My first Swiss playoff game was tonight, Game 4 of the Quarterfinal series between #1 overall seed Geneve-Servette and #10 Lugano (which had to defeat #7 seed Fribourg-Gotteron in the Preliminary Round of the playoffs). You might be amused to note that in smaller countries where inter-city travel isn't lengthy, the higher seed hosts Game 1, 3, 5 and 7 in a best-of-seven series, rather than following the 2-3-2 or 2-2-1-1-1 format like they do in American sports. Well, Game 3 was on Saturday night, and Geneva won toward the end of the 3rd OT in what was the second-longest game in Swiss hockey history, so I had to follow that...and my game tonight went to overtime with the score tied up 1-1. There's nothing better than overtime playoff hockey, right? I definitely remember calling Game 6 of the Gagarin Cup playoff semifinals in the KHL in 2018, when CSKA Moscow defeated SKA St. Petersburg in OT to win the Western Conference series, but I'm not sure I'd called another OT playoff game in a best-of-X series before tonight. I was calling the game at home, and I'd warned my wife and kids during the 3rd intermission that in theory I could still be commentating at midnight or beyond - so of course, Lugano scored 1:09 into OT and won the game just like that.
I was inwardly rooting for Lugano because I'd been given my next two assignments already: for Game 5 on Friday, I'm calling ZSC Zurich vs. HC Davos, while for Game 6 on Sunday - when all four QF series might still be underway - I was told the order in which we've ranked the matches in terms of priority if each series was still going, and Lugano vs. Geneve-Servette was top of the list. There was the possibility that I might need to research two new teams that I hadn't called yet this season, which would have been a real pain amidst all of the other hockey and basketball prep I have to do in the near future, but I now get to call these same two teams again, which will be much more straightforward. Not that calling a game from Lugano off-tube is a piece of cake - the center-ice camera position is very high and feels quite distant from the rink, and the fonts on both teams' jerseys is such that I was having a very difficult time identifying player numbers. But I'd much rather battle that again on Sunday having banked the knowledge of both teams from tonight than have to start afresh.