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2013-03-22 10:30:00 | Okategoriserat
Linköping after Thursday´s win. Photo: Stefan Persson, Pic-Agency
HV71 vs. Linköping
Series: Linköping win 4-1
It was do or die in game 5 for HV71 in which they needed a real team performance to dig themselves out of the 1-3 series hole in which they were in. Unfortunately, Linköping never gave them a chance, exploding out of the blocks to a 3-0 lead after the first period and taking the match comfortably 6-1, winning the quarter-final series 4-1.
- There is only emptiness and disappointment. We completely collapsed, it does not matter how hard you fight if you don’t fight together, said an extremely disheartened HV captain, Johan Davidsson after the loss.
It was the second, 6-1 win for Linköping this series with two tough overtime victories in between, in which they fought back from a two goal deficit. It has been a true gallant effort as the likes of all reliable Pär Arlbrandt and Simon Hjalmarsson lead the way for their team by providing opportunities for their comrades and continuously putting the puck in the back of the net when the pressure has been on.
- We worked a little bit more than HV in this series and were more mentally strong to win, explained Pär Arlbrandt to LHC-TV after the series win.
Pär Arlbrandt. Foto: Stefan Persson, Pic-Agency
With Linköping playing quality hockey, HV71 needed to be at their best in every match to beat the White Lions, but inconsistency and an inability to protect their lead cost them dearly this series. A lacklustre, under performance that sees them exit SM-Slutspel feeling frustrated and disappointed.
- It’s frustrating, the last two matches we gave away a two goal lead to loose in over-time and today we met Linköping who deserved to be in the semi-final, something that we didn’t, commented HV Coach Ulf Dahlen after the quarter-final loss.
Series Points Leaders
Pär Arlbrandt LHC- 8 ponts (5G+3A)
Simon Hjalmarsson LHC- 8 points (3G+5A)
2013-03-21 11:30:00 | Okategoriserat
Wallin celebrating his decisive goal. Photo: Simone Syversson, Pic Agency
Färjestad vs. MODO
Series: Färjestad win 4-1
It was a tough and hard fought battle which saw MODO exit this year's Slutspel, going down to Färjestad 0-1 in game 5 of the series losing the best of seven 1-4.
Both teams showed up to Löfberg's Lila Arena, with two star goaltenders in Alexander Salak and nineteen year old rookie sensation Linus Ullmark. Both goaltenders making spectacular saves at each end of the ice throughout the entire match, holding a 0-0 score line in normal time.
It took 40 shots to beat MODO's game 4 hero, when Färjestad captain Rickard Wallin was fed the puck in the slot and beat Ullmark glove side with a perfectly place top corner wrist shot.
- When I had the puck all I tried to do was shoot high, it was an awesome feeling that it went in, said overtime hero Wallin after the match to C More.
It has been a very tight series despite what the 4-1 score line perceives. MODO have had their chances to take each game in this quarter-final playoff, but have not been allowed by a more stable and well drilled Färjestad defence. The Karlstad team has been patient throughout this entire series and has taken their chances when they arose. With Salak doing his part between the pipes and an outstanding series by Canadian defenceman Chris Lee, FBK can focus on training hard and preparing for their semi-final encounter.
- We have played ok and we have learnt how to close out matches. We got a real lesson of how to do that in Örnsköldsvik. The playoffs are about adapting to your opponent. We will have a tough series no matter who we play, continued Wallin after the series clincher.
Series Points Leaders
Chris Lee FBK- 8points (5G+3A)
Marius Holtet FBK- 4 points (3G+1A)
2013-03-20 13:00:00 | Okategoriserat
Frölunda vs Luleå. Photo: Per Friske, Pic-Agency Sweden
Luleå vs. Frölunda
Series: Tied 2-2
After 4 matches have been played in this series nothing can split Luleå or Frölunda, with both teams taking two wins on their own home ice. Nothing proves this fact more than the extra 35 minutes needed to decide the winner in game 4 where Frölunda "held serve" to put the pressure back on Luleå at home.
It was Luleå’s Linus Klasen who took the initiative in game 3 in Coop Arena, accounting for 1 goal and 2 assists in the Norrbotten club’s 3-1 victory. It was Frölunda who served the game on a silver platter for Luleå sitting in the penalty box for 26 minutes and giving the home team nine chances on the powerplay, three of which resulted in goals.
- It is too many penalties; it cost us too much and gives us a disadvantage. We must correct this in the next match, said Frölunda Coach Kent Johansson after game 3 to Kanal 5.
Game 4 displayed an epic battle between these two clubs giving the fans and extra 35 mins of game time, going all the way to 15 minutes into period 5 before Mathis Olimb scored an emphatic overtime goal for the home team to win the match. It was this time key penalties and poor boxplay from Luleå which cost them the match, letting the home team impress the 11 363 strong Scandinavium crowd with two powerplay goals.
