Final Four Picks
Posted March 17th, 2022
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:
IFK Täby HC
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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