FR Gottéron is only one victory away from the semi-final thanks to its 1-4 success Thursday in Lausanne. The two goalkeepers had a very contrasting evening. It’s 3-1 in the series in favor of the Dragons.
Reto Berra, excellent since the start of the play-off series against Lausanne, won his duel from a distance with Tobias Stephan, back in front of the LHC nets after being rested in the third game which lasted 105 minutes. In the absence of Luca Boltshauser (announced injured on Thursday) and despite his freshness, Stephan had a complicated evening and conceded a frustrating defeat with the LHC.
Tobias Stephan (Lausanne)
The doorman of Lausanne HC should have been the “freshness” asset in the game of the Lions. Rested since he had not played Tuesday in Friborg during a third act which ended during the third extra time of the evening, Stephan did not manage to bring this little extra soul to his team. In a match that generated few shots in each camp (22-19 in favor of Gottéron), the LHC goalkeeper was picked cold by Julien Sprunger in powerplay at the start of the second period.
He could not do anything then on the curious 0-2, a kind of “pigeon wing” from Sandro Schmid. To make matters worse, he was unable to make the decisive save that could perhaps have changed something on Thursday evening: when Andrei Bykov, outnumbered, showed up alone to register the 1 -3. The goal too many that definitely broke the momentum and hopes of the Lions. Still, the LHC did not lose through the fault of its goalkeeper. If he is trailing 1-3 in the series and already finds himself on the brink of elimination, the main reason lies in his increasingly dismal power-play and not in front of his own net.
Reto Berra (FR Gotteron)
The international goalkeeper of the Dragons has undoubtedly spent his quietest evening since the start of the play-offs. And that was pretty good for him after spending 105 minutes on the ice two days earlier. Reto Berra only faced 19 Lausanne shots in 60 minutes of play in Act IV. The second third? Twenty good minutes of active regeneration with only three shots in the direction of his cage, including one from his own teammate Sandro Schmid who turned into an autogoal.
His only annoyance, apart from this gag goal conceded, was an obstruction by his future teammate Christoph Bertschy sanctioned by two minutes. Did Berra add more to get the penalty? It’s possible, but it’s also part of the arsenal of the majority of National League goalkeepers. A power play? The Dragons obviously jumped at the chance to open the scoring on the power play, as has also been the case in each round of the series. For Lausanne, which must already spend a lot of energy to create quality chances against a perfectly in place Friborg defense, the last obstacle to overcome – named Reto Berra – remains a headache for the moment. If Gottéron is only one success away from the semi-final, it is to his goalkeeper and the diabolical efficiency of his power-play that he owes it above all.