The pressure now falls on the team with home ice advantage as the team that can crack the other on their own soil will place mass amounts of pressure on their opponent or may be the last we see of them in this current Slutspel.
The way this series has gone so far, the deciding factor may come down to goaltending performance, as whichever goaltender has been the strongest between the pipes has eventually lead their team to victory. An important moment in this nail biting series will also be who recovers more efficiently from the 95 minute game 4 and who will travel best back to the North of Sweden before game 5.
- Of course these matches take it out of you, but it is much easier when you win. Now we will try and go up and defeat them. Now we must only recharge the batteries and look at the possibilities, said overtime hero Mathis Olimb when asked how the extra 35 minutes would affect him and his team.
Series Points Leaders
Joel Lundqvist FRÖ- 4points (3G+1A)
Linus Klasen LHF- 4 points (2G+2A)
Christian Bäckman FRÖ- 4 points (2G+2A)
Linköping vs HV71. Photo: Tobias Josefsson
HV71 vs. Linköping
Series: Linköping 3-1
It is now sudden death playoff time for HV71 after losing games 2 and 3 in overtime and giving up a two goal lead in both matches. An inability to finish off their opponents has allowed their E4 rivals to creep back into their matches and steal two overtime wins, which now put them in a very vulnerable position heading back to Jonköping for game 5.
- We have been playing pretty well, doing a lot of things right although we have not been able to close out the match, said Andreas Jämtin to HV71.se after the fourth match.
Both games 3 in Kinnarps Areana and game 4 in the Cloetta Center played out in much the same way both resulting in a 5-4 OT win to Linköping. HV71 had a 4-2 and a 3-1 lead in those matches and allowed their rivals to come back and take game tying goals, both which were scored by Lee Goren.
Then in overtime, in the absence of suspended goal king Carl Söderberg, one of his first line comrades took control of the situation and slotted the game winner, first Pär Arlbrandt scoring a penalty shot and second Simon Hjalmarsson scoring from the high slot with a sniper shot through traffic.
- It is wonderfully good moral and character in this team; we have really come together as a group, expressed Roger Melin, Linköping Coach, after their second overtime win.
A frightening component for HV71 is not only the opportunities they have given to Linköping to get back in the game using their powerplay, but the fact that they have not been safe defensively when they have had the extra man themselves. Linköping have scored one short-handed goal in each of their three wins this series, one of those being the game tying goal in game 3 to send it into OT.
- We had a powerplay when we had the lead 4-2 and they scored to reduce 4-3. These are things that shouldn’t happen but they happened, told HV Coach Ulf Dahlen to HV71.se after game 4.
Another worrying factor in this series is under performing goaltender, Gustaf Wesslau. The Väsby born goalkeeper has been well below his best in this series only managing an average save percentage of 85.57 due to a save percentage in games 3 and 4 of 79.1 percent, something that no playoff team can afford.
It is now back down the E4 to Jönköping where Linköping will try and strike the final blow to their adversaries and end this quarter final quickly.
Series Points Leaders
Pär Arlbrandt LHC- 6 points (3G+3A)
Simon Hjalmarsson LHC- 6 points (2G+4A)
Jason Krog HV71- 6 points (1G+5A)
2013-03-19 15:00:00 | Okategoriserat
Skellefteå AIK. Photo: Jan Bulér / Pic-Agency
Series: Skellefteå win 4-0
Skellefteå have taken brutal revenge for last year’s grand final loss against Brynäs, demoralising the 2011/2012 champions 4-0 in their series quarter-final.
- We really wanted to beat them and take revenge, which we did. We showed that we are a better team, said Skellefteå’s Viktor Arvidsson after game 4.
The Gävle club had a much more impressive outing in game 3 of the series, keeping Skellefteå at bay for most of the match, only falling behind on the scoreboard half way through the third period, although the game finished a much more unflattering 4-1.
Brynäs also began game 4 strong but once again could only hold off the barrage of offensive pressure, that the Norrland club exudes, for a matter of time with the game ending in an ironic 4-0 victory.
Skellefteå dominated the series, as most believed would happen, although maybe not to the extent in which they completely flattened Brynäs. The quarter-finals ended with a goal difference of 20-4, giving a clear picture of where Brynäs were found wanting in this series.
It is obvious that an average of 5 goals against in any series is going to leave you with a mass amount of offensive work to do to win a match, something that Brynäs could not create.
Alm vs Järnkrok. Photo: Jan Bulér / Pic-Agency
That is not to say that they did not have their chances, but with one shut-out each and a combined save percentage of 96.34, Skellefteå’s goaltending combination of Joacim Eriksson and Markus Svensson, basically stoned anything that the Gävle club could throw at them.
