The ZSC Lions star striker assumes his play-off status. Four of his six goals were decisive for his side, who lead 2-0 in the final against Zug. Act III Saturday at the Bossard Arena.
Without Denis Malgin, the ZSC Lions might already have been on vacation since the beginning of April. The winning goal of Act VII against HC Bienne in the quarter-finals? It was he who scored it, alone, less than 13 minutes from the end of regulation time. The ZSC, led 0-2 in the series, then 2-3, had just come back from nowhere to climb into the last four of the play-offs.
Quarter-finals against HC Bienne (6 matches played):
Semi-final against Fribourg-Gottéron (4 matches):
Final against EV Zug (2 matches, current series):
Against Fribourg-Gottéron in the semi-finals, the 25-year-old Swiss international defeated the Dragons single-handedly in Acts I and III. Each time, he found a way to score the decisive goal in extra time. After 22 minutes of play in added time during the important first leg won by the ZSC Lions in Friborg at the start of the semi-final. “He clearly is above the lot. It is said that the great players are always there at the right time, recalls Jérémie Kamerzin, who defended the colors of Fribourg-Gottéron this season. His statistics in this area speak for him. Often, a decisive goal is a hit-and-miss goal. But with him, it’s a highlight every time!”
Six goals, including four winners
His exploits again allowed the ZSC to get away with it in the third round, again in Fribourg. While the Zurich players were without a goalkeeper, Malgin first equalized 110 seconds from the gong (2-2). He then helped ZSC lead 3-0 in the series by scoring the winning goal after 19 minutes of extra time. “He constantly creates and generates offensive danger, notes Dave Sutter, semi-finalist with Fribourg-Gottéron. The goal pucks, it’s a bit like he managed to attract them to him. But where he is most dangerous is when he manages to pick up speed from his camp, explains the Dragons defender. That’s his great strength: his rare ability to skate at full speed while controlling the puck with both hands on his cane. His mobility and agility then allow him to go left or right with ease.
“Malgin is what is called a “game changer”, underlines the GM of HC Ajoie and former international defender, Julien Vauclair. He has influence on a game on his own, and players who have this ability, there are not many left. I remember having rubbed shoulders with a few when I was playing in Lugano at the time: Petteri Nummelin and Glen Metropolit, for example, fell into this category of exceptional players. They could change the course of a match with a stroke of genius.
In the final against EV Zug, Malgin continued his momentum and did not hesitate to score another decisive goal, his fourth “game winning goal” of the play-offs. It was Wednesday at the Hallenstadion, during Act II against the Zugois. His one-handed control of the puck, then his sequence to slide the puck under the crossbar after having thwarted EVZ goalkeeper Leonardo Genoni, was a technical gem.
Thanks to this goal from Malgin, scored this time 183 seconds from the end of regulation time, ZSC now lead 2-0 in the series and are only two wins away from the national title. Act III takes place on Saturday in Zug (8 p.m.).