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Lugano overtake ailing Lions

Zurich's Peter Jaks takes a tumble as his team lose the league leadership

(Keystone)

Lugano have shot to the top of the Swiss ice hockey league at the end of a weekend which saw reigning champions the Zurich Lions beaten twice.

After losing 6-3 in Rapperswil on Saturday, the Lions suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of eighth-placed Langnau on Sunday. Canadian forward Ray Sheppard scored all three goals for Langnau, just one day after scoring twice in the side's 5-1 win over Fribourg.

Lugano took full advantage of the Lions slip-ups, adding a 5-1 win in Davos to Saturday's victory by the same scoreline over bottom side La Chaux-de-Fonds. The two wins put Lugano level on points with Zurich, but the Ticinese side have played four games fewer than the Lions.

Davos, who have not won in the league since their spectacular success in the international Spengler Cup tournament, slipped from third to fourth following their mauling by the new league leaders.

Zug replaced Davos in third place after inflicting another defeat (3-2) on La Chaux-de-Fonds. Kloten and Bern remain level on points in fifth and sixth place respectively after fighting out a 2-2 draw at the Schluefweg stadium.

The match between the strugglers of Ambri and Chur also ended in a draw. Ambri, who slipped into the playout zone on Saturday, had taken a 4-3 lead against Chur with just four minutes of regular time remaining.

But Gardner salvaged a point for Chur with a goal in the dying seconds. With just ten matches remaining, though, Chur's hopes of avoiding the playouts are virtually non-existent.

Fribourg's chances of pulling clear look much more realistic after they thrashed Rapperswil 5-1 in the last of Sunday's matches. Three goals in the final period made sure of a win which helped lift Fribourg to within two points of safety.

swissinfo with agencies

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