15U Finale Comes Down To A Border Battle At World Selects

The 13th annual 15U World Selects International Trophy concluded on Sunday with one of the best rivalries in hockey. The International Stars — with a heavy contingent of players from across the United States — squared off against Pro Hockey, whose roster consisted of representatives from six different Canadian provinces and territories.

In a game that featured a wealth of soon-to-be CHL Draft Picks, USHL selections, Division-I commits and NHL superstars, it was Pro Hockey that came away with the 2-1 win over International Stars at the Ford Ice Center in Nashville.

Near the halfway mark of the first period, defenseman Reese Hamilton fired a wrist shot past goaltender Joey Slavick to put Pro Hockey on the board first. Forwards Ryan Roobroeck and Gavin McKenna helped set up the strike by Hamilton, as the duo finished first and second in the tournament in scoring; Roobroeck with 28 points and McKenna with 21.

Less than two minutes later, Hayden Harsanyi tapped in a goal from the weak side after Liam Kilfoil found him with a back-door pass. Just like that, the Canadians were up 2-0 and in control of the contest.

The Stars wouldn’t go down without a fight, though. Despite going into the half trailing by two goals, forwards Evan Jardine, Cullen Potter and John Mooney led a charge to get back into the contest. Five minutes into the second half, Alex Baughman hit a streaking Will Horcoff who came flying into the high slot. Horcoff gripped and ripped a wrist shot past goaltender Owen Butler’s blocker and into the net, putting the Stars on the board and cutting the deficit in half.

Over the next 15 minutes, the Stars swarmed the Pro Hockey net, outshooting the Canadians 17-3 in the second half. Butler came up big for the boys in blue, though, frustrating American shooters as he had done all tournament long. In five games, he stopped 92-of-95 shots and won all five starts, including the championship game. The strong second-half push from the Americans would be denied though, as Butler and Pro Hockey held on to the 2-1 gold medal victory. 

It is Pro Hockey’s fourth World Selects Invitational championship all-time, and first ever at the 15U age group. In 2019, this ‘07 group won the 12U Elite tournament in Bolzano, Italy, making five members on the current squad — Roobroeck, McKenna, Shayne Gould, Will Sharpe and Jayden Connors — two-time WSI champions. 

Ryan Roobroeck (right) celebrates with Callum Mainville (left) and Gavin McKenna (front).

Roobroeck’s Record-Breaking Run

The World Selects Invitational series has seen more than 300 future NHL superstars come through its tournament doors over the last two decades. Names like Alexander Barkov, Mikko Rantanen, Mitch Marner, Trevor Zegras and Adam Fox have littered the scoring leaderboard in years past. No player at the 15U level has ever amassed the numbers Roobroeck reached this past week in Nashville though.

The 6-foot-2 power forward led all scorers with 28 points, surpassing Jesse Puljujarvi’s single-tournament mark of 21 points in 2013. Roobroeck also joins Zack Stringer (69), Matthew Savoie (58), Jack Devine (57), Ilya Ivantsov (55) and Connor Bedard (53) as the only players in tournament history to reach the 50-point plateau. In 2019, Roobroeck led the 12U Elite event in scoring as well with 22 points. His 50 total points puts him sixth all-time in tournament scoring. 

Pro Hockey’s Perfect Run

Appearing in the World Selects tournaments more than 50 times in the past 10 years, Pro Hockey has fielded both boys and girls teams across all age levels. The ‘07 team in Nashville dominated pool play, going 5-0-0 and out-scoring its opponent 43-4. Twelve different skaters recorded multiple goals, with Roobroeck, McKenna and Callum Mainville finishing one, two and three in scoring. 

That earned them the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye. Pro Hockey made quick work of TPH Selects in the round of 16 and Alps Selects in the quarterfinals before taking on the 12-seed and defending champion DraftDay-Black. Jordan Switzer pitched the team’s fourth shutout of the tournament, with Roobroeck, Kilfoil, Harsanyi, Savin Virk and Kieran Riley tallying a goal apiece in the 5-0 win.

2007-born Pro Hockey (Canada) wins the 2022 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville 2-1 over International Stars (USA).

