Berne, 17.04.2019

EV Zug fall behind 2-1

EV Zug are now going to have to do things the hard way. After cruising through their quarter-final and semi-final series 4-0 and 4-1 respectively, they have now lost two games in a row for the first time in these play-offs. Having taken the opener in the nation’s capital last Thursday, they fell 3-2 in overtime on Saturday and then took a 4-1 pounding on Tuesday night at the hands of a resurgent SC Berne.

Coach Dan Tangnes tried to shake things up by dropping Brian Flynn from the second line and playing David McIntyre there in the centre position between stand-out wingers Lino Martschini and Reto Suri. It was to no avail. Flynn had had little impact in this series but McIntyre did not manage to create any more chances for the flying forwards in the third game than his fellow import had had in the first two.

EV Zug are now going to have to do things the hard way. After cruising through their quarter-final and semi-final series 4-0 and 4-1 respectively, they have now lost two games in a row for the first time in these play-offs. Having taken the opener in the nation’s capital last Thursday, they fell 3-2 in overtime on Saturday and then took a 4-1 pounding on Tuesday night at the hands of a resurgent SC Berne.

Coach Dan Tangnes tried to shake things up by dropping Brian Flynn from the second line and playing David McIntyre there in the centre position between stand-out wingers Lino Martschini and Reto Suri. It was to no avail. Flynn had had little impact in this series but McIntyre did not manage to create any more chances for the flying forwards in the third game than his fellow import had had in the first two.

Berne had Zug on the back foot from the off, scoring on the power play in the fourth minute just 22 seconds after Rafi Diaz had been sent to the sin bin for holding. Carl Klingberg managed an equaliser just three minutes later, courtesy of some good work from the other imports Dennis Everberg and Garrett Roe, but that parity lasted a mere 90 seconds.

Another power play for SCB, this time after Roe had tripped an opponent, saw the killer blow dealt and the Bears were 3-1 up after less than 13 minutes. The die was cast. Two more penalties hamstrung EVZ in the second period, and when they finally got a power-play opportunity of their own, it lasted barely 30 seconds before Dario Simion negated it by taking a tripping penalty.

Suri was again the best of the boys in blue, hitting the post just before the siren sounded at the end of the second, but after that let-off Berne parked the bus in front of Leo Genoni’s net and made sure that no chances got through in the third period. Tobias Stephan was pulled for an extra attacker with two-and-a-half minutes to go but that merely gave SCB the opportunity to put the icing on the cake with an empty-netter.

The series comes back to Zug on Thursday night at 8 pm, and coach Tangnes will have to shake up his squad between now and then to get the most out of his players. After nine victories in the first ten play-off matches, the Zuger Express has hit a bump in the road. They now need to win three of four if they are to secure the title for only the second time in their history.

Drew Lilley


Photo: Peter Schneider/Keystone (Bern, 16. April 2019)