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“Herzog, Senteler, Simion would also be a great line in Zug”

With Michael Liniger, Leonardo Genoni, Fabrice Herzog, Sven Senteler, Dario Simion and Lukas Bengtsson, six EVZ representatives are returning home from the World Championships in Prague with a medal in their luggage.

Even a few weeks after the World Championship final against the Czech Republic, the disappointment still runs deep among certain players. “It’s taking a little longer to come to terms with the defeat this time than it did in 2018,” admits goalkeeper Leonardo Genoni, who helped the Swiss to the final in the semi-final against Canada with an outstanding performance. “Six years ago, the final was a kind of encore. Although we only lost to the Swedes on penalties back then, we were much further away from the title than this year.” The whole team went into the game with the conviction that they would win gold in Prague against the host nation, the Czech Republic.

In the end, “one single mistake” by the Swiss national team was enough for the Czechs to turn the game their way in the 50th minute. After a momentous icing and the subsequent face-off in his own zone, even Leo “The Wall” Genoni could do nothing to stop NHL superstar David Pastrnak’s one-timer. After the 1:0 at the latest, the O2 Arena in the Czech capital turned into a cauldron. After 60 minutes, the score was 2:0 and captain Roman Cervenka of the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers was able to lift the trophy at the home World Championship, while the Swiss ice comrades had to make do with silver again after 2013 and 2018.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AS AN EYE-OPENER

“It’s still an emotional rollercoaster,” agrees Michael Liniger, who acted as assistant coach and sparring partner to defense coach Tommy Albelin during his first World Championship appearance and orchestrated the defensive play and penalty-killing with him. “Personally, I didn’t expect Patrick Fischer to ask me to join the coaching staff. That’s why I’m especially grateful for this unique experience. You never know whether you’ll get another chance to play in a World Cup, let alone a final, so the defeat is extremely bitter. But it was also very impressive to see how much support we received from outside, whether from home in Switzerland or directly in the stadium in Prague.” The 44-year-old admits that the World Championships were a great eye-opener for him. “The quality of the players was incredible. I saw some things that I want to bring into our game.”

«The longer it goes on, the more the pride and the memories of the beautiful moments we were able to experience together prevail.»

Sven Senteler, Forward EVZ

For Sven Senteler, time heals all wounds: “The disappointment was huge for the first few days. But the longer it goes on, the more the pride and the memories of the wonderful moments we were able to experience together prevail.” A great team spirit had developed within the squad and it quickly became clear that a lot was possible with these “super characters”. Senteler particularly enjoyed the teamwork with his Zug forward partners Fabrice Herzog and Dario Simion. “Herzog, Senteler, Simion – that would be a great line for EVZ too,” he says mischievously. “We could certainly also show what we can do in the National League. I think that’s what we conveyed to “Lini”. Let’s see, maybe Dan will give it a try…”

For EVZ defenseman Lukas Bengtsson, the World Championship ended with a victory in the bronze medal game against Canada. It is the Swede’s second medal at world championships after winning silver at the U20 World Championships. Czech Neo-Zug player Daniel Voženílek, meanwhile, arrives in Switzerland as a newly crowned world champion.

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