- I hate to lose and we lost four straight, it is too bad. They are too good, that is why they beat us, explained a deflated Calle Järnkrok on his opponent’s performance in the series.
As the reigning champions get to take an early summer holiday, Skellefteå now have the opportunity to take a well-deserved rest and recuperate before heading into the semi-final with loads of confidence after completely overpowering their opponents in this series.
Series Points Leaders
Oscar Möller SAIK- 6 points (2G+4A)
Oscar Lindberg SAIK- 6 points (1G+5A)
MODO Hockey. Photo: Pär Olert, Pic-Agency
Series: Färjestad 3-1
MODO took an unlikely win in game 4 to deny Färjestad a clean sweep in this quarter-final and breathed a little bit of life back into their team and the series. It was a very controlled win by Färjestad in game 3 with Canadian Chris Lee once again being the hero and scoring the game winner while Elitserien’s best goal keeper Alexander Salak, held a save percentage of 96.9 behind him to take the win 2-1.
MODO went behind twice in their must win game 4 match in Örnsköldsvik, trailing 0-2 after just 3.09 minutes had gone by in the first period and 2-4 with 11min 19sec left to play in the third period. The comeback can go down to a key goaltending change after Färjestad’s second goal, where MODO brought in 19 year old Linus Ullmark, who had never played a Slutspel match in his young career.
Ullmark made many key saves which lifted his team throughout the match and gave them the opportunity to fight back and force the game into overtime, where Ladislav Nagy got the puck behind Salak to win the match 5-4 for MODO.
- The goalie change was a signal to the team to bite the bullet and go. Ullmark came in and fought well with several good saves, especially in overtime, expressed MODO’s Head-Coach Ulf Samulsson to Kanel 9 after game 4.
This series continues to swing back and forth during each match with both teams not having the ability to close out a game comfortably, always leaving a door open for the opposition. Cheap penalties have continued to hurt both teams with any pressure being built simply destroyed by a man heading to the penalty box.
MODO vs Färjestad. Photo: Pär Olert, Pic-Agency
Momentum is crucial in the game of hockey and MODO will be full to the brim after surviving certain expulsion from this series and taking their first win against the Karlstad club this year, as Färjestad Coach Leif Carlsson fears.
- MODO has got more energy and self-confidence after winning against us after so long. Now it is up to us to show that we can handle this in a good way.
The series now moves back to Karlstad where Färjestad will once again attempt to throw the knock-out blow to MODO as they fight to stay in the contest.
Series Points Leaders
Chris Lee FBK- 8 points (5G+3A)
Per-Åge Skröder MODOn - 5 points (2G+3A)
Kyle Cumiskey MODO- 5 points (1G+4A)
2013-03-18 15:30:00 | Okategoriserat
Chris Lee scoring aginst MODO. Photo: Simone Syversson, Pic Agency
Färjestad have a commanding 3-0 lead in their quarter-final series against MODO and a lot of the thanks needs to go to the clutch play of Ontario Canadian, Chris Lee.
Lee has emerged so far in these playoff as the "go to guy" for the Karlstad club, scoring two game winning goals in games 2 and 3 of the series. His strong offensive skills from the attacking blue line have been exploited by his team throughout this series with Lee bragging the best scoring stats so far in these playoffs, not only for defenceman but out of all skaters.
Lee has hit the back of the net more than anyone in these playoffs, scoring 4 goals in 3 matches and also being the provider twice, giving him 2 assists and a total of 6 points.
Chris Lee. Photo: Simone Syversson, Pic Agency.com
The more than modest Färjestad defenceman puts his playoff point scoring form down to taking his chances and hard work from his forwards in front of the net, saying the following to C More after his 2 goal performance in the second match.
- I’ve been able to see the opportunities when they are there and jump up into the play and just try to get shots through and I’ve been fortunate that they have found the net.
- You need a bit of luck and guys have been creating really good screens in front of the net which makes it easier to score, it is tough to score from the top without a good screen.
The offensive back’s scoring prowess was a key reason why the Karlstad organisation brought Lee to the club at the beginning of this year’s Elitserien. The Canadian had an impressive two year stint in the German Eishockey Bundesliga (DEL) before moving to Sweden, producing 13 goals and 32 assists, totalling 45 points, the highest of all defenceman in DEL in the 2011/2012 season. Lee also took the honours of the league’s Best Defenceman.
Färjestad vs MODO. Photo: Simone Syversson, Pic Agency
Lee has not disappointed this season in the Elitserien thus far pulling more than his fair share of the offensive duties scoring 12 goals and 29 assists in the regular season, his 41 points being more than any other back in the series.
