Final spots determined as top ‘07 teams will begin tournament play on Friday
The final six spots in Sweden’s U16 national championship tournament were finalized on Sunday. Nacka HK, Södertälje SK, Malmö Redhawks, Frölunda HC, HV 71 and Örebro HK were the last teams to enter the fray. They join MoDo Hockey, Timrå IK, Luleå HF, Skellefteå AIK, Täby HC, Djurgårdens IF, Växjö Lakers, Brynäs IF, Färjestad BK and Västerås IK. The national tournament — which consists of four teams from each of the North, South, East and West Regions of Sweden — will begin on Friday, March 10th.
North Region: MoDo Hockey, Timrå IK, Luleå HF and Skellefteå AIK
The four teams from the North Region will be No. 6 MoDo Hockey, Timrå IK, Luleå HF and Skellefteå AIK. In the first semifinal, Timrå and Luleå went head-to-head, with Filip Sjölund tallying twice to lead Timrå to a 3-2 win. In the second semifinal matchup, MoDo put five goals up on Skellefteå, with three players collecting at least two points. Elton Hermansson put two goals and an assist on the board.
By winning their two semifinal games, MoDo and Timrå entered the final games to decide who would end up first overall in the region. Right from the drop of the puck, MoDo overwhelmed Timrå with their offensive depth throughout their lineup. After the first period, MoDo had already built a 7-0 lead. It was a much closer tilt in the second period, with MoDo adding three goals but Sjölund scoring twice for Timrå. In the end, five different skaters had mulit-point nights, with Hermansson standing out once again with two goals and three assists. Timrå battled till the final whistle, putting up 29 shots on goal with not many answers in trying to solve Edvin Lindqvist in net.
In the consolation game, Luleå defeated Skellefteå 4-2 off the efforts of William Morin (1G, 2A) and Linus Funck (1G, 1A). Casper Juustovaara Karlsson assisted on three of the four Luleå goals. This put Skellefteå as the No. 3 seed and Luleå as the No. 4 seed coming out of the North Region
South Region: Växjö Lakers, HV 71, Frölunda HC and IF Malmö Redhawks
The Växjö Lakers earned first place out of the South Region after going 6-1-1 in Top-Five play. Six remaining teams were tasked with competing in three best-of-3 series to determine the final three spots. HV 71 faced off with Karlskrona HK, Frölunda HC was pitted against Rögle BK and Hanhals IF played IF Malmö Redhawks.
Frederik Balko, leading scorer of the playoff portion of the group, aided HV 71’s two-game sweep of Karlskrona with two goals and seven points. HV 71 outscored Karlskrona 16-4 across the two games to earn its spot at Sweden Nationals..
Despite its best efforts, Rögle was unable to match the offensive output from Frölunda. They were swept in two games, falling 7-3 and 8-6. Across both contests, Zacharias Käll (4G, 1A) led the charge for Frölunda, while Nils Bartholdsson (3G, 2A) did his best to boost Rögle.
Malmö’s complete team game was on display in its two clashes with Hanhals, shutting them out 8-0 and 4-0. Linus Schrott carried the hot stick, notching four goals. Assisting him with goal-scoring duties was Isac Johansson, who finished with three of his own. With two straight shutouts, Emil Lindh was the top goaltender of the group. He stopped all 50 shots he faced in both games, giving Malmö the confidence to push the pace offensively.
Resulting from these series, Malmö, Frölunda and HV 71 will join Växjö in representing the South Region.
East Region: Nacka HK, IFK Täby HC, Djurgårdens IF and Södertälje SK
It’s a talented group that will be hailing from the East at this year’s U16 Swedish Nationals. All four clubs from this region have been mainstays in the WHH rankings for the majority of this season. No. 1 Nacka HK, No. 2 IFK Täby HC, No. 3 Djurgårdens IF and No. 5 Södertälje SK have been at or near the top all season long.. After group play, Täby and Djurgårdens had spots finalized due to their records.
As a result, teams that missed the cutoff line would have to take part in a playoff round to determine who would occupy the final spots. These participants were Nacka, Södertälje, No. 7 SDE Hockey, No. 8 Viggbyholms IK, No. 9 Flemingsbergs IK and Altuna IS. These six teams competed in a round-robin format. The top two teams in the standings upon completion would be awarded the final bids to nationals.
Skating to records of 4-0-1 and 3-1-1, respectively, Nacka and Södertälje were able to obtain those coveted regional placements. Nacka’s lone loss was to Södertälje, but it still managed to finish ahead of them in overall points, 12 to 11. Södertälje lost to Viggbyholms and defeated SDE in a shootout. Ludvig Söderberg led SSK with six goals and nine points, tied with Nacka’s Ruben Westerling (6G, 3A).
West Region: Brynäs IF, Färjestad BK, Örebro and Västerås IK
Heading into last weekend, three teams had already positioned themselves to be representatives of this region. Given their performances during regular season group play, Brynäs IF, Färjestad BK and Västerås IK had all punched their tickets to nationals. Brynäs and Färjestad finished tied in group points with 65, with Brynäs awarded the top spot from winning its season series three games to one.
That left one final spot up for grabs, with four more clubs vying to take it. Örebro HK, No. 4 Strömsbro IF, Hammarö HC and Lindlövens IF. Each team would play one game against each other, with three points for each victory. The club that garnered the most points would get the final regional spot for nationals.
Going 3-0-0, Örebro was that final team to secure regional placement. Outscoring opponents 46-5, seven of the top 10 scorers hailed from their squad. Philip Larsson (6G, 11A) and Noah Pettersson Askling (5G, 11A) were the standouts.
The first round of the U16 Sweden National Championship is slated to begin on Friday. These 16 teams will be split into four groups of four teams, with only eight advancing to the second round. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, top performers and more from Sweden Nationals!