In our ongoing series “This is Sarnen” we want to give you the opportunity to follow a Cinderella story for a whole season. Ad Astra Sarnen managed to promote to the NLA last season and is now the big underdog in the elite series of Switzerland.
“Feels good to go on a break with some points”. Coach Vehanen was quite relieved after the first points of the season. And he had every reason for it. Some pretty turbulent games took place, since game 2 against Malans, which we covered with the last article.
549 minutes and 52 seconds into the season. And there they are. The long-awaited first NLA points for Ad Astra Sarnen in the club history. Robin Markström, who is a key player for some time now, booked the first win with a goal 8 seconds before the end of overtime.
Tough start of the season
After the game at Tigers Langnau, who seem to keep on struggling after they missed the playoffs last season, the celebration was big. Not only because it was the first win, but also because just one week earlier, Ad Astra got screwed over; at GC Zurich they lost the game 17:3 and had no chance at all. A pretty tough slap in the face.
“In NLB we could have had 20 bad minutes and still win games.”
In round 3, Ad Astra managed to keep it close, though, against the same GC. The other games so far were more or less similar. Against the bigger names like Wiler and Köniz, the games were pretty clear in favor of the long-time NLA competitors. Against the teams from the bottom half of the table, the games were closer, but still, there was pretty much no chance to get points out of it. Luckily, they managed to gain their own trust again with the win over Tigers.
Coach Vehanen about the first victory
Coach Vehanen showed himself proudly after the game: “17-3 loss to GC was bottom touch for the whole team. […] But like often in sports losing can be the best teacher. We learned our lesson and scouted Tigers well and focused on details to make us better. Feeling after the win was spectacular. I was so proud of my players. First win for the whole Canton in NLA-level and of course in front of a lot of our fans who have traveled for us for every game so far.”
Highlights of the historical game against Tigers Langnau (Article continues below video)
“They did their job. Unlike us. They had and will have though games, but they know, when and how they can get the most out of the game.” says Matthias Gaffner, the head coach of Tigers Langnau. So, at mid-season Ad Astra now has two points, but more importantly the knowledge, that they can actually win games in NLA.
Players getting back from injuries
Also, they had some health issues with key players: Noah Boschung, Lauri Liikanen, and Kaapo Savinainen are three players who will bring a lot more quality to the game of the newcomers when they finally return from their injuries.
Von Wyl brothers
Anyway, the players and the whole organization seems to be really patient: “The whole season is a process. The game speed and the quality are on a totally new level, compared to NLB”, says Cornel von Wyl, one of the three von Wyl brothers in the squad. He continues: “Definitely, we can profit out of that. But to have a shot in games, we need to be at 120% for 60 minutes. If we have a bad 20 minutes at some point in the game, we get six or seven goals. In NLB we could have had 20 bad minutes and still win games.”
In the next episode, we will introduce and interview the three brothers, who played for Ad Astra for several years now. And of course, keep you updated on the results.
This article was written by Julian Rueger. If you have questions or remarks, feel free to contact us.