- He is great. It is nice to have him in your own team, obviously, said Färjestad coach Leif Carlsson after their 5-3 game 2 victory against MODO. After a strong start to his first SM-Slutspel, FBK will be hoping that the goals will continue to flow from Lee as they endeavour to take a series sweep against MODO and move closer to becoming Sweden’s Hockey Masters.
2013-03-16 13:42:00 | Okategoriserat
Frölunda´s Hudacek in action. Photo: Per Friske, Pic-Agency
Series: Tied 1-1
The series hangs in the balance after both clubs took strong wins on home ice to begin this quarter final playoff. After a dominate showing in the north from Luleå all was cancelled out by an impressive performance from Frölunda goaltender, Julius Hudacek to draw the series 1-1.
The Norrbotten’s club dominated their opposition on home ice in the first match, taking a result of 5-2, as they never looked to be under any real threat from the Frölunda men. It was a different story in the first period of the second match in Göteborg, as Frölunda stretched out to an early 2-0 lead, a score line that stayed until the final siren.
It was a much stronger defensive front from the Indians that showed up on their home ice in Scandinavium Arena and also a goaltender that had something to prove after a standard performance in the North. Frölunda net minder Hudacek was unbeatable in his second match of the series, posting a solid shut out after facing 34 shots as Luleå controlled the second and third periods of the match.
Hudacek was also helped out by an all improved Frölunda defence, which Head-Coach Kent Johansson pointed out in the after match press conference.
- We were much better in front of our own goal tonight, when we let them take the first shot we took away the second chance, something which we talked about.
Now the series moves some 1300 kilometres north back to Luleå to see which team can take the series lead.
Series Points Leaders
Niklas Olausson LHF- 2 points (0G+2A)
Johan Fransson LHF- 2 points (0G+2A)
Karl Fabricus LHF- 2 points (0G+2A)
Linköping vs HV71. Photo: Peter Holgersson/Pic-Agency
Series: Tied 1-1
It is hard to believe that these two teams were the same two teams which stepped foot on the ice only two days after each other. Both teams basically mirrored the other from game 1 to game 2, as one team took command and watch the other crumble in self destruction.
This is not even to mention Linköpings goal king, Carl Söderberg’s late match penalty, plus 7 match suspension, for cross-checking to the head in the first game and HV71’s Andreas Jämtin’s spear in the second game which also resulted in an early shower.
HV71 took a strong win at home in Jonköping 6-0 after some unselfish play from the usual goal scorers Jesper Fasth and Jason Krog who delivered 3 and 4 assists respectively throughout the evening. All was undone though when they took the trip up the E4 to Linköping two nights later where the White Lions reversed their fortunes and delivered a beating of their own, almost identically reversing the score from the first match, defeating HV71 6-1.
- We were a new team that played from the other match earlier as now we showed that we can play Slutspel hockey, said Linköping’s Assistant Coach Magnus Hävelid in the after game press conference at the end of the second match.
This quarter-final has been a physical battle between the players on the ice and also the two players standing in between the posts. HV71´s Gustaf Wesslau out performed Linköpings Christian Engstrand in goal in the first game delivering a shut out then Engstrand replied in the second posting an impressive save percentage of 96.8.
This series is turning into a real finals derby with plenty of emotion in the air concocting to a rugged and robust physical battle on the ice. If the first two matches have produced such drama as they have, who knows what will unfold in the remainder of the series.
Series Points Leaders
Jason Krog HV71- 4 points (0G+4A)
Simon Halmarsson LHC- 3 points (1G+2A)
Jesper Fasth HV71- 3 points (0G+3A)
2013-03-15 15:30:00 | Okategoriserat
Skellefteå celebrating a goal. Photo: Bert Söderström, Pic-Agency
Series: Skellefteå 2-0
Elitserien champions, Skellefteå have begun SM-Slutspel were they left off in the regular season, taking complete control in their series against last year’s winners Brynäs. The series and match began in dramatic style with Robin Jacobsson receiving a match penalty, plus eventual six match suspension, 58 seconds after the first puck had dropped, for a check to the head of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
The Västerbotten’s club then strolled to a 5-0 victory in the first match after the strong defensive strategy of Brynäs held on for almost half of the evening, although throughout it only seemed like a matter of time before a goal would come, which it did and many more soon followed.
Skellefteå also took the second match with ease 7-3 as Erik Forssell took his chance, replacing the injured Bellemare, on the second line accounting for 2 goals. It wasn’t until SAIK raced to a 5-0 lead before American Ryan Gunderson could find the back of the net for Brynäs’s first goal of the series, 7 minutes into the third stanza, as they still posted no real offensive threat for Skellefteå at the back.
Brynäs vs Skellefteå. Photo: Jan Bulér / Pic-Agency.com
After the two performances that have been on show, it is tough to see how Brynäs can combat the bombardment of pressure that Skellefteå have delivered, although Brynäs Head-Coach Tommy Jonsson has hope.
