Växjö, Brynäs, Täby looking to achieve history with first ever U16 title
Over the weekend, the second round of the U16-SM Playoffs in Sweden was held, with eight teams looking to advance to the third and final weekend of the national tournament. IFK Täby HC and MoDo Hockey were victorious in Group E. In Group F, Växjö Lakers and Brynäs IF rose above the rest of the competition. All four secured their spots in the semifinals of next week’s finale.
For MoDo, it’s an opportunity to reign supreme over the U16 age group for the first time since 2002. The other three teams still left in the hunt — Brynäs, Täby and Växjö — are looking to make history, as not one of them has ever won the U16 SM-Playoffs in the tournament’s 51-year history.
MoDo chasing third championship
MoDo continued its impressive postseason run with a 2-1-0 record in Group E. After collecting wins against fellow WHH-ranked Nacka HK and Södertälje SK, they were defeated by Täby in their final game of the round, 4-3. Elton Hermansson’s strong run of play allowed him to once again lead the team in scoring with one goal and five points in three games. In total, he has scored 11 points (4G, 7A) across six playoff games to date. The reliant goaltending of Edvin Lindqvist has also been a staple of MoDo’s victories. He posted a 2.50 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in the latest wins. If MoDo’s best players remain in form, they will have an excellent chance of securing a third U16 championship, which the club last took home in the 2001-02 season.
Täby handled its competition and skated to a 3-0-0 record in Group E. Equipped by an offense that consisted of three of the group’s top five scorers, the team was able to finish with a plus-5 goal differential. Viggo Björck (2G, 5A), Theo Stockselius (4G, 2A) and Melvin Novotny (2G, 4A) formed a fearsome power trio.
Brynäs advances to final four for fifth time in 10 years
Brynäs followed up a 3-0-0 opening round with another 3-0-0 set in the second round. They were able to dispatch Växjö, IF Malmö Redhawks and HV 71, outscoring them by a total of 22-10. A crucial part of that dynamic offense was Hugo Östberg with his three goals, six points and plus-6 rating. But the true linchpin to the clubs’ success was defenseman Elias Kedling. Kedling’s persistent efforts held opponents in check, and he managed to chip in five goals as well. He led all defensemen in Group F in scoring.
If one area stood out from Växjö, it was its scoring depth. With four of the top 10 total point getters hailing from the Lakers, it became clear that no matter the matchup, this squad has numerous players who can lead on any given night. Noa Bräutigam’s incredible vision and play-making were on display every time he stepped onto the ice. Collecting one goal and seven points, his linemates were often the beneficiaries of his passes. Following him, Olle Ågren (4G, 2A), Albin Laskonen (2G, 4A) and Theo Bengtsson (3G, 2A) did the heavy lifting in tallying points.
MoDo will next take on Brynäs, and Täby will clash with Växjö when the semifinals begin on April 6th.