A high-powered offense elevated Pro Hockey to the championship game with International Stars. However, Butler stole the show in net with a sensational effort and 28 saves to win Pro Hockey’s lowest-scoring game of the tournament.

A First Look At The Next Wave

Jakob Ihs-Wozniak led all European skaters in scoring with 12 points.

It may be the first time that Canadian prospects like Ryan Roobroeck, Gavin McKenna and Cole Reschny go head-to-head with Americans Evan Jardine, Cole McKinney and John Mooney on the ice, but it certainly won’t be the last. That’s not to mention the 100-plus other Europeans that competed in the tournament from Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, France and Kazakhstan. 

Jakob Ihs-Wozinak and Anton Frondell pushed Sweden Selects into the No. 2-seed after going 5-0-0 in pool play. The Swedes scored a last-minute goal from Ruben Westerling to defeat DHI Ontario 5-4 in the second round of the playoffs. They then knocked off the Czech Knights in the quarterfinals before losing to International Stars in the semifinals. 

Czech forward Adam Novotny scored six goals in pool play — tied for third among skaters — as the Knights qualified as the No. 10-seed in the playoffs. Matyas Jonak scored two goals and an assist to defeat LivePolar Hockey 5-4, before the Czechs were eliminated in the next round. 

Alps Selects — with a roster of players from four different central European countries — finished as one-of-four teams to finish without a regulation loss during pool play. They qualified as the No. 8-seed after tiebreakers were resolved. Matey Pekar and Adam Feher both recorded multi-point games in Alps’ 4-1 win over Twin Cities Selects. In the next round, they would be eliminated by eventual champion Pro Hockey.

Whether it’s the U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, U20 IIHF World Juniors, the Olympics or NHL Playoffs, many of these players will certainly share the ice on an international stage again in the near future.

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The world’s best are represented with names like Roobroeck, Frondell, Jardine, Härenstam

If you stay on the World Selects Invitational landing page and watch the names rotate through, it reads like a who’s who of the biggest names in hockey.

Andrei Svechnikov, Adam Fox, Mitch Marner, Kaapo Kakko, Rasmus Dahlin, Trevor Zegras, Aaron Ekblad — no matter the type of player or the nationality, you can find whatever you’re looking for when scrolling through.

With top talent from across the globe coming to the tournament spring after spring, it has become a marquee event for the youth hockey community. It’s also great to have it back and fully operational this time around as the tournament is underway in Nashville, Tenn.

Eight different countries are taking part in this year’s 15U World Selects Trophy, as the 2007 birth-year really begins to make some noise in the hockey circles leading into their junior draft year.

One of those players certainly standing out to the scouts in attendance is Ryan Roobroeck, who has posted a remarkable 18 points in four games to jump out to the lead in the scoring race. Roobroeck, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound forward, won an Alliance Hockey league title with the London Jr. Knights in the winter season, and now he’s skating with the Pro Hockey ’07 team at World Selects.

He said it’s humbling to be included among the top players in his birth-year, but knows it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of his hockey career.

“Yeah, but we’re still young,” Roobroeck said. “There’s still a lot to be done, and everybody’s still learning to play and everything, so being at the top right now is nothing special, until later.”

To put his performance in perspective, Roobroeck’s taking quite the swing at the all-time points leaders totals — Jesse Puljujarvi recorded 21 in 2013, while seven players have posted 19 — most recently, USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (USNTDP) U18 Team captain Rutger McGroarty in 2019.

Pro Hockey teammates Gavin McKenna and Callum Mainville join Roobroeck at the top of the points chart with 14 and 12, respectively, while Sweden’s Jakob Ihs-Wozniak has the most points of any European player with 10. It’s quite an adjustment for the Euros to all of a sudden be playing world-class competition in Nashville, as summarized by Sweden Selects teammate Anton Frondell, another highly-regarded ’07 prospect.

“I think the biggest difference is the rink,” said Frondell, who won a Swedish U16 national title playing with the ’06 Djurgården IF club. “In Sweden we have a bit of a bigger rink, so here it’s more physical, there are more hits, and you’re always closer to the boards. When you have the puck, you’re closer to the net, and you always have a good scoring chance. I think that’s the biggest difference.”

