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Game Preview: ZSC Lions vs EVZ

EVZ will face the ZSC Lions in the 1st playoff semi-final away from home on Easter Monday.

The playoffs are going from strength to strength: EVZ defeated SC Bern in the 7th quarter-final on Easter Saturday, and the 1st semi-final will take place on Easter Monday at the Swiss Life Arena in Zurich. The opponent for the fourth-placed team from Central Switzerland: the ZSC Lions, who knocked out runners-up Biel in the quarter-finals in the quickest possible way with a 4-0 win. The Zurich team, who for the 5th time in the last 11 seasons finished the qualifiers in first place – with 109 points, 7 points ahead of Fribourg, 22 points ahead of EVZ. This time, the Zug team are the underdogs.

It was a different story the last time they met in the 2022 playoff final, at least at the start of the series. Zug had finished the regular season as winners for the 5th time in their club’s history, sending Lugano (quarter-final) and Davos (semi-final) on vacation with 4-0 victories in the first two playoff rounds. The ZSC Lions, who finished third in the qualifiers, had only beaten Biel in the 7th quarter-final and Fribourg in the 4th semi-final with 4-0 victories. As is well known, the EVZ managed the big turnaround in the final series with victory on May 1, 2022 – after trailing 3-0 and losing three games that could just as easily have ended differently.

What will Zug show in the semi-final? The ups and downs of the quarter-final against Bern? A performance like in the last home game (3:7 loss) or in the last away game (3:2 win after overtime) against the ZSC Lions? Will surviving the 1st playoff round have a liberating effect? Will captain Jan Kovar, scorer of two goals in the last win in Zurich, once again play in the form that made him the most important figure on the ice alongside Leonardo Genoni in the 2021 and 2022 title wins? The duel against SCB, who finished fifth in qualifying, was decided not least by the better goalie. The outstanding Leonardo Genoni, who recorded his second shutout of the season on Saturday, his first in the playoffs, could have been named his team’s best player six times with the exception of the first game! Now the goalie with the second-best save percentage (94.20 %) in the playoffs will face Simon Hrubec (94.64 %), the leader in this category.

The fact is that the Zug team has twice won 3:2 after overtime in the Swiss Life Arena this season. On October 3 with luck (winning goal by Andreas Wingerli after 64:19 minutes), on December 21 (Marc Michaelis after 61:30 minutes) highly deserved. It is also a fact that the EVZ finished fourth despite nine defeats in the last ten games and knocked the best SC Bern of the last five years out of the race. That the much-maligned special teams suddenly have the best efficiency rates in the playoffs alongside the ZSC Lions and that players such as defenders Lukas Bengtsson and Dominik Schlumpf and forwards such as Fabrice Herzog, Lino Martschini, Dario Simion, Andreas Wingerli, Sven Leuenberger and Reto Suri are in form alongside Leonardo Genoni.

Despite everything, the Zugers, who have been plagued by long-term injuries and absences all season, are only outsiders against the high-paying ZSC Lions. A role that is not even that bad…



General sponsor
Zuger Kantonalbank
Main sponsors
Binelli Group