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Late wins for Lugano and Bern

Aeschlimann (right) celebrates Lugano's opening goal but a long night was still ahead

(Keystone)

Lugano and Bern both enjoyed dramatic wins in the latest round of Swiss ice hockey action, with the two sides needing penalties to see off their respective opponents in the playoff quarter-finals.

Bern continued to confound all expectations after coming from 2-1 down to beat the Spengler Cup winners of Davos. Andreas Johansson was Bern's latest hero, scoring both their goals in regular time as well as the opening penalty.

Lonny Bohonos levelled the shoot-out at 1-1, but his team-mate Jan von Arx missed after Patrick Howald had put Bern back in front. With one round of penalties remaining, defender Fredrik Olausson slotted home to give Bern an unassailable 3-1 win and send the visiting fans into rapture.

The win gives Bern a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and leaves Pekka Rautakallio's team just one win away from a place in the semi-finals.

Almost as unexpected as Bern's early success in the playoffs has been Lugano's inability to impose themselves on lowly Fribourg in their quarter-final campaign.

On Tuesday the regular season's league leaders edged 2-1 ahead in their series against a Fribourg side who only narrowly managed to scrape into the playoffs. But the manner of Lugano's win could hardly have been more unconvincing.

Jim Koleff's side appeared to be back on form as the match got underway, taking a 2-0 lead with goals from Jean-Jacques Aeschlimann and Geoffrey Vauclair. But the visitors found a way back with two goals in the last period from Goran Bezina and Jean-Yves Roy, the latter scoring with just 22 seconds of regular time remaining.

The penalty shootout that followed proved little more than a lottery as both sides missed three of their allocated five penalties to send the match into sudden death.

Even then there were to be another two misses apiece before Lugano's Chris Lindberg finally found the net. Christobal Huet's subsequent save at the feet of Fribourg's Mario Rottaris finally brought an end to an unexpectedly long encounter.

Lugano will now be hoping they can wrap up the quarter-final series before it too goes the full distance. On Saturday they will have the chance to pull further ahead but only if they can win in Fribourg.

swissinfo with agencies


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