that they are rock solid. Currently, however, they concede too many goals and the goalie is not the only one to blame for that.
Goals For & Goals Against each 10’
Bern tend to score more than their opponents only between the 10th and the 20th minute of play. For the rest, this chart seems to show that the Bears have a problem also with the physical condition. In fact, they concede way too many goals during the second part of the second and third periods of play.
Shots & Shots Against
Considering that teams have a different number of games played, we took into consideration the average of shots and shots faced.
Bern take enough shots and don’t have to face too many either. However, it’s very important to analyse the dangerousness of the shots. Therefore…
Let’s see now how dangerous their shots are.
Shots & Shots Against from the Slot – Percentage
When it comes to shots take from the slot overall Bern have the worse figures of the National League. The Bears take only 37.8% of their shots from the most dangerous area of the ice rink, and their opponents against them can take 46.8% of their shots from the most dangerous area. Bern are weak in the “slot” both in the defensive and the offensive zone, and that’s a huge problem.
Scoring & Saving %
Bern’s scoring percentage is decent all in all. Moreover, it’s similar to the one of last season. As we’ve already said, scoring goals is not a problem for the Bears.
The problem is the defensive play and by extension the saving percentage (89.49%) which is the second lower of the National League. Only… Zug (!!!) have a lower saving percentage with 89.36. However, we think that the goalie is not the only one to be blame for that.
PP % – PK %
Let’s face it, Bern aren’t brilliant during power-play opportunities and aren’t the best penalty killers around either.
However, it’s safe to say that the power-play efficiency is decent, as much as the penalty-killing efficiency is not that bad. The figures can improve but, at this moment this is not the main problem of Bern.
Let’s see, who are the three best scorers to date.
Mark Arcobello is the Top Scorer of Bern and we had the chance to talk about him already. Just like we talked already about Ramon Untersander who is currently second placed.
Third placed instead, there is Simon Moser. The latter is one of the most complete forwards around. Simon isn’t yet at the top of his game and there is room for improvement when it comes to the level of his performances. Yet, he can score points regularly and that’s important.
3rd – 9th place
For what we’ve seen so far, Bern are to be considered a serious playout candidate. Oftentimes the Bears underperform, and they seem to play without emotions.
Yet, it would be absurd to underestimate Bern.
The Bears are wounded right now, and we all know that a wounded bear is extremely dangerous. One thing is sure though, Kari Jalonen’s troops haven’t lost the winning mindset, and certainly have all it takes to have a great season.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Bern can make it all the way to another final. Now, however, it’s time to turn things around. Because if things don’t improve fast, the risk is high that the pressure will raise a lot and that would be a huge problem when you play in such a balanced league like the National League.
We mean, currently Bern are to be considered both a title contender and a playout candidate. So, dear Bears, what do you really want to be? We’re pretty sure we now the answer… and so, good luck for the rest of the season!