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Fribourg level with Lugano

Fribourg's Greg Parks comes under pressure from the Lugano forwards

(Keystone)

A spirited fightback from Fribourg was the highlight of Saturday's action in the Swiss ice hockey playoffs.

After narrowly losing out to Lugano in the first of their quarter-final matches on Thursday, Serge Pelletier's men struck back in their second encounter, levelling the series with a 2-0 win.

Fribourg goalkeeper Thomas Östlund was the man of the match, celebrating only his second shut-out of the season against the side who finished the qualifying season on top of the standings.

The Ticinese side were overwhelmed from the very start, and were fortunate to finish the first period on level terms. After squandering eight clear chances in the opening 20 minutes, Fribourg finally got their reward in the second period with powerplay goals from Antoine Descloux and Gil Montandon.

Having conceded two goals, Jim Koleff's side finally came to life but were unable to find a way past the impressive Östlund.

While Fribourg faced a hard struggle even to qualify for the playoffs, Lugano's preparations were also far from ideal. Despite finishing the regular season as league leaders, Koleff's men managed just one win in their last five games and will have to rediscover their earier form quickly if they're to progress to the semi-finals.

Defending champions the Zurich Lions are looking far more likely to secure a place in the semi-finals after taking a 2-0 series lead over Rapperswil. Powerplays proved decisive in the second match, with Rapperswil failing to score from any of their three opportunities.

In contrast Edgar Salis needed just 32 seconds to find the net from Zurich's only powerplay of the night. Andreas Zehnder, Reto Stirnimann and Mark Ouimet provided the Lions' other three goals.

Bern and Kloten are also halfway towards a place in the semis. Marc Reichert was Bern's hero on Saturday, the 20-year-old striker scoring in overtime to complete a 2-1 win over Davos and give his side a 2-0 series lead.

Kloten proved that their 6-2 away win over Zug on Thursday was no fluke, although Saturday's 3-2 victory was a much tighter affair.

Zug's Paul Di Pietro had the biggest influence on the game, although his 'hat-trick' may not be something he wishes to remember. After scoring twice in the first two periods to put Zug 2-1 up, Di Pietro was unfortunate to turn a Kloten shot into his own net for the equaliser.

Teenage striker Andreas Cellar then came up with an impressive solo goal with just eight minutes of regular time remaining to seal a 3-2 home win for the canton Zurich side.

The quarter-finals are set to continue on Tuesday, with the third round of the best-of-seven series.

swissinfo with agencies


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