- We cannot do anything but look to the next fight, I will sit down with the coaching staff and discuss what we need to do. It isn’t over until it’s over, says Jonsson to Kanal 9.
Series Point Leaders
Bud Holloway SAIK- 4 points (3G+1A)
Joakim Lindström SAIK- 4 points (1G+3A)
Färjestad vs MODO. Photo: Simone Syversson, Pic Agency.com
Series: Färjestad 2-0
Färjestad come back home to Karlstad with a 2-0 series lead, although it has not been as comfortable as one would have thought before the series began. The lead has changed seven times over the course of the first two matches in the series and it has only been the ability of Färjestad to knuckle down and dig in for a full 60 minutes that has given them the two victories.
Taking the first two games 4-2 and 5-3, Färjestad have impressed with their ability to fight it out and bring themselves back in the game. Per Åslund was the match winner for the team from Karlstad in the first game, providing the first goal of the match and also the game winning 3-2 goal.
Chris Lee after one of his goals. Photo: Henrik Johansson, Pic-Agency.com
Outshining all individual performances out of any series has been the consistent work of thirty-three year old Canadian, Chris Lee. Defenceman Lee has been on the ice for seven out of nine goals that Färjestad have scored in these playoffs, whilst contributing 3 goals and 2 assists, one of those goals being the game winning goal in the second match.
- MODO has played well and has controlled the play in long stretches but we be patient and stay with our game plan and battle back. We lead the series 2-0 but we are not satisfied, said Chris Lee to C More after the second match.
MODO has only themselves to blame for the two loses, giving away vital penalties at key times in this series recording 46 total penalty minutes, 20 of those being two separate 10 minute penalties.
- Everything is harder in the playoffs and discipline is something we must be better at, says MODO Head-Coach Ulf Samuelsson to C More when asked what they need to change in this series. With plenty of playoff feeling floating around in this series, Färjestad will try and wrap things up fast before MODO can fine tune their play and crawl their way back.
Series Point Leaders
Chris Lee FBK- 5 points (3G+2A)
Per Åslund FBK- 4 points (2G+2A)
2013-03-11 09:00:00 | Okategoriserat
Skellefteå vs Brynäs. Photo: Bert Söderström. Pic-Agency.com
(1) Skellefteå vs. (8) Brynäs
2012/2013 Series: Skellefteå won 3-2
Playoff series history: Brynäs 2-0 (most recent: 11/12 SM Final Brynäs won 4-2).
Skellefteå to progress: The series champs come into the quarterfinals full of confidence after taking the series comfortably and finishing the season relatively strong. Having the likes of highest point scorer Bud Holloway, Joakim Lindström and the clinical Oscars, Möller and Lindberg it is hard to see how the Brynäs defence will be able to stop the barrage of offensive pressure.
The effectiveness of these stars on the powerplay and the inability of Brynäs’s boxplay will also prove a deciding factor in this series. As long as nothing disastrous happens it is hard to see this Västerbotten club move into the next round.
Brynäs to progress: After a pressure filled end to the season, the Gävle team face the daunting task of trying to knock off the series masters. A big plus for the defending SM champions is as a result of their mediocre season they move into the playoffs without any high expectation or pressure.
If Brynäs are to take a surprise win in this series, Calle Järnkrok and young gun Elias Lindholm’s outstanding line combination will need to continue so they can find the back of the net on a regular basis. Ryan Gunderson and the Brynäs defence will need to get under the skin of the Skellefteå power forwards and disrupt their flow to have any chance of moving into the semi-final.
Färjestad vs MODO. Photo: Simone Syversson Pic Agency.com
(2) Färjestad vs. (7) MODO
2012/2013 Series: Färjestad won 5-0
Playoff series history: Färjestad 3-0 (most recent: 05/06 QF Färjestad won 4-1).
Färjestad to progress: Having a strong second half of the season giving them the vital second choice of opposition, the Karlstad club will hope this season’s dominance over MODO will continue. An average age of 24 brings life and fight into this team, but will it be their undoing now that playoff hockey is upon us and experience can be priceless.
Färjestad’s first line has accounted for just under half of the team’s goals this season and will require something special from MODO to contain them. Alexander Salak recorded two shutouts and a goal against average of 1.0 against MODO this season. If this stellar goal scoring and goaltending continues, Färjestad should not have to many problems progressing on.
MODO to progress: Coming into the playoffs with the worst form of any active team and a horrible record against their opposition, it is going to be a tall order for MODO to progress. Their hope lies on the shoulders of defensemen Richie Regher and Kyle Cumiskey, who will not only have to absorb the masses of forward pressure from Färjestad, but also continue to be as offensively productive as any forward in their team, as they have done all year long.
