As Close As It Gets
Posted March 21st, 2022
10-of-12 Games Decided by One Goal At Sweden U16 Nationals
The eight best 2006-born teams in Sweden competed in the second round of the Sweden Ice Hockey Federation’s national tournament this weekend. Talent was on full display in what proved to be one of the most competitive weekends in the entire youth hockey calendar.
With 12 games on the slate, the eight remaining teams skated to 10 contests decided by just one goal, with the largest margins of victory being a pair of three-goal finishes. Every team picked up at least one point in the standings by way of a win, overtime win or overtime loss. On top of all that, each team entered Sunday with a potential path to the Final Four, keeping their national championship hopes alive until the final moments.
SDE Hockey won its first game 5-2 over Brynäs IF; an empty-net goal by the scoring leader Melvin Fernstrӧm put the game on ice and gave SDE three much needed points in the standings. They lost their next game 3-2 in overtime, which picked up a pivotal point despite the defeat. Then in the final game, SDE played 63 minutes of scoreless hockey with Täby HC before Fernstrӧm scored the deciding goal just 3:15 into overtime. The win, and six total points in standings, secured SDE’s spot among the Final Four in the hunt for the national championship.
Täby HC — despite losing that final game 1-0 to SDE — also accumulated six points over the course of three games, and became the second team from Group E to advance to the third and final weekend. Wiktor Jerneheim scored on a penalty shot with 22 seconds left in regulation, breaking a 2-2 tie with Ӧrebro HK to lift Täby to a win in its first game. Game 2 against Brynäs delivered similar dramatics, decided in a four-round shootout when Oscar Djurberg scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 win.
Skellefteå AIK was the only team of the eight to win two games outright, with a 5-4 win over Frӧlunda HC and a 3-2 win over Luleå HF. Felix Bergstrӧm scored his first goal of the weekend with under a minute left to break a 4-4 tie with Frӧlunda. Then, Kasper Abrahamsson had to stop 11 of the 26 shots he faced in the third period to cling to a 3-2 win on the final day. Their only blemish was a 4-3 defeat to Djurgårdens IF, where DIF scored three third-period goals — two with under five minutes remaining in regulation — and the deciding one 45 seconds into overtime when Linus Eriksson ended the contest with an even-strength goal.
While that was Djurgårdens’ first overtime game of the weekend, it would certainly not be their last, as matchups with Luleå and Frӧlunda both needed extra time as well. Melvin Ӧman-Eriksson frustrated Djurgårdens shooters for 65 minutes, turning away 47-of-49 shots he faced through regulation and overtime. Martin Mivell would sneak one final shot past Ӧman-Eriksson in the shootout to win it for Djurgårdens though, and secure two crucial points in the standings. The final day’s matchup, Frӧlunda scored three unanswered goals to tie the game up at 4-4. Just by going to overtime, DIF had picked up the necessary point they needed to secure their spot in the next round of the tournament. But an overtime goal from Fred Nord certainly helped send the boys into the Final Four on a high note with the 5-4 victory.
Just four teams remain for the third and final round of the Sweden under-16 youth hockey national tournament. Semifinal games will take place Saturday, April 2, between Djurgårdens and SDE Hockey in one matchup, and Skellefteå and Täby in the other matchup. Winners advance to the championship on Sunday, with a consolation match to determine third place as well.
Saturday, April 2
Sunday, April 3
Saturday, April 2
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