Rapperswil finished the regular season, and therefore the season, at the bottom of the table. That’s a table position that the team occupied basically from the very beginning to the end. Put it like that, it makes you think that the season was a total disaster. And instead, that’s not true because Rappi improved a lot compared to 12 months ago and in our opinion had a satisfactory season.
There are many reasons why to smile in the Canton of St. Gallen. Jeff Tomlinson’s troops were the “weakest” team on paper out there but nevertheless were able to make their fans proud many times. That also thanks to an impressive character that allowed them, among other things, to earn several spectacular comeback victories.
We mean, when it comes to results it was unlikely to do much better. We can’t ignore the fact that the leap from the Swiss League to the National League is very wide. Even if only because it’s difficult, considering the general context, and hard to build a competitive side. SD Janick Steinmann, however, is doing a terrific job. Perhaps, Janick, is the real “key man” of this club.
Rapperswil was a pushover team last season. This season instead, the Lakers turned out to be a tough nut to crack very often. If we look at the future then, one must believe that this team, this club, has all it takes to establish itself in the National League and even to become a playoffs contender.
We mean, in our opinion Rappi deserves a round of applause.
WHAT DID WORK
Rapperswil had the 8th best home record of the National League. We mean, in short, if all the games had been played at the SGKB Arena… Rappi would have made the playoffs. This is not nothing. Jeff Tomlinson’s guys were a very tough nut to crack in front of their own fans. Many teams darn struggled to win in Rapperswil.
Andrew Rowe, Roman Cervenka, Kevin Clark, Casey Wellmann, Danny Kristo… some more some less, all the imports of Rapperswil made a great contribution to Rapperswil. We mean, it’s safe to say that the club did a great work when it comes to transfers of imports.
It’s clear that Rapperswil isn’t the team with the best roster around, on paper. However, it certainly wasn’t a problem for Jeff Tomlinson’s troops to put the puck in the net. In fact, they scored 37 more goals compared to last season and finished the season with the 8th best scoring record of the league.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Rapperswil was a tough nut to crack… but still struggled when it comes to defensive play. Often, the opponents were able to create clear scoring chances very easily. Often, the opponents were able to score goals very easily. There were improvements compared to last season though… in this regard, Melvin Nyffeler often did a great job and the addition of players such as Vukovic helped a lot. In view of next season, however, the team should become more solid in order to improve the results.
As much as the home record was excellent… the away record was catastrophic. Rapperswil had the worst away record of the league by far. It seemed like Jeff Tomlinson’s troops lacked personality to earn more points on the road. After all, this is even understandable considering that Rappi was “only” at his second season in the top tier. To sum up though, the team had earned 8 points on the road during the 2018-19 regular season and earned 10 points this last season. That’s not good enough.
Lack of consistency
Rapperswil got off to a brilliant start of the season. After that they’d lost the first game, they earned 4 consecutive wins. That was, however, only a flash in the pan when it comes to consistency. From game day 6 until the end of the regular season in fact, Rappi won 2 consecutive games only two times. That’s not good enough.
THE THREE STARS
Dominik Egli is one of the most promising young talents around. Nothing new about that. Not many people, however, thought that he could play a leading role already this season! Jeff Tomlinson gave him confidence and a lot of time on ice… and he repaid him with fantastic performances throughout the whole season.
Andrew Rowe was immediately appointed the team’s captain and very soon we understood why. He’s a real leader, a real animal. Even when he doesn’t score points, he’s able to lead the way and set an example thanks to his attitude and body language. He’s a step-up kind of guy. What a great addition!
There is no denying that many people had doubts about Roman Cervenka, even if only because he missed most of last season. Now, it’s clear that Roman wasn’t always at the top of his game… but thanks to his class he was able to make the difference in so many games. Let us not forget, moreover, that he earned the nickname “Mr. Overtime” for a reason. Pure class. We haven’t heard the last of him.
Jeff Tomlinson (Coach)
Several guys would deserve a special mention. Just like Kevin Clark for example, who turned out to be a scoring machine. Or other less “flamboyant” but very precious players like Daniel Vukovic. However, we decided to reward the coach. In our opinion, Jeff Tomlinson is doing an excellent job in Rapperswil. He even missed few games as he underwent surgery, but he was able to transmit his fighting spirit to the whole team. For us, he’s the right man in the right place for the job and deserves a special mention.
Goals For – Goals Against
Goals For – Goals Against even strength
Rapperswil had the 8th scoring record of the league but also the worst defensive record. Figures are similar also when it comes to even strength play… it’s interesting to note, however, that when it comes to 5 vs 5 play Rappi wasn’t the worst team of the league.
Goals For – Goals Against each 10’
Rappi conceded way too many goals during the early stages of the games and during the latest stages of the games. When it comes to goals scored instead, the team scored regularly over-the-arc of the 60 minutes of play.
Leading, tied, trailing
We talked already earlier this season about the fact that Rapperswil was forced to trail too many times. The Lakers earned several spectacular comeback wins… but were leading only 24% of the time overall. That’s not enough.
Scoring percentage – Saving percentage
Rapperswil had a good scoring percentage, in fact it was the 5th best of the National League. The saving percentage on the other hand, even though above 90%, was the worst of the league.
Power-play – Penalty-killing
Rapperswil had a decent power-play efficiency (8th of the league) and same goes when it comes to penalty killing (9th of the league).
THE SEASON IN ONE QUOTE
Not every victory shows up on the scoreboard
If we look at the numbers, Rapperswil had a season to forget. As always, however, numbers should be interpreted and analysed. Rappi made many progresses compared to last season and, even though on paper it was the weakest team of the league, it turned out to be a very tough nut to crack. Moreover, the situation looks pretty promising for the future. We mean, when it comes to Rappi and its 2019-20 season, we think it’s safe to say that not every victory shows up on the scoreboard… because progresses are victories guys, even though they don’t show up on the scoreboard!