Zug had to play one of the most difficult seasons of its history. Why? Well, because according to the thought of many people, the Bulls HAD to win. Any result different than the title of Swiss Champion, would have been considered a failure considering the investments made and the value of the roster.
Frankly, we’ve never shared that point of view. But it is clear, that the Bulls were under huge pressure and that were among the favourites for the title. Unfortunately, we will never know if Dan Tangnes’ troops would win the title. We know, anyway, that they had all it takes to do it.
It’s true that Zug didn’t have a memorable season in every way. The team earned 90 points in 50 games and finished second placed. When it comes to pure numbers, it’s correct to stress that the Bulls had their “worst” regular season in terms of points earned since 2015-16 when they’d earned 88 points.
However, Dan Tangnes’ guys proved so many times that they can be totally dominant. They suffered 3 consecutive defeats only two times and therefore were consistent all in all. Moreover, they were able to win several games also when they weren’t at the top of their game, this is something only great teams can do. Let us not forget finally that, at least this was our impression from the outside, it seemed like they were able to handle the huge pressure.
Again, we’ll never know how this season would go. It’s certain that it would have not been a walk in the park and that it would have not been easy even to get rid of Fribourg Gottéron at the quarterfinal stages. One thing is sure though, the Bulls have a future. This regular season was good even though not outstanding. But it was the first step toward a brilliant future.
WHAT DID WORK
Regardless of the results, Zug was oftentimes dominant and even played an enjoyable hockey. Especially when it comes to offensive play, Dan Tangnes’ guys regularly outplayed their opponents. On paper, and considering the roster, that was predictable. It’s easier said than done though. Therefore, it’s correct to stress that the Bulls were able to prove themselves as a very good team.
Zug finished the season with the best away record of the National League. The Bulls had few problems during the latest stages of the regular season, and this is evidenced by the fact that they lost all their last 3 games on the road… overall though, they were devastating away from the Bossard Arena.
Zug has a present… but most and above all, has a future. The EVZ Academy project is working perfectly. The Bulls can add several players coming from their “cousins” Young Bulls each season. Each season then, many of these players prove ready for the National League level. The EVZ Academy is a real pride for the club.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Overall, Zug was solid and finished the season with the second-best defensive record of the National League tied on GAA with Zürich. The Bulls, however, weren’t the best penalty killers around and many times struggled to kill penalties.
The final stages of the regular season
Zug lost 4 of the last 5 games of the season. Now, the title was not awarded this season… rightly so. However, if the National League had opted to assign the title to the regular season’s winners… the Bulls would have won yet another silver medal as they lost the top of the table position at the last gasp. Zug is always Zug, after all.
THE THREE STARS
Gregory Hofmann was likely to be the greatest addition to Zug. Regardless of the points scored (47 in 50 games, including 24 goals and they could have been much more without the countless post hit…) what Greg brought in was mostly an impressive will to succeed and to get to the top. His winning mindset is impressive. What a player! He delivered fantastic performances.
Underrated. In our opinion, Yannick-Lennart Albrecht had a fantastic season. 13 points in 50 games… and so what? Yannick-Lennart did a terrific job and oftentimes was extremely precious thanks to his work. Yep, in our opinion he was one of the stars of Zug this season.
A team can’t be made only of technical skilled top-class players. You’re going nowhere without also players like Johan Morant. Johan was rock solid in defense and brought in that grit and charisma that are essential to win games and titles. He’s a guy who always gives it 200% and that will be missed in Zug.
As you noticed, our “three stars” of the season aren’t probably the one you expected considering the roster of the team. However, there is no denying that – despite everything – many players delivered good performances but not outstanding ones. Or rather, we expected even more from them. Jan Kovar is the perfect example of what we mean… he’s pure class and capable of making the difference. A top-class player that tallied 45 points in 50 games (31 assists) despite the fact, that he wasn’t always at the top of his game. The paradox of Zug this season, however, is that also from players like Jan Kovar – who did good – we expected even more. That’s the price to pay when you’re as good as Zug!
Goals For – Goals Against
Goals For – Goals Against even strength
Zug had the 4th best scoring record and the 3rd best defensive record. That’s good but not outstanding considering the potential of the team. Same goes when it comes to even-strength play… ZSC Lions, Davos and Lausanne did better.
Goals For – Goals Against each 10’
This chart suggests that the Bulls had an excellent physical condition. Tendentially in fact, Dan Tangnes’ boys made the difference as the game went on and scored a lot of goals during the latest stages of the games. That’s great.
Leading, tied, trailing
Zug was leading 31.8% of the time. Genève Servette, Davos, Lugano, ZSC Lions and Lausanne did better. It means that Zug couldn’t control the games as much as expected. The great physical condition allowed them to earn points also when they were trailing… then again, this is good but not outstanding.
Scoring percentage – Saving percentage
The Bulls had the 3rd highest scoring percentage and the 4th highest saving percentage. Sorry we repeat ourselves… but again, good but not outstanding.
Power-play – Penalty-killing
Zug was often dominant during PP opportunities… but wasn’t always able to turn the dominance into enough goals and finished the season with the 4th power-play efficiency of the National League. On the other hand, we talked already about the PK efficiency. Dan Tangnes’ troops were only the 7th penalty killers of the league.
THE SEASON IN ONE QUOTE
Zug is always Zug, after all…
Zug had a good regular season. Not excellent but good. The Bulls were quite consistent and oftentimes – regardless of the results – outplayed their opponents. But, frankly, we expected something more in terms of both individual and team performance. We’re pretty sure that this team could go all the way and win the title… but we’re also sure that, considering the potential, this team could do even better during this regular season. Yep, we think you can say that… Zug is always Zug, after all 🙂