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«You always have a chance – even against the ZSC Lions!»

The 2023/24 semi-final will see a repeat of the incredible final series from the 2021/22 season, when EVZ turned a 3-0 deficit against the ZSC Lions into a 4-3 win to become Swiss champions for the third time after 1998 and 2021!

Nobody at EVZ is currently talking about a fourth championship title, even though winning the last game of the season remains the goal for every professional ice hockey player. This time, ZSC is the favorite and EVZ the underdog. In the 2021/22 season, Zug finished the qualifiers in first place for the 5th time in the club’s history after 1995, 1998, 2012 and 2021. In the 2023/24 qualifiers, the Zurich team finished top for the 5th time after 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020 with 109 points and a 7-point lead. While the EVZ ended the current qualifying round with 9 defeats in 10 games, the ZSC Lions have won 10 of the last 13 rounds. The record in the regular season is still Zug’s 119 points and 27-point lead from the 2020-21 season.


Reto Kläy is happy that the EVZ survived the tough quarter-final series against Bern with a 4-3 win. “I didn’t expect a walk in the park. Bern was an opponent at eye level, but we deserved to win over seven games. We had the better goalie throughout the series, improved on the power play and were very clever and solid defensively in the last game. That’s how we have to play against the ZSC Lions as well!” said a relieved EVZ team manager on Saturday.

Reto Kläy’s hunger is not yet satisfied with the fifth consecutive semi-final qualification (there were no playoffs in the 2019/20 season due to corona): “ZSC has the more balanced team and has played more consistently recently. But we don’t have to hide and make ourselves look smaller than we are. Every series starts from scratch and has to be played first. We had good moments against Bern and have also had positive experiences against the ZSC Lions in recent years.” His overall conclusion: “You always have chances – even against the ZSC!”


The ZSC Lions eliminated EHC Biel in the playoff quarter-finals in the quickest possible way with a 4-0 win. Last year, they had failed with the same result against the runners-up, who qualified for the play-offs via the play-ins at the expense of champions Geneva and Ambri. Besides Czech goalie Simon Hrubec, Zurich’s most conspicuous players were playoff top scorer Derek Grant (4 goals/1 assist) and Denis Malgin, ZSC’s top scorer of the regular season (18 goals/29 assists). The 27-year-old Russian, who was born in Olten and also holds a Swiss passport, was already the most dangerous opponent in the 2022 Final (4 goals/3 assists). He spent last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs (23 games/4 scoring points) and Colorado Avalanche (42 games/17 points) in the NHL and returned to the Lions for this season; his contract runs until 2028. Simon Hrubec (94.64 %) and Leonardo Genoni (94.20 %) are the two goaltenders with the best save percentage in the playoffs.

The four head-to-head meetings this season have ended 2:2 in wins and 8:4 in points for the Zurich team. Zug won twice after overtime in the Swiss Life Arena, while the ZSC Lions prevailed 4-2 and 7-3 in the BOSSARD Arena. In the playoff record since the 1985-86 season, the Zurich team still leads with 4:3 wins after the defeat in the 2022 final. For Reto Kläy, the 2022 final series is not comparable to the 2024 semi-final series, which begins on Easter Monday: “Every season has different conditions, comparisons are irrelevant.”


Regular Season 2023/24:

ZSC Lions-EVZ 2:3 OT

EVZ-ZSC Lions 2:4

ZSC Lions-EVZ 2:3 OT

EVZ-ZSC Lions 3:7



Final 2021/22: EVZ-ZSC Lions 4:3

Quarter-Final 2017/18: EVZ-ZSC Lions 1:4

Semi-Final 2011/12: EVZ-ZSC Lions 0:4

Quarter-Final 2009/10: EVZ-ZSC Lions 4:3

Semi-Final 2004/05: ZSC Lions-EVZ 4:1

Semi-Final 1999/00: ZSC Lions-EVZ 4:0

Quarter-Final 1994/95: EVZ-ZSC 3:2

General sponsor
Zuger Kantonalbank
Main sponsors
Binelli Group