The players know they are skating in a must-see showcase for junior, college and professional scouts. Cole Reschny, skating with Pro Hockey after an impressive winter campaign with the Northern Alberta Xtreme of the CCSHL, acknowledged that he’s at least aware of some of the extra attention this week. However, he isn’t letting that impact his performance, as he has eight points in four games. Reschny knows how to find the back of the net; he had 92 points in 25 games with his Xtreme team this year.

“That’s in the back of my mind, but I just try to play my game, improve myself, show my skill and what I can do here,” Reschny said.

With the combination of elite talent and brand-new rosters, life can be difficult for the goaltenders, but the brave souls entering the crease at World Selects are holding their own. Troy Wright of Laytonsville, Maryland and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers is standing on his head, as he holds a .50 goals-against average and .970 save percentage for Top Line Selects.

Owen Butler of Pro Hockey has the same goals-against, and with one shot on goal less than Wright, he’s got a .969 save percentage.

Bjorn Bronas, fresh off leading Chicago Mission to a USA Hockey national championship, has a 1.03 goals-against average and .960 save percentage. Meanwhile, Love Härenstam of Sweden is leading all the European goaltenders with a 2.00 goals-against and .958 save percentage.

The playoff bracket kicks off Friday evening. These players have spent the last several months competing for national recognition and now with the spotlight bright in the Music City, will clash for world supremacy.

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Czech Selects go ‘from worst to first’ in impressive playoff turnaround

In one of the more stunning outcomes in World Selects Invitationals history, the Czech Selects shocked the girls youth hockey world last week, winning the 14U championship. 

After the conclusion of pool play, the Czechs were fifth out of six teams in the standings, and it’s only regulation win was over the sixth-seeded Alps Selects. When the elimination rounds began, the Czechs needed a 2-0 win over Germany Selects in the quarterfinals. That win gave them a rematch with top-seeded Sweden Selects; a team that had beaten them 4-1 just three days earlier. The Swedes had dominated their way to the top spot, out-scoring opponents 26-3 in round-robin action. 

It was a tough semifinal, but a pair of goals from Alena Luxemburgová would change the tides in the rematch. That early offensive surge helped the Czechs knock off the No. 1 team 3-1 and advance to the gold medal game.

The stage was set for the Czechs to take on the No. 2-seeded Finland Selects; another team they lost to earlier in the tournament. Again, this rematch would be all about the Czechs as Merkéta Kafková scored four goals to lead the team to a 6-1 victory and WSI championship.

A pair of Finns Yenna Kolmonen and Julia Kuhta led round-robin action in scoring with 12 points and 10 points respectively. Eventual champion Aneta Florýková also had 10 points. Goaltender Wilma Hallbeck played 139 minutes of scoreless hockey and didn’t allow a single goal against until playoffs. France Selects Lysa Nogaretto had a .914 save percentage, stopping 53-of-58 shots.

It’s just the second time that the Czech Selects have won a girls WSI event and the first time since 2015. This tournament in particular is a unique accomplishment after the WSI had been on pause for the past two years. Circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and international travel had made such events virtually impossible to operate. However, in 2022, the situation was such that several European countries were able to travel in some capacity and the six-team event was able to go off without a hitch. 

The early success of this event — and the 12U Boys Elite event — is an encouraging step back towards normalcy regarding WSI. The World Selects Trophy in Nashville will feature 30 teams from eight different countries next week as well. Coupling all that together with the remaining slate of WSI events this month, and it adds up to a lot of progress for a series that was on hold for the better part of 24 months. After a full slate of tournaments this spring, the goal for 2023 will certainly be to have a full slate of teams in the competition, and the return of North American programs in European events.

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WSI returns to Europe after two-year hiatus; Six countries clash in Prague

Some of the top 2010-born European hockey players in the world gathered in Czechia last week for the 10U World Selects Invitational, and they put on quite a show.

