16th week – 13.01.2020 – 19.01.2020
THE TEAM “ON FIRE”
Lugano seemed to be “brain-dead” few weeks ago. And instead, the Bianconeri are alive. They’re very much alive!
This last week, Lugano firstly earned a 2-0 road win against Genève Servette. It hadn’t happened to them since November 2017 to win at les Vernets. After that, they suffered a home defeat against the “nightmare” Langnau despite a performance that was all in all decent until at least half of the game. Finally, then, they were able to earn a road win against the ZSC Lions at the Hallenstadion. It hadn’t happened to Lugano since February 2015 to win a regular season game on the shores of the Limmat.
Let’s start with the problems. Or rather, with the problem. Lugano struggle to score, they seriously darn struggle to put the puck in the net. Currently, however, this is the only real problem.
Serge Pelletier’s troops in fact, earned 2.14 points on average per game in 2020. No one did better in the National League. And this last week too, they were the best team of the league in terms of points average.
The Bianconeri’s performances aren’t always top notch, but it would be unthinkable otherwise considering the current situation they’re in. Always the performances though, are smart. Pellettier’s guys fight hard, they never panic when they’re under pressure. They’re rock solid also thanks to the two goalies who are at the top of their game. And they’re able to make the difference at the key moments of the games. All this, even though there are several players who are in poor form and in other words this mean that this team has room for improvement. To say, when games are tight and against direct opponents, an individual play of a classy player can make the difference… this isn’t happening right now, but it can happen very soon.
Now, it’s not the time to celebrate or prepare the party for the title. There is still a long way to go. Even only to make the playoffs. And we can’t forget that the negative period of late autumn / early winter is a heavy burden to carry.
At least now, however, under Serge Pelletier, the Bianconeri are gifting themselves with the chance to have a good last part of the season. This was not something self-evident considering how this team looked like back on mid-December.
Lugano are a tough nut to crack again. They’re back to put that “warrior” attitude on display that was a characteristic during the first phase of Greg Ireland’s era. And, whatever the lovers of modern hockey think, it’s not a bad thing. HCL are finally a team that never gives up!
A team, moreover, mentally strong. Capable of bouncing back after the home defeat suffered against Langnau and go a write a piece of history at the Hallenstadion. From such things, you can see that the team is alive. From such things, you can see that the players are united and want to gift their fans with the best possible last part of the season!
Welcome back, Lugano!
THE THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
Ivars Punnenovs (SCL Tigers)
Langnau got off to a poor start of this last week as the suffered a 6-1 road defeat against Zürich. By doing so, they’ve extended their losing streak to 4-games. The Tigers, however, oftentimes wasted glorious chances to win games that apparently had under control. This week instead, firstly against Lugano on the road and then against Zug at the Ilfis, Heinz Ehlers’ troops delivered two excellent performances and therefore reaped the fruits of their hard work.
This was possible thanks to the team spirit. And this was possible thanks to two fantastic performances delivered by Ivars Punnenovs, who is really at the top of his game!
Ivars in an exceptional goalie and his performances are a confidence booster for the whole team. The 25 years old is playing his 7th National League season and during the last 6 he always had excellent figures (over 90% saving percentage). We mean, if he keeps this up, he’s a contender for goalie of the year!
Mark Arcobello (SC Bern)
This last week Bern won two games out of two. Firstly, they earned an overtime win at home against Lausanne and then an overtime road win against Fribourg Gottéron. The two performances delivered weren’t top notch, but right now the Bears “only” need to win games and therefore it’s all right.
When performances aren’t top notch, often you need the top-class player who can make the difference. And so, who better than “always in the right place at the right time” Mark Arcobello?
Fans in Lugano can start to salivate in view of next season. Mark is that kind of a player that maybe at time you don’t notice that much… but then, he turns out to be the crucial player. This last week, in two games, he tallied 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists). Moreover, he was involved in both goals scored by Bern during the two overtime periods. What about that… the Bears will miss him, because it’s very difficult to find a player who can make the difference in almost every game.
Noele Trisconi (HC Ambrì-Piotta)
This last week Ambrì-Piotta suffered a road defeat against Zug but then earned an overtime home win against Bienne. Both at the Bossard Arena and at the Valascia, Luca Cereda’s boys brought in a lot of energy. That energy that earns them most of the time, regardless of the results, a huge round of applauses.
The best image of this “energy” is represented by the performances delivered by Noele Trisconi, who can literally drive the opponents nuts.
With the passing of games, moreover, Noele is turning out to be more and more a very smart player and that makes him a real added value for the team. We mean, the 23 years old forward is becoming a key player for Ambrì-Piotta and not only because of his great will.
Keep it up, Noele!
THE SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR…
Two different stories, an unforgettable night… Isacco Dotti & Sandis Smons
Isacco Dotti and Sandis Smons are having two different careers. Isacco had to fight hard in order to make himself a name in the National League. Sandis for his part, made his National League debut this season.
These two guys, however, have few things in common. They’re both defensemen. They both played – Isacco more, Sandis less – for the Ticino Rockets. And, most and above all, they were both able to score their first National League goal on Saturday night.
Two different stories… but Saturday night – January 18th, 2020 – was unforgettable for both of them!
A perfect birthday party, in every way… SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers
On Friday night, Rapperswil celebrated their 75th birthday. It was a great night with their fans who packed the St. Galler Kantonalbank Arena. Rappi earned a 3-0 home win against the ZSC Lions and therefore could celebrate their anniversary the best possible way.
Each nice party, however, has consequences. The following day in fact, it’s quite common to have a hungover. And it’s exactly what happened to Rapperswil. The Lakers in fact, 24 hours later, suffered a heavy road defeat against Genève Servette.
We mean, it was a real birthday party. In every way. Because guys, what kind of party would it be without a hungover?! 🙂
HC Fribourg Gottéron
This last week was very important for Fribourg Gottéron. The Dragons were finally coming off two consecutive wins and wanted to give continuity to their results. When it comes to Gottéron, however, we all know that everything and its opposite can happen, for better or worse.
Ok, this last week everything went south.
Firstly, Christian Dubé’s guys forgot to get off the bus in Davos and “wasted” their first game of the week in a matter of few minutes. The following night at the BCF Arena against Bern then, the team reacted but finally it suffered an overtime defeat.
We will never be able to understand Fribourg Gottéron. The Dragons are seriously capable of the best and the worst. They can outplay and defeat anyone but also, out of nowhere, deliver irritating performances. Dear god, this team has got potential… and yet, one way or another, it’s almost always able to make its own life difficult.
We mean, it’s not suitable for the faint of heart to support Fribourg Gottéron 🙂
Now, it’s not over. The Dragons can still make the playoffs. However, Christian Dubé’s troops should really find a way to be more consistent. And, most and above all, they can’t any longer afford to forget to get off the bus.
Up and at them, Gottéron!