Bernhard Starkbaum will have to outplay his rival goaltender throughout this series to give his men a chance of turning things around and move into the semis.
Luleå vs Frölunda. Photo: Fredrik Sundvall, Pic-Agency.com
(3) Luleå vs. (6) Frölunda
2012/2013 Series: Luleå won 4-1
Playoff series history: Tie 2-2 (most recent: 08/09 QF Frölunda won 4-1).
Luleå to progress: Luleå finished the season with the strongest form out of any club and they take all of that momentum into their first playoff series. The Norrbotten club know how to knuckle down defensively, being the hardest team to score against this season.
They also have the depth to score goals no matter which line is on the ice, boasting sixteen players with five or more goals this season, a claim that no other team in the league has. The offensive scoring power of Niklas Olausson, Toni Koivisto and new junior young gun Peter Cehlarik will need to remain to help Luleå move through this playoff series.
Frölunda to progress: The Indians are at their best when they forecheck hard deep in the offensive zone, which is what they will need to do in this series. The strength of captain Joel Lundqvist, Dick Axelsson and Magnus Kahnberg around the net needs to be mirrored by the rest of the Göteberg club to be able to consistently unsettle the rock solid Luleå defence.
Julius Hudacek will have to find the form that he has had in periods this season in the Frölunda goal and maintain it during the entire series. If this can happen, and the loyal Frölunda fans can fill the 12044 seats on offer at the Scandinavium when the games are in town, the Indians might have a chance to take this one.
HV71 vs Linköping. Photo: Andreas Florin, Pic-Agency.com
(4) HV71 vs. (5) Linköping
12/13 Series: Linköping won 4-1
Slutspel series history: HV71 1-0 (07/08 SM Final 4-2).
HV71 to progress: Consistency is going to be the key for HV71 in this series and the worrying thing is that it has been lacking in recent times. The Jönköping club have game changes all over the ice in Jason Krog, Rhett Rakhshani and Jesper Fasth, who can simply score goals from nowhere.
For these players to have a chance to win games, the team must stay out of the penalty box and focus on their discipline. HV71’s new look defence have had enough time to gel and must now stand strong in-front of goaltender Gustaf Wesslau and play hard, defensive playoff hockey against the likes of Linköping’s Carl Söderberg and Pär Arlbrandt. If HV71 can bring everything together they may scrape through this one and progress deep into this year’s Slutspel.
Linköping to progress: The 100km trip down the E4 has been a success this season for the White Cats, as they have taken the win on all three occasions when on the road against HV71, giving them a real psychological advantage in this series. Having the two leading goal scorers Carl Söderberg and Pär Arlbrandt playing on the same line, Linköping will prove to be a handful defensively for HV, who have been found wanting in defence on occasion this season.
Christian Engstrand will have to retain his "brick wall" status in between the posts when he faces the inevitable multitude of shots from the HV71 offense. With strong offensive power and such a great record against the men from Jonköping, Linköping have a real shot at taking out this quarterfinal clash.
2013-03-10 10:00:00 | Okategoriserat
Carl Söderberg. Photo: Peter Holgersson/Pic-Agency Sweden
Since the Boston Bruins took over Carl Söderberg's contract in a trade with the St. Louis Blues in 2007, the goal scoring king has not been closer to a move into the NHL, says high profile American hockey reporter.
TSN's Darren Dreger reported late last week that Söderberg has expressed his interest in putting his Elitserien form to the test in the NHL on the completion of this year's SM-Slutspel for Linköping.
The Bruins and Carl have been in talks over the previous five years, as the club has made many attempts to lure Söderberg over the Atlantic to North America without any prevail, although it now appears that Söderberg is now ready to make the move.
Carl Söderberg in action. Photo: Peter Holgersson/Pic-Agency Sweden
Peter Chiarelli (Boston Bruins General Manager), was reported saying to the Boston Herald, “He’s had a hell of a year and he’s grown into a big strong kid now, a man, and he’s told us that he feels he’s ready now, he’s a good player, big strong player. There are still some steps to go, but it looks good.”
Boston previously had concerns about Söderberg's ability to play two way hockey and be able to defend as well as he scored goals. They were also anxious about how the six-foot-three forward would adjust away from Sweden and if he could mold his style to North American Hockey.
Goal King Söderberg. Photo: Fredrik Sundvall, Pic-Agency.com
After Söderberg's stellar year in the Elitserien as the leading goal scorer and second highest total point scorer (31G, 29A, 60P), and also boasting a plus/minus of +18 talk around the NHL is that this Swede would be a valuable commodity and addition to the Boston club, which needs a little more forward depth.
It is rumored that the Bruins are not only interested in Söderberg as a center but hope that he might be the missing piece to their third line, playing on the wing.