The hometown Czech Knights ended up prevailing in the European showcase that featured teams from Czechia, Slovakia, Latvia, Sweden, Finland and the Alps. 

In the final, the Knights topped the Slovakia Kings 4-1 to capture the title inside the Letnany Ice Arena in Prague.

The win capped off a perfect week for the Czech club, as they posted a 5-0 record in the preliminary round before rolling through the playoffs, as well.

To start, they beat the Latvia Selects 5-0 Tuesday morning, before beating the Alps Selects 7-1 later in the day. On Wednesday, they took down the Slovakia Kings 4-1 and the Sweden Selects 2-1, before wrapping up the prelims with a 7-1 win over the Finland Selects on Thursday.

That earned the Knights a bye to the semifinals, where they took on the winner of the Sweden Selects vs. Alps Selects quarters. Sweden beat the Alps club 14-1, but their scoring streak ran out when they took on the Czechs, as the Knights picked up a 4-0 shutout victory. 

The Czechs wrapped things up Friday evening with the aforementioned 4-1 win over Slovakia in the final. The Knights scored four goals in the first period to take control of the contest and coast to victory in their rematch with the Slovakian club. The Slovakia Kings were undefeated in all of the other contests they played in, finishing with a 5-2 record on the week.

Czechia’s representatives thrived on their home ice, as they out-scored the competition 33-5 in their seven games. Nobody managed to score more than a single goal on them during the duration of the tournament.

Czechia’s Matyas Vik led the tournament and the Knights in scoring during the five-game preliminary round, as he racked up nine points over the five contests. Vik found the scoresheet in every game but the final, showing a consistent presence for his club each and every contest. His nine-point mark was matched by Slovakia’s Simon Sisik, who had four goals and five assists for the runners-up.

Oliver Hammerman of the Sweden Selects finished with eight points, one point off the tournament lead. Even more impressive than his eight points in five games was his eight points in two games in the playoffs, as Hammerman did everything he could to help his Swedes in the elimination rounds.

Two of the Knights — Niko Fatyka and Marek Sedlacek — both had eight points in the prelims, while Tomas Albrecht had six, and Adam Novotny had five.

In the playoffs, David Jahn and Niko Fatyka both had three points apiece, while a total of nine different Knights found their way to the scoresheet over the two games.

Tobias Orechvsky and Tomas Zmitko split time between the pipes for the Czechs; in the preliminary round, Orechovsky posted a .966 save percentage with only one goal against, while Zmitko finished with a .903 save percentage and only three goals against. 

In the playoffs, Orechovsky saw 60 minutes of action between the pipes, stopping all 11 shots sent his way for a perfect 1.00 save percentage and 0.00 goals-against average. Zmitko only needed to make five saves on the six shots sent his way during his 20 minutes of postseason action; he finishes with a .833 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average. 

Slovakia’s David Brucek deserves some high praise as well – the Kings’ goaltender played every minute of the preliminary round and stood on his head while doing so. Brucek finished with a 1.40 goals-against average and .933 save percentage while allowing only seven goals in the five games. He faced 105 shots on goal in the timeframe.

Want more coverage of the World Selects Invitationals this spring? There’s seven events over the next two weeks, and WHH will have exclusive coverage of the top teams, players and champions. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the last news!

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Most Decorated Program In Tournament History Returns to North America

The Sweden Selects program had been represented at each of the first 11 World Selects Invitational tournaments dating all the way back to 2009 in Riga, Latvia. In 2021, though, that streak ended when European teams faced significant travel challenges surrounding COVID-19.

This May, the Swedes return with a purpose, and one goal in mind: win the 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville. 

They’ll have plenty of weapons to get the job done, starting with Djurgårdens IF goaltender Love Härenstam, who’s fresh off a national championship run. He went 15-2-0 this season — including 5-0-0 in the U16 playoffs — with a .943 save percentage as one of the best goalies in the country.

A winter club teammate of Härenstam’s, Anton Frondell led DIF in scoring with 25 goals and 43 points on a team that had 26 players older than him, including 22 from the 2006 birth year. Frondell was a leading scorer the last time he represented Sweden Selects as well, at the 12U WSI in Bolzano, Italy.

