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Bern and Kloten keep hopes alive

Kloten's players celebrate after scoring their fourth goal against the Lions

(Keystone)

Thursday's action in the Swiss ice hockey playoffs saw semi-final underdogs Bern and Kloten fighting their way back into contention against Lugano and the Zurich Lions respectively.

After losing their first three semi-final matches against the Lions, Kloten pulled themselves back from the brink with a dazzling display. Not only did the Flyers inflict the first defeat of the playoffs on their local rivals, but they also managed to do so in convincing style.

Kloten forward Martin Plüss was the star of the night, returning from a recent rib injury to score two goals and set up a third as the home side cruised to a 6-2 victory.

The defending champions didn't make it onto the scoresheet until the third period, by which time Kloten had already opened up a 5-0 lead.

Thursday's success was not altogether unexpected given the narrowness of Kloten's earlier defeats at the hands of the Lions. All three of their previous playoff matches this month had seen Larry Huras's men winning through with single goal margins.

Despite Thursday's dramatic turnaround, the Flyers still face a tough challenge to make it to the finals. Vladimir Jursinov's side are now trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven semi-final series and will have to win all three of the remaining games to progress.

Bern's chances against Lugano are looking considerably stronger, though, after the team from the Swiss capital pulled off a 3-2 home win to level the other semi-final series at two games apiece.

Putting Tuesday's 5-1 defeat in Ticino behind them, Pekka Rautakallio's men raced into a 2-1 lead during the first ten minutes of Thursday's match. But Lugano levelled in the second period, and appeared to be gaining the upper hand as regular time expired.

Bern, however, approached overtime with the same ferocity as they had the start of the match, and were rewarded with the winning goal after less than five minutes. Ryan Savoia was the man who scored, the 27-year-old from Ontario grabbing his first ever goal for Bern to cap an impressive performance throughout the night.

Both Bern and Kloten will now be looking to secure their first away wins of the series on Saturday when the semi-finals move into their fifth round.

swissinfo with agencies


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