In the fourth match in six days, the Zurich team was no longer able to hide its fatigue. Thanks to strong penalty kicks, efficiency, the outstanding performance of the substitute goalkeeper and a bit of luck, they still won.
When does it become too much? When do you run out of energy? The ZSC Lions showed in Lausanne that they can handle a fourth match in six days. The Zurich team has not stopped working since last Saturday; And in the derby against Kloten on Friday, the most extreme phase of the season will end with the fifth match in seven days. After the round of Switzerland with matches in Lugano, Bern and Lausanne, there will finally be another match on home soil.
Mark Crawford has already discussed this preseason special this week and called for smart use of ice time and goalie deployment as a means to this task. To date, it has implemented these guidelines almost optimally. Goalkeeper Ruben Zumbohl made his second start in the National League after the 5-2 win in Ticino – and he also made it flawlessly as he made 34 saves. When it came to allocating playing time to players, Crawford and his coaching staff showed amazing precision. No Zurich player got 20 minutes of ice time in either Lugano or Bern on Tuesday (6-1 win), while in Lausanne only defenders Marti and Lehtonen had to play.
In this way, energy can be conserved, making it possible to survive successfully even in difficult games such as the one held in Lausanne. ZSC gained momentum from the Bern game early on: after 48 seconds, defender Jannik Weber sneaked in alone in front of goal, and two minutes later Chris Baltesberger also missed a shot while standing alone in the slot. Will Zurich continue its strong and defiant performance in Lugano and Bern? Overwhelm your opponent again?
In the end it was a defensive battle
No, it wasn’t that simple. As a result, the Lions had to accept that the opposition essentially dictated the game. The defensive discipline was never lost, and the well-distributed ice time certainly helped with that. The game was for a long period devoid of good scoring opportunities, and both teams saved their chances on several power plays. For lions, numerical superiority is a great strength; Crawford’s team has only conceded one goal in seven matches so far.
When Derek Grant gave ZSC a 1-0 lead with Zurich’s second goal of the season, the Lions suddenly had a positive goal difference when outnumbered. Chris Baltesberger with a typical deflection, as well as Laurence Bilot, who lost the ball with a score of 0-1, with Lausanne’s connected goal guaranteed in a wild final phase of the middle third as ZSC managed to go into the final third with a 2-1 lead.
This turned into a defensive battle for a Zurich of diminished strength, in return numerous penalties and a lot of fighting and cramping when outnumbered. Zombol made several good saves, and the talented man’s luck was on his side. When Jesper Froden made it 3-1 shortly before the end of the game after one of ZSC’s now rare chances and confirmed Zurich’s quality, it was a huge relief for the All Lions.
With a fifth win in a row, ZSC are in first place, and the question that remains before the derby: Is there enough strength for another effort? Kloten’s chances of a coup in Altstadt are not bad at least.