Forward Jakob Ihs-Wozniak and defenseman Oliwer Sjöström round out the team’s leadership group. Ihs-Wozniak led Luleå IF in scoring, and spent time playing for both the program’s U16 and U18 teams this winter. Sjöström was a top defender in Sweden all season long for IF Björklöven.

Sweden Selects has won three WSI tournaments all-time. Two of those have been at the 15U age level, with the most recent coming in Philadelphia in 2015. That squad featured future NHL Draft picks Ryan Merkley, Rasmus Sandin, Lucas Wernblom and Oliver Wahlstrom.

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The World’s Best 2007-Born Youth Hockey Players Take Center Stage In The Music City

It is one of the most iconic events in youth hockey.

The 2022 World Selects Trophy 15U tournament returns to Music City, USA, for the second consecutive year. A field of 32 teams from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Central and Western Europe will feature some of the absolute best 2007-born youth hockey players in the game today. More than a dozen different countries will be represented at the 13th annual 15U WSI — a tournament that has seen more than 400 future NHL Draft picks and 1,000 NCAA athletes during its run.

The 2022 event is sure to be loaded with top talent yet again, with programs like DraftDay, Pro Hockey and ELD Hockey Academy representing the best players from across Canada. Stateside, various programs come from coast to coast. From the California Patriots to New England’s Exposure Hockey, and everywhere in between. Hockey hotbeds like Minnesota, Michigan and Massachusetts represented by MN Fire, International Stars and Power Play Operations. Other notable programs like 1NE Academy, DHI Octane, HD Engine, Live Polar Hockey, Northstar Elite, Pittsburgh Oilers, Topline Selects and Total Package Hockey filling in any gaps throughout the lower 48.

European programs like Sweden Selects, Finland Selects, Norway Selects and Czech Knights will compete on behalf of their native countries. Alps Selects are made up of as many as eight central European countries on its own, and Barys will bring some of the best from western Europe.

Teams will take to the ice on Wednesday, May 11, where they will compete in five pool games. The top 20 teams will advance to the elimination rounds that will begin on Saturday morning, and will be whittled down to a champion by Sunday afternoon. Complete tournament schedule, standings and stats will be available HERE

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Uplandia Trophy and Resport Trophy host top-level European teams in season finale

Two iconic events marked the end of one season and the beginning of another in Europe. The U14 Uplandia Trophy and U13 Resport Trophy were hosted just outside of Stockholm, Sweden, welcoming 68 teams from nine different countries. These tournaments were a symbolic season-ending championship for many, as countries like Sweden and Finland do not have national tournaments at these age groups.

U14 Uplandia Trophy

Held in five different arenas just north of the capital city, 28 AAA-level teams were split up into two divisions, as well as a AA division of 16 teams. 

The top four teams from each of the AAA Divisions advanced to the playoffs. Täby HC went undefeated to earn the top seed, while Slovakia-based HC Slovan Bratislava earned the top seed in the other division. The rest of the eight-team playoffs were rounded out by Tappara Blue from Finland, and Nacka HK, Boo HC, SDE Hockey, AIK Hockey and HA74 from Sweden.

Täby continued its dominance in playoffs, knocking off the No. 8-seed AIK and No. 5-seed Nacka to get to the championship game. However, No. 6-seed SDE was able to pull off three straight upsets against Boo, Tappara Blue and ultimately, Täby in the finale to take home the hardware. 

Forward Viggo Bjӧrck led all scorers with eight goals and 27 points in eight games for Täby. His teammate Max Johannesen had 17 points in last year’s Report Trophy, and surpassed that performance with 24 points alongside Bjӧrck in this season’s tournament. Norway’s Niklas Aarm Olsen followed behind with 11 goals and 19 points in just six games for Vålerenga IF

Goaltending was exceptional as well over the weekend. Frode Wadstromer was in net for all seven of SDE’s tournament wins with a .950 save percentage and just 1.14 goals-against average. 

