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Langnau top ice hockey league after 19-year wait

Kloten goalscorer Martin Plüss (left) is held at bay by Langnau's Pascal Müller

(Keystone)

A 3-2 away win over Kloten on Sunday was enough to take Langnau to the top of the Swiss ice hockey league. The side from canton Berne were seen as rank outsiders at the start of the season having last topped the table in November 1981.

Langnau's success followed a busy weekend. On Saturday they drew 3-3 at home to Davos in a match which they should have won. Langnau forward Vlastimil Plavucha, who has come into the side as replacement for Todd Elik, appeared to have scored the winner in overtime, but a video replay showed that the puck had not crossed the goal line.

Plavucha made amends on Sunday scoring Langnau's second goal after just eight minutes. Defender Samuel Balmer had opened the scoring three minutes earlier.

Kloten fought back though. Vladimir Jursinov's team have also made a strong start to the season and showed further resolve with goals from Brandon Convery and Martin Plüss.

Plüss then had the chance to put the Flyers ahead, but failed to score from a penalty. Langnau's defence then went on the attack once more, Erik Kakko the scorer this time with a long-range strike in the 34th minute.

The Finnish defender's goal turned out to be the last of the night, lifting Langnau to the top of the league. Bengt-Ake Gustaffson's side are level on points with Ambri-Piotta who led the table briefly on Saturday night.

Ambri profited from Lugano's protracted misery, beating last year's play-off finalists 2-1 in the first Ticino derby of the season.

Ambri's victory wasn't the only upset on Saturday. The league's bottom side Chur secured their first win of the season with a 4-1 mauling of championship contenders Berne.

Zug, who had led the league going into the weekend came unstuck at home, losing 3-1 to Kloten.

Reigning champions Zurich Lions were the only one of the pre-season favourites to avoid defeat. Larry Huras's enjoyed a 2-0 win away in Rapperswil, providing some welcome distraction from their poor performances at home this season.

Fribourg and La Chaux-de-Fonds shared a 1-1 draw, keeping both sides in the playout zone just a single point above Chur. Lugano are also in the bottom four, showing no sign yet of matching last season's achievements.

Berne and Zurich Lions are firmly mid-table, two points adrift of the leaders, although Berne at least have a game in hand on their Langnau neighbours.

swissinfo with agencies


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