Swedish Hockey: Playoffs, week two review

Swedish Hockey: Playoffs, week two review

26 Mar 2018Adrian J»

Another exciting week in Sweden as the playoffs continue - this article looks at the semi finals in the SDHL and qualifying match from HockeyAllsvenskan


SDHL - women's hockey league

After midweek wins away from home, it was no surprise when the two strongest teams in the league Luleå HF and Linköping HC went on to win their semi-final, albeit in different ways. It sets up a mouthwatering climax to the season as the two heavyweights clash in the best of three match series. It is a rematch of the 2015/6 final which Luleå won and will be favourites to repeat that this week.

Luleå HF won their semi-final against last year's champions, Djurgården IF, swiping them aside with a 2-0 victory winning the games 5-2 and 5-3. Djurgården were never given a chance in either game, scoring primarily in the third period when the game was already out of sight. It was the international top line power trio of Jennifer Wakefield, Michelle Karvinen and Emma Nordin that led the way with 16 points between them in the two games including half of the team's goals. Simply put, if you want to win the SDHL you must stop this line from functioning.

That challenge now goes to Linköping HC who did not have it quite so easy, needing three games to beat MODO Hockey, 2-1. The teams were extremely even with shot count of 102 (MODO) to 94 (Linköping), four power play goals (3-1 to Linköping) and a penalty shootout in game 2 thrown in for good measure. But perhaps the real difference between the two clubs was the keepers. MODO and Sweden's keeper, Sarah Berglind may have won that penalty shootout, but it was Switzerland and Linköping's keeper, Florence Schelling who was able to take home two clean sheets and with that the bragging rights of being the SDHL's best keeper in the regular season and playoffs so far this year.

Hockey Allsvenskan - men's second division

IK Oskarhamn could not take advantage of their unexpected opportunity to qualify for the top division and eventually lost 2-1 in matches to Leksands IF. The plucky team from Småland did not make it easy for the more experienced team from Dalarna taking them to sudden death in the first match and beating them at home (4-1) before being crushed 4-0 in the final game of the series. Not surprisingly, it was Marcus Björk who impressed for the losers, gaining two goals and one assist in the three matches to add to being the top scoring defenseman in the whole league for the regular season. For the winners, their recruitment team should think about asking for a pay rise after their hard work. It was the newly acquired German import Daniel Pietta who shone with two goals and two assists, most importantly, the overtime goal in that first game. On Monday Leksand will take on Mora IK in the best of seven re-run of last year's qualifier to see who will play SHL hockey in the 2018/9 season.

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