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Langnau stunned by Chur

Chur goalscorer Roger Rieder (centre) receives some attention from the Langnau defense

(Keystone)

Langnau's hopes of avoiding the Swiss ice hockey league's relegation playouts suffered a setback on Sunday when the side from canton Bern were trounced 3-0 by second bottom team Chur.

The Graubünden outfit, who are themselves already condemned to the playouts, stunned Langnau early on with all three goals coming in the first period. The result piled the pressure back on the Tigers who had enjoyed a 3-1 win in their local derby match against Bern just 24 hours earlier.

Tenth placed Ambri are again breathing down Langnau's necks. A single point now divides the two teams after Pierre Pagé's side followed up their 4-3 away win over Davos with a creditable 2-2 draw at home to fifth-placed Kloten.

Bern recovered from Saturday's derby defeat to remove themselves from the relegation fray with a 7-2 romp over Zug. With Bern now mathematically assured of a place in the championship playoffs, attention is focussing on the four sides scrapping for the last two remaining places.

Fribourg and Rapperswil are the other two teams fighting out a dramatic finale with Langnau and Ambri, although Rapperswil managed to lift themselves two points clear of the drop on Sunday after grabbing the lion's share of an 8-6 goal-fest at home to bottom side La Chaux-de-Fonds.

After losing 4-2 at home to Davos, Fribourg remain level on points with Langnau, with only goal difference keeping them above the dividing line.

Langnau, Ambri and Rapperswil now have just three matches of the regular season remaining, while Fribourg have four - two of which are against Rapperswil and Langnau.

With the end of the regular season promising one of the tightest finishes in years at the bottom of the table, attention has been momentarily diverted from the top. On Sunday Lugano and the Zurich Lions did little to change the situation, with the two top sides grinding out a 2-2 draw.

Lugano remain four points clear of the Lions, but for neutral fans it will be the lower reaches of the league that offer the most interest right now.

swissinfo with agencies

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