Berne slide further down league table
In a battle between two of the country's richest clubs, Berne came out second best against Lugano, losing 3-2 in overtime in a hard-fought game at the Resega. They are now down to ninth place in the league table.
Berne's defeat increases the pressure on their already beleaguered coach, Pekka Rautakallio, who is facing the sack if he fails to get the Bears back up to fourth place in the table by the end of this month.
Rautakallio was hauled before Berne's board of directors on Monday and given an ultimatum, according to the newspaper "Blick".
The Finn has until 8 am on October 31 - the time of the board's next meeting - to deliver the much needed points. But this also means he may be fired before Berne's crucial game against Kloten later that day.
Despite all their pressing problems, the Bears led for much of the match on Tuesday night, drawing first blood early on. Chatelain scored after just two minutes of play.
But Lugano drew even at the end of the first term thanks to Dubé, despite the "Bianconeri" being undermanned at the time. The second term was notable for its lack of scoring.
The final 20 minutes saw Berne once again take the lead, with the Swede Johansson finishing off a power play in the 49th minute. The Ticino club didn't give up though, and Näser helped his team draw even again in the 54th minute.
Berne failed to hold off Lugano in overtime, with the Frenchman Bozon scoring the sudden-death goal that gave the home side victory.
Reigning champions, Zurich, had less trouble against the other Ticino club, Ambri-Piotta, winning 5-2. The Lions kept their eight match winning streak going with this new victory.
If the first term was scoreless, Zurich stepped up the pace when they came back on to the ice. A goal by Schrepfer in the 23rd minute and another by Stirnimann in the 31st gave them a two-goal advantage at the Hallenstadion.
The final term saw the Lions come out looking for the decisive knockout blow. Three goals in five minutes by Hodgson, Seger and Streit put them up 5-0, out of reach of Ambri.
The "Biancoblu", however, did not give up, and scored two consolation goals thanks to Celio and Gardner in the dying minutes of the game.
Zurich's victory put them at the top of the league table with 17 points and 12 games played, one ahead of Zug and Ambri-Piotta. Lugano have traded places with Berne, climbing into fifth spot on the ladder, while the Bears are now under the playoff bar, in ninth position.
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