It will be interesting to see, if Söderberg makes the move, if he can continue his high flying form from the year's Elitserien and become another Swedish sensation in the NHL.
2013-03-06 16:22:00 | Okategoriserat
Skellefteå´s captain Jimmie Ericsson. Photo: Bert Söderström, Pic-Agency
Despite Skellefteå wrapping up the series with two games to spare, the remaining three vital top four positions were decided on goal differential after the final days play of the season, seeing Färjestad take second, Luleå third and HV71 fourth.
Bud Holloway took out the highest point scorers title, Carl Söderberg dominated in the goal scoring category and Alexander Salak finished the season with the best goaltending save percentage. Whilst the top eight teams fight it out for SM-Gold, Timrå and Rögle will be defending their place in Elitserien, as they take on the finest of the HockeyAllsvenskan league in Kvalserien.
Skellefteå clinched the series with two games left in the season, last Thursday evening, with a 3-2 win over bottom of the table Rögle. It was a well deserved series win, with utter domination all over the ice this season taking their first Elitserien season win since 1980/1981.
Bellemare and Möller. Photo: Bert Söderström. Pic-Agency.com
The Norrland's club overpowered their opponents on the ice all year, scoring the most goals, evidently giving them the best plus minus out of any club. Not only were they the hardest team to beat at home, the boys from the north also won more games away from home than any club in the series. It was a very complete year for the club, as they hope to take the series win's momentum into the playoffs and take their first SM-Gold in 35 years.
The fight for second position on the table went down to the wire between three clubs and took until the last day of the season to find out the final playoff order. Färjestad and Luleå both took wins on the final day to finish level on 102 total points with HV71.
Luleå acquired the three points that they needed against HV71, with a 2-1 victory, on the final day of the series to move into second place, only to see Färjestad simultaneously steal second from them with a 4-1 victory over Rögle, giving them a higher goal differential of only +2.
After the playoff opposition selection from the top three clubs, the quarterfinals now stand as, 1st-Skellefteå vs 8th-Brynäs, 2nd-Färjestad vs 7th-Modo, 3rd-Luleå vs 6th-Frölunda and 4th-HV71 vs 5th-Linköping.
Bud Holloway. Photo: Bert Söderström, Pic-Agency
Bud Holloway (Skellefteå), became the Elitserien's second highest point score of all time by finishing the season with the most assists of any player in the history of the league recording an astounding 20 goals, 51 assists totaling 71 points.
After becoming the highest point scorer of all time in a playoff series last year, Holloway was always going to be one to watch this season and he did not disappoint. With his sniper like shot, vision to pass the puck and powerful extra man play, the Canadian put on a show for the Skellefteå fans throughout the whole season and truly deserved to end the year as the Elitserien's highest point scorer.
Carl Söderberg (Linköping), finished the season as the Elitserien's highest goal scorer ending the season with 31 goals. With a strong start to the year and patches of mere brilliance during the season, Söderberg broke out an unassailable lead that could not be caught, beating his closest rival and team mate Pär Arlbrandt by 10 goals.
Alexander Salak. Photo: Simone Syversson, Pic Agency.com
The years best goaltender based on save percentage went to Alexander Salak (Färjestad), holding an outstanding percentage of 93.92. Salak has been a key part of Färjestad's success this season conceding an average of only 1.62 goals in his 41 matches between the posts. If the Karlstad club are to progress deep into this years playoffs it will undoubtedly be due to the continual strong form of their Czech goaltender, Salak.
It will be Timrå and Rögle that will have to defend their Elitserien contracts in Kvalserien after finishing 11th and 12th respectively in this years series. After fighting until the second last round of the season, Timrå, find themselves in the Elitserien qualifier for the second year running.
Where as, it is no uncommon ground for Rögle, who have been in the Kvalserien the previous seven years. Both teams will be hoping to repeat their efforts from last year and renew their Elitserien status as they take on the top three HockeyAllsvenskan clubs, Leksand, Södertälje and Västerås and also the winner of the Pre-Kvalserien competition between BIK Karlskoga, Djurgården, Örebro HK, IK Oskarshamn. The Kvalserien and the battle for Elitserien qualification will begin on Thursday 14th of March.
Now that the tight action filled season has come to a close, the time for unbeatable playoff hockey is now before us.
2013-02-28 10:23:00 | MODO Hockey
Kyle Cumiskey in action. Photo: Stefan Persson, Pic-Agency.com
In MODO Hockey´s 1-0-overtime-win over Rögle BK 26-year-old Canadian Kyle Cumiskey scored the game winning goal. So far this season the former Colorado Avalanche-defender has recorded 6 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for MODO Hockey.