All participants qualified for playoffs — in a tiered format — with the top four from each division qualifying for the top tier, the next four in the second tier, and so one. While Täby won the top tier as the best of the best, Finland’s Pelicans won the tier-2 playoffs, while Norway’s Frisker Asker won the tier-3 playoffs and HV71 won a four-team tier-4 playoffs. 

U13 Resport Trophy

Just south of the nation’s capital, Resort featured 24 teams across AAA and AA Divisions. Both Kållered SK and Kiekko-Espoo Blues went undefeated in pool play of the top division, with Tappara Blue going 4-0-1 as well.  

Similar to Uplandia, all teams qualified for playoffs as well, with the top eight competing in the top tier and the bottom eight in the standings going onto the second-tier playoffs.

Kållered and Kiekko validated their top spots in the tournament, as both would roll through the first two rounds to collide in the championship game. The matchup lived up to the hype, as the two played to a 2-2 tie until Gustav Corneliusson scored the game-winning goal for Kållered.

Four of Corneliusson’s five points came in the elimination rounds to help his team to a championship. Teammates Wiggo Forsberg and Olle Willén led Kållered with 10 points apiece. Goaltender William Thegerstrӧm played arguably the biggest role in the championship run, winning all seven games and allowing just four goals against with a .965 save percentage. 

Finland’s Max Syrjäläinen led all skaters in scoring with 19 points in seven games for second-place Kiekko. Teammate Felix Wollsten factored in on a lot of the offense as well with a tournament-high 13 assists.

Kiekko-Espoo had good success in the tier-2 playoffs as well, as its EPS squad not only made the championship game, but also defeated Gӧta Traneberg 4-1 to win it. In the AA playoffs, Värmdӧ HC beat SDE Hockey 3-2 in the championship game. 

This year’s Resport Trophy and Uplandia Trophy — both operated by the team at World Hockey Group – Europe — featured teams from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Israel. The events serve as a bookend to the current season and a launching point into the next season for European teams. 

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Djurgårdens IF Gets Impressive Performance From Härenstam To Win Under-16 National Championship

There’s no doubt who the top 2006-born team is in Sweden after Djurgårdens’ dominant performance at nationals this weekend.

What started with 16 teams from four different regions on March 11, was down to the four best teams in the country on Saturday. Djurgårdens, SDE Hockey, Skellefteå and Täby HC entered the weekend with national title hopes still intact, however, only one would receive the gold medal come Sunday afternoon.

Photo via Elite Prospects

Goaltender Love Härenstam made a statement for himself, posting back-to-back shutouts on the game’s biggest stage. First, a 38-save effort in a 3-0 victory over SDE in the semifinal. Then, the next day he posted another 38-save outing in the championship game against Täby, as Djurgårdens rolled 4-0 in the final.

Through 300 minutes of playoff action, Härenstam had allowed five goals against (0.99 goals-against average) and stopped 138 shots (.965 save percentage), leading his team to the two biggest victories of the season to clinch the championship.

Anton Frondell and Martin Mivell — the team’s leading scorers in the regular season — continued to carry the offensive torch in playoffs, combining to score 11 goals and 22 points. Frondell scored the would-be game-winning goal in the semifinals with a power-play strike to open the scoring. Mivell scored the would-be game-winning goal in the championship game 10 minutes into the first period. 

When the team needed it most, they got significant contributions from secondary scoring sources. Victor Eklund got onto the scoresheet in both games with a goal in the semis and an assist in the championship. He finished the playoffs with nine points; more than double his season total of four. Defenseman Victor Johansson scored a goal and two assists in the gold medal game, helping to cement the victory for DIF. Max Lind recorded a point in seven of the eight playoff games, including both the semis and championship to finish with nine in the postseason.

They had held the top spot in the ’06 Sweden Rankings for much of the season, and by adding the U16 national title to its resume, Djurgårdens has certainly validated those claims.

Unlike the United States, Russia and some other countries, Sweden only determines a youth hockey national champion at the under-16 age group. Any older age groups are considered junior hockey level. Younger age groups, on the other hand, conclude their seasons with significant tournaments like the Nordic Youth Trophy or Uplandia Trophy. 

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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.

