17th week – 20.01.2020 – 26.01.2020
THE TEAM “ON FIRE”
This last week, the ZSC Lions firstly earned a 9-6 road win against Genève Servette and then a 5-4 overtime home win against Davos. By doing so, they proved once again to be a group that can fight in the upper part of the table.
Do you know what are the two things that impress us the most about the Lions? The character and the physical condition.
This last week, just like countless times already this season, Rikard Grönborg’s troops made the difference during the latest stages of the games. This in fact, it’s a symptom of great character and excellent physical condition. At les Vernets against the Eagles they scored the three decisive goals during the last 5 minutes of play. Against the Ibexes at the Hallenstadion instead, they scored the tying goal in the last few minutes of the game and then earned the extra point thanks to the goal scored 28 seconds into the overtime period.
Character and physical condition are crucial factors in view of the playoffs. If we add to that the fact that the Lions, overall and in our opinion, are turning out to be the most complete and dominant team of the league… well, people on the shores of the Limmat can seriously look forward to the future with great confidence!
Rikard Grönborg together with his staff was able to change the ZSC Lions mentality. Now, Zürich are no longer “only” a nice and uncomplete team but are a real Team, with a capital T.
A team capable of being lethal in the offensive zone, and capable of gifting hockey passionates with moments of magic hockey. A team in which each player puts his talent at the disposal of the group. A team that can play a very organized hockey but that can also bring in emotions. We mean, this is a complete team.
And a team that – and this should scare the opponents – has also room for improvement!
To date, if you ask us what team impressed us the most in the National League, our answer would be “Zürich”. No ifs, no buts. And to say, on the eve of the season we had doubts about this side and about Rikard Grönborg. Even if only because Rikard’s last experience as a club head coach dated back to the 2002-03 season.
Well, what can we say? Pardon us, Mister Grönborg… you’re doing a terrific job.
Keep it up, ZSC Lions!
THE THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
Serge Pelletier (Coach, HC Lugano)
Since the moment Serge Pelletier was appointed the new head coach, Lugano have been the third best team of the National League. Only Davos and Zug have been earning more points on average than the Bianconeri. Instead, if we take only the year 2020 into consideration – and therefore we exclude the first two games with Serge as coach, two games that basically he couldn’t even prepare – the Bianconeri have been by far the best team of the league in terms of points average!
Serge Pelletier – together with his staff, because we think that Rob Cookson and Paul Di Pietro are doing great – showed to be very smart. He’s making his team play a very “simple” but effective hockey. He assigned the right role to each one of his players to whom he also gives freedom. And the results are there for everyone to see. Just like the ones of this last week, as Lugano won against Rapperswil and Zug.
Do you think Lugano play an ugly hockey? Well, first of all, this is subjective. In fact, we really like Lugano and their fighting spirit. But most and above all, Lugano play the best possible way considering the roster. And finally, the Bianconeri put emotions into the games again.
Well done Serge, great job!
Reto Berra (HC Fribourg Gottéron)
One thing is sure. It never gets boring when it comes to Fribourg Gottéron… the Dragons are literally capable of everything and its opposite all the time. This last week for example, they were able to win two games out of two and by doing so they made a great deal.
Moreover, there is someone who surely is never bored… we’re talking about Reto Berra. The latter delivered two outstanding performances against Ambrì-Piotta and Lausanne!
Reto is one of the few goalies around who can really “steal” games. Now, we’re not saying that Reto “stole” the two games played against Ambrì-Piotta and Lausanne. The Dragons in fact, especially at the Vaudoise Arena, delivered a very smart and solid performance considering the current circumstances.
But let’s face it, when Reto Berra in on fire… it’s much easier for Gottéron to earn points!
Eric Fehr (Genève Servette HC)
Genève Servette never cease to amaze. This week was bittersweet though. Firstly, the Eagles suffered a 9-6 home defeat against the ZSC Lions but then they went to earn a 4-3 overtime win at the PostFinance Arena.
Patrick Emond guys’ team spirit is incredible and it’s always a pleasure to watch the Eagles play. There is, however, a player that in our opinion is very underrated. Actually, he’s perhaps the most underrated import of the National League. We’re talking about Eric Fehr.
When it comes to Genève Servette, people mostly talk about Tommy Wingels, Daniel Winnik and Henrik Tömmernes. But what about Eric Fehr? He’s a very smart and experienced player. He’s not a point-scoring machine but his contribution is extremely precious. Perhaps though, this last week Eric decided that it’s time to talk also about him. And considering that most people talk about imports only when they score points… Eric decided to score 7 of them in only 2 games, including 5 goals!
We mean, you never talk much about me?! Here is my answer. I turn into a point-scoring machine for a week. So, maybe, from now on you’ll notice me more 🙂
THE SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR…
When a 0-1 final score is fun… EHC Biel-Bienne vs EV Zug
On Saturday night, Bienne and Zug faced each other at the Tissot Arena. Zug earned a 1-0 overtime win. This is a rare final score for an ice hockey game.
Don’t be fooled by the final score though. Because Seeländer and Bulls gifted the fans with a very eventful and exciting game that almost looked like a playoffs’ one. We mean, after the 9-6 road win of the ZSC Lions against Genève Servette on Tuesday night, we had also the 1-0 road win of Zug in Bienne. Personally, we liked the game played at the Tissot Arena better.
We mean, when a 0-1 final score is fun!
The day he will never forget… Rocco Pezzullo (HC Ambrì-Piotta)
Ambrì-Piotta must deal with so many injuries that Luca Cereda basically is forced to come up with a different line up each game. And the good thing is, that the coach born in Sementina doesn’t look for excuses. Never.
That said, on Saturday night Rocco Pezzullo made his National League debut. He’s an 18 years old talented defenseman that this season played both with the Elite Jr. of Ambrì-Piotta and with the Ticino Rockets.
The guy showed that he’s got what it takes to play, even though he can obviously improve a lot. Meanwhile though, he had the day he will never forget… and that day even saw his team prevail against Langnau!
First of all, we remain convinced that Bern have great chances to make the playoffs. And even to go a long way. After all, this team has all it takes to succeed.
However, things aren’t working. This last week, the Bears lost two games out of two. Firstly, they suffered a 4-3 home overtime defeat against Genève Servette and then a 4-3 road defeat against Davos.
From the outside, we have the impression that Kari Jalonen’s troops are so close to turn things around. But meanwhile that “so close” risks to become “a lot”, also considering that now pressure is very high.
The truth is that it’s quite rare that Bern underperform for 60 minutes of play. But the truth is also that it’s quite rare – very rare… – that Bern deliver a very good performance for 60 minutes of play. Moreover, unfortunately and way too often, it seems like that the players don’t bring in enough emotions. Those emotions that can really make the difference between a tight defeat and a tight win.
Now, it’s no time to panic. As we said, this team has all it takes to succeed. But… But, the “buts”, are becoming way too many. And the clock is ticking.
Up and at them, Bears!