Here you find MODO Hockey-TV´s post game interview with Cumiskey
2013-02-12 13:06:00 | HV71
Rhett Rakhshani. Photo: Per Friske, Pic-Agency Sweden
Ahead of Tuesday´s away game against AIK the 24-year-old American forward Rhett Rakhshani has recorded 13 goals and 19 assists in 43 games in Elitserien for HV71.
Here you find HVTV´s pre game interview with Rakhshani.
2013-01-29 10:48:00 | Växjö Lakers HC
Ryan Lasch during his time in Södertälje. Photo: Gustaf Brundin / Stockmedia
On Tuesday 26-year-old American Ryan Lasch will most likely make his debut for Växjö Lakers. The former CJHL-, NCAA-, AHL- and ECHL-forward´s first opponent will be Timrå IK. Lasch is already known in Elitserien after his time in Södertälje 2010/2011, where he recorded 30 points in 55 games.
Click here to watch Växjö Lakers-TV´s pre game interview with Lasch.
2013-01-06 21:30:00 | Okategoriserat
With the under 20’s World Championships coming to an end, it’s time to look at some of Sweden’s top prospects from the Elitserien going into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Elias Lindholm. Photo: Andreas Sandström, Pic-Agency.com
Elias Lindholm – Brynäs
Having operated on the second line for Brynäs for most of the season, Lindholm has very much held his own and in 32 games has found the net 6 times as well as setting up another 15. According to the NHL scouts he is know for his puck skills, skating and offensive zone sense as well as showing some of those indefinable intangibles that arm him with what’s needed to succeed at the NHL level.
Robert Hägg – MODO
Has only appeared in the Elitserien 8 times this season and has spent most of his time at the U20s level, but at 6 foot 2 and just under 200 pounds he is probably ready to make the move over to North America. Hägg has captained the Swedish national side during the junior World Championships and despite a shaky start has managed to up his level of play. Known for his steady play and cool head under pressure, he looks to be a little bit of a development project with a lot of upside.
Viktor Arvidsson. Photo: Fredrik Sundvall, Pic-Agency.com
Viktor Arvidsson – Skellefteå
Arvidsson is seen as a player with a scoring touch, bursting with energy and potential. During his time with Skellefteå this season at the top level his has netted 5 goals and 4 assists and whilst at the junior World Championships he compiled an impressive 4 goals in only six games played. He’s going to be slightly under the radar for many teams having been passed over in the previous two drafts, but look for him to be a solid pick-up for a late round selection.
2012-12-22 12:00:00 | Okategoriserat
Now that AIK have completed their series of ‘catch-up’ matches against Rögle and Frölunda, the mid season break is coming to an end. With that in mind, I would like to preview some of the things to look out for before this season enters it’s 2013 edition.
Linköping vs Färjestad. Photo: Peter Holgersson, Pic-Agency Sweden
- One of the key games of round 33 is the Linköping-Färjestad clash in the
middle of the table. Both teams are coming off of losses in round 32 and will be looking to once again establish themselves in good positions for the run up to the playiffs. With an outright win, Linköping can jump Färjestad in the table, whereas a Färjestad win will claw them a little closer to Luleå in third place.
- The other matchups in round 33 do not offer as much intrigue in terms of league position, but one game I will be keeping an eye on will be HV71 against Brynäs, Brynäs have won three straight games coming into the tie and find themselves in the middle of the pack, whilst HV71 are thoroughly entrenched in a race for the top spot against both Skellefteå and Luleå.
From now on, every game will give more clarity to the playoff picture, and HV71 will not want to start their post Christmas campaign by losing ground on league leaders Skellefteå.
Bud Holloway. Photo: Bert Söderström, Pic-Agency.com
- Another thing to keep your eye on post Christmas is the play of points leader Bud Holloway. So far this season he’s had outstanding production and is contributing plenty of goals as well as assists. Will the break have knocked him out of his groove, or will he pick up right where he left off?
- If you didn’t know, Christian Berglund of Färjestad has recorded at least one point in his last 10 games, this production has seen him rise to 10th in the players points table. Will he keep the streak alive against Linköping?
Carl Söderberg. Photo: Peter Holgersson, Pic-Agency Sweden
- Talking of stats, can anyone catch Carl Söderberg in the goals table? He has lit the lamp 22 times so far this season with his closest rivals Joakim Lindström of Skellefteå and Färjestad’s Per Åslund both 7 scores behind on 15. Håkan Loob is currently the record holder for most goals in one Elitserien season with 42. Söderberg has another 22 games so overcome that mark. Can he do it?
- One of the big questions I have for these last few rounds of 2012 is whether Rögle can pick up another win or not? They are now on an eight game losing streak and despite coming close to winning in their last few games they just don’t seem to have the mentality to pull it off. Despite some decent offensive production, without consistently good netminding, the may never break this streak.