SEMIFINAL 1
Saturday, April 2
SDE Hockey
vs.
Djurgårdens
CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, April 3


SEMIFINAL 2
Saturday, April 2
Skellefteå
vs.
Täby

WHH will have continued coverage of the Sweden nationals to its conclusion, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest news from the tournament.

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WHH Predictions For The Second Round of Sweden Nationals

We started with 16, and now the field is down to eight teams. By Sunday, there will only be four left, vying for Sweden’s U16 national championship. Our team correctly selected five of the eight teams that advanced to the second weekend of the tournament, and we’re back for more as game action continues Friday. 

A lot could still happen during the course of the next 12 games, and the competition has never been higher than it is at this stage of the tournament. Here’s where we stand:

GROUP E
Brynäs IF
IFK Täby HC
SDE Hockey
Örebro HK
GROUP F
Djurgårdens IF
Frölunda HC
Luleå HF
Skellefteå AIK

Two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals, and keep their hopes of a national championship alive. The rest will go home for good, as their 2021-22 campaign will come to an end. 

With that, here’s our four teams with the best shot of moving on and making it to the final weekend of the season:

GROUP E: Brynäs IF, IFK Täby HC, SDE Hockey, Örebro HK

Frölunda HC may be the current odds-on favorite to win the championship as Sweden’s top U16 team. But Frölunda isn’t even in Group E, so why is that important? Well, Täby HC had the Indians against the ropes last weekend in Group C play, out-shooting the favorite 38-21 despite losing 3-2. Both advanced to the second stage, but end up in separate groups here. 

Oliver Marcelius is playing some of his best hockey at the right time, while Theo Stockselius, Felix Wassberg and Wilson Bjӧrck have come on strong at the end of the season as well. With Wiktor Jernehim fueling offense from the back end as well — nine goals and 31 points in 20 games — Täby will be too tough to keep out of the Final Four.

Speaking of unstoppable, Melvin Fernstrӧm has very obviously taken over games for SDE Hockey. He had 22 goals and 38 points in the regular season, and factored in on 9-of-12 goals scored by SDE last weekend, leading all players in scoring. Two goals and an assist in their 3-2 win over Djurgårdens IF and a goal and three assists in their 6-3 win over IF Malmö; Fernstrӧm has been pivotal in SDE’s success which poses the question… Can anyone stop him? Täby is deep enough to potentially out-score SDE and take the top spot in Group E when the two teams meet head-to-head. Aside from that though, There’s no reason to think Fernstrӧm and co., couldn’t earn that second spot in the Final Four. 

GROUP F: Djurgårdens IF, Frölunda HC, Luleå HF, Skellefteå AIK

With not one, but two stellar goaltenders in Hugo Laring and Axel Nyman, Frölunda HC should be considered the favorite to win the whole tournament, as mentioned earlier. The duo has been consistent all season long, even going back to the DIF Cup in September when they combined to post four shutouts and a 0.57 goals-against average in the seven-game event. Last weekend, Laring turned away 64-of-67 while Nyman pitched a near shutout in a 3-1 win over Flemingsbergs IK. They’ve been strong and consistent, and the offense in front of them is balanced enough that names like Max Grundstrӧm, Karl Sterner, Viktor Nӧrringer and Ivar Stenberg can strike from anywhere. We can’t like them to win the whole thing without liking them to claim the top spot in Group F!

They’re led by a pair of ‘07s playing up with the 2006 birth year; forward Anton Frondell and goaltender Love Härenstam are special talents for Djurgårdens IF. Frondell leads the team in scoring with 30 goals and 51 points in 26 games. Härenstam has had a near 50-50 split with his counterpart Casper Ruud, but in 15 games, has a 12-2-0 record including both of the team’s victories last weekend. It’s a heavy ask for the underagers, but they’ve stepped up to the task all season long and we fully expect that to continue. Luleå and Skellefteå both present matchup challenges for Djurgårdens, however, the well-rounded group from Stockholm should fare well in this group of four.

Puck drop is set for 3 pm CET (10 am EST), so be sure to follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube to see who advances to the Final Four and keeps their